The Basics of Scenario Based Learning

There are a myriad of instructional design theories and models to choose from when creating learning and eLearning courses. In fact, selecting the one that fits your students' or employees' needs can often be a challenging task. However, if you are looking for a model that is ideally suited to improve learner engagement, then scenario based training may be the solution. Scenario based learning, essentially, immerses the learners in real life learning experiences that allow them to gather skills or information they will recall for future use. Information offered within a contextual setting enables learners not only to easily manage it within their working memory, but also to commit it to their long-term memory. There are a number of core characteristics for scenario based learning including:

  • Realism
    In order to fully engage learners, the scenarios must be as realistic as possible, while still providing students or employees with the required information. 
  • Learner-Centric
    The task should draw upon the learners' core strengths and allow them to use skill sets that they are developing, while at the same time improve upon their weak points. 
  • Involve Applied Learning Strategies
    Each scenario should involve skills or knowledge that learners have already gathered and which can be applied to the current task. Under this method, learners learn by doing, rather than just merely reading or hearing about the information.
  • Interactive
    Learners become fully immersed in the task and scenario, thanks to a high level of interactivity (even in virtual learning). The interactive modules should rely upon real world experiences rather than theoretical information. 

How Scenario Based Learning Improves Engagement and Understanding

There are a variety of reasons for why scenario based learning helps to improve learners' engagement and understanding of core concepts. Here are just a few of the most convincing arguments for using scenario based learning:

  • Motivates the Learner
    Students or employees are motivated to learn thanks to the fact that they know they possess the skills needed to accomplish the task and are being given the opportunity to build upon these particular skills. In essence, they understand that they are going to be challenged, but they are aware that they have the tools to meet the challenge and successfully overcome it. 
  • Allows the Learners to Directly See the Learning Rewards
    When learners can see the benefits of the learning course; they are more likely to get the most out of it. Rather than teaching the materials from a book or through lecture, learners participate within a scenario in which they can directly see how the skills and knowledge will benefit them in the long term. 
  • Challenges the Learner Without Overwhelming Their Mental Capacity  
    A good scenario based learning activity will challenge learners to the degree in which they can expand their knowledge base without overwhelming them. If they feel they cannot successfully navigate the scenario, then they will not give the effort that is required. As such, scenario based learning can provide them with real world obstacles and problems that they will face in order to expand their skill sets and knowledge base, while keeping them engaged in the learning process. 

Check out how The Connection® can incorporate scenario based training specific to your organization into a learning curriculum that is engaging for your users, contact us


As published from eLearning industry.

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