5 Tips for Using Scenarios in eLearning
Sean is a Customer Support Specialist at Rapid Internet. He answers the phone to a customer who has been sitting on hold for over forty-five minutes. The customer is very unhappy. What should Sean say?
Scenarios like this are a great way for learners to practice and apply a course’s content in real-life situations. You could use this question as a starting point for a branching scenario, where each option opens up another series of choices, allowing learners to see the consequences of Sean’s actions.
Scenarios give learners the chance for trial and error in a low risk environment, allowing them to learn from their mistakes. They also offer an opportunity for you to assess the learner’s understanding without resorting to standard quizzes.
Here are some tips to keep in mind as you design scenarios for your eLearning courses.
A Good Scenario Is…
- A Story: At its heart a scenario is a story, which means it needs characters, setting, conflict, and plot. Spend some time outlining these elements before your start designing, to ensure you have a story that makes sense, appeals to learners, and has all of the necessary elements.
- Sure of Itself: Your scenario needs a clear goal. That is, it must relate to the overall course objectives. Make sure your scenario clearly reflects the intended learning outcomes and models the problem-solving process your learners will have to use in real life. It should also build off of the skills your learners already have and reflect their level of expertise.
- Realistic: Your learners won’t “buy in” to the scenario if it’s unrealistic or not relatable. Take some time to research your intended audience. Craft characters and situations that reflect your learners’ lives and work culture. Use industry-specific images and avatars to tailor the course to the audience.
- Engaging: Your scenario should appeal to your learners’ emotions. Make them laugh or feel sympathetic. Use videos with actors or avatars to show, rather than tell, your story. Your scenario should be detailed, complex, and interesting. You need to keep your learners’ attention and make them care about your characters.
- Straightforward: However, don’t get carried away with unnecessary details. Your learners don’t need to know the characters’ backstories, for instance. Stick to the information that learners need to make informed decisions. Lastly, make sure the information and events are presented in a logical order.
Do you have any tips for writing scenarios? Share in the comments below!