Including a scenario in your eLearning content tends to be a very effective method, regardless of whether it is a performance or information-based course.

Building effective eLearning scenarios

The benefits of scenario-based learning include the following:

  • Scenarios are great for evoking emotions in learning content. When emotions are evoked on the part of the learner, the result is better comprehension and retention. Emotions have an important impact on both short and long-term memory.
  • When you include a scenario in your eLearning module, you are promoting critical thinking. Critical thinking is a valuable way to empower employees to make their own decisions within the workplace, and it really puts the information being presented into a real-world context.
  • Not only do scenarios help more effectively convey information compared to basic text in eLearning, but they are also important because they can save your organization both time and money in the training process. By creating models, whether it is of equipment or particular interactions your team may encounter, you can eliminate the need for expensive and time-consuming hands-on training, and also eliminate location barriers that may prevent this kind of training from taking place.
  • If you are training employees on something complex, such as a certain piece of machinery, a scenario can break it down in a variety of ways and make a complex situation simpler in terms of learning and training.
  • When viewing a scenario, it makes it possible for the learner to directly see the rewards to be reaped by learning the material at-hand. Scenarios portray a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the material and how it will be used, which is a motivating factor in the learning process, improving engagement.

Tips for Implementing Scenarios

If you are considering the introduction of scenarios into your eLearning modules, think about the following tips:

  1. Be clear on the result you would like to achieve by presenting the eLearning scenario. Since scenarios are really a results-oriented component of eLearning, be clear on what you would like the outcome to be for your employees once they view a particular scenario, and design it with this purpose in mind. Expectations-based course design can significantly improve engagement because you are not only clear on what the outcome should be, but your learner is more likely to also be clear on your expectations, making the learning process more meaningful.
  2. Get to know your learner, so you can find ways to tap into their motivation. It is really important to assess not only your desired expectations for an eLearning module, but also how it is going to impact the learner’s life, and include aspects of this in scenarios. For example, make it clear how your employee has something to gain or lose based on how well they comprehend and retain the information being presented.
  3. Determine real-world problems your employees are faced with, and show them ways these problems can be solved. Scenarios are great for problem-solving, and when you empower employees with a scenario, it is more likely to show them various ways to solve a particular challenge in the workplace, and give them the confidence to employee their critical thinking skills when faced with a situation.
  4. Introduce an assessment after presenting a scenario. An important part of retention is having your learner apply the information in some way, so create a scenario and then a multiple-choice quiz or some type of true/false questions afterward. Not only does this help the learner better apply the knowledge in the scenario, and understand how it will be used in the real-world, but it can also help you determine potential points of weakness.
  5. Make scenarios highly interactive. There are a number of creative ways to do this in eLearning, from designing personalized avatars, to letting the learner choose from a range of different options throughout the presented situation. You can also utilize language that is personal and draws the learner in as an active participant in the scenario.

Ultimately, scenarios are a valuable tool to use within your eLearning modules. Keep them simple and informative, and let your learner have the freedom to put him or herself into the situation, and eventually make informed decisions that then have real-world applications.