Learning & Development, Technology

6 Best Practices for Implementing Scenario-Based Learning

Yesterday’s post detailed what scenario-based learning is, and today’s post will highlight six best practices for implementing scenario-based learning.


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1. Remain Learner-Focused

Effective scenario-based learning must be focused on what learners will and must encounter in order to achieve their learning goals. In this sense, scenario-based learning can be thought of as a video game.
When you’re designing scenario-based learning materials or modules, you must think about what the learner will encounter and do, just as you would a player in a video game. You must think of obstacles or challenges learners will face, as well as how they will navigate through learning scenarios, what they will see, etc.

2. Focus on One Learning Objective at a Time

Because scenario-based learning requires learners to do more, they could become overloaded and unable to learn, so they shouldn’t be forced to encounter too much at once. They should only encounter one learning objective at a time.
For example, a learner might be placed in a simulated scenario where he or she must learn how to help an irate customer on the phone. But during that same simulation, the learner shouldn’t also be required to write a report and evaluate sales statistics, as this will be too much information at once and distract rather than teach the learner during the scenario.

3. Incorporate Interactive Learning Elements

Have learners answer questions and respond to other avatars or characters in simulations. Or, have them interact with one another in simulated environments and complete decisive actions in scenarios, too, like writing an e-mail or pushing a button on a machine they’re operating.

4. Rely on the Right Technology or None at All

Before implementing scenario-based learning, research what technologies will help and in which contexts they’ll be the most helpful. Know when you should use virtual reality headsets for safety and compliance training and when you should use platforms that offer augmented reality experiences instead, for instance.
And know when you don’t necessarily have to use technology at all for your scenario-based learning initiatives. Role-playing in groups can still offer simulated experiences, for example.

5. Apply a Narrative and Storytelling

Scenario-based learning is the most effective when it follows a storyline or narrative, as narratives and storylines engage employees and make scenarios more believable and realistic.
Learn more by reading “Using Narrative and Storytelling in E-Learning.”

6. Offer Real-World Problems that Need to Be Solved

Above all else, effective scenario-based learning modules and programs will give learners a real problem to solve. They will require learners to do something that they don’t know how to do—something that is relevant to their everyday work life or goals—and will require learners to make decisions and complete actions to solve those relevant problems.
To implement scenario-based learning effectively, follow the six best practices outlined above.

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