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How to Create Scenario-based Learning for Corporate Training

Louise Jones

What is the future for corporate training?

Scenario-based learning (SBL) is quickly becoming the industry standard for corporate learning or workplace learning and development. Why is this? Well, simply it puts learners the driving seat, literally! The most complex of challenges, critical incidents, or situations can be easily be developed into an opportunity for learning. Your learners can work through the challenges and think carefully about their choices, most importantly they can see the impact of their choices in a safe environment.

In a post-pandemic world many organizations are seeing the value of the modern hybrid workplace, technology has opened up flexible opportunities for onboarding and learning and development. This is particularly true for learning remotely either at the home office or even whilst on the move. SBL can be delivered at anytime and in any place, with self-paced and accessible planned learning experiences, it really is the ideal solution being both effective and economical with your resources.

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Data-driven learning

With the right SBL solution you can see how your learners have engaged with your learning experience. Look at the time spent on questions, goals achieved and total completion time.  From Individual learner’s performance to teams and whole organizations, analyze key performance metrics as well as evidence of completion for mandatory training. 

Planning the SBL Experience

If you are looking for effective, efficient and impactful ways for your learners, trainees and teams to achieve real-life skills applicable in real-world environments using your online learning and elearning, you should use Scenario-based learning.  

To get going, create a storyline of how your scenario will behave. You can use an online tool or app or simply sketch out with pen and paper or a whiteboard. It may help to think of the scenario as a story which evolves – just like a “choose your own adventure” book for children.

Plan your scenario-based learning experience using the 5 Cs

The 5Cs of Successful Scenario Building
The 5Cs of Successful Scenario Building

When planning your scenario-based learning, start with the 5Cs

  1. Context – Is everything! A relatable situation and surrounding real-world context that take into account place, space, modernity, diversity and culture. Think of this as setting the scene for your challenge or situation. It helps people get in the zone and begin to ‘read’ the situation.
  2. Challenge – A well outlined problem or situation set within the context including any constraints such as completion time. It is the ideal place to set the learning intention, achievable points or other learning outcomes.   
  3. Choices – The options that are presented at a juncture in the branching scenario. The choices lead the participant to a desired outcome or consequences. 
  4. Consequence – Impacts or outcomes that can be positive or negative depending on the choice. 
  5. Contemplate – What chances or opportunities are there to learn from this experience? Contemplation, review or reflection questions, and / or feedback can be provided here as part of the learning process. Building in discrete feedback within scenarios that have a structured, rather than a short incorrect / correct notice, use a ThingLink scene to explain why, this can be made more effective with interactive and multi-modal forms of explanation. Make the moment count!

Next steps in scenario-based learning planning

Always consider the learner(s) that will be using the scenario. Is the content pitched correctly at their level, age, experience, understanding, prior knowledge, learning needs etc? Consider all content in your scenario, including the text in the choices. These are just as important as the scenes themselves and need to be carefully considered to provide the learner with realistic and clear choices. Each consequence should be fair and rational. 

Feedback and further opportunities for microlearning 

At the consequence/contemplation stage you can consolidate the learning so far by adding more information or learning points. You can give feedback on WHY this was a good/not so good choice. You can also add media in this scene which gives Further Reading/Links/Research.

Your learners could receive tailored feedback depending on the route they have taken to reach the end. The learning points could vary according to which choices they have made along the way.

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To start creating your own interactive content and learning experiences, get started with a free ThingLink trial account today!

What is scenario-based Learning? 

Scenario-based learning (SBL) is a well documented, evidence-based instructional strategy for effective learning. Simulations, situations, challenges and problems are presented to the learner as a series of connected scenes. The scenes are interspersed with multiple choice questions branching to create different pathways for the participant to take, with different consequences and eventual outcomes. This learning theory can be said to be one example of the gamification of learning, but is a proven educational approach which has enormous benefits.

What are the benefits of scenario based learning?

  • Improved learner engagement, better retention and recall of new skills. 
  • With the right type of authoring tools it is ideal for remote and self-paced skills training. 
  • A well-crafted SBL experience assists your learners to achieve vital meta-skills and soft skills for life, learning and work. 
  • Solving complex problems or simulation activities can help to develop Critical Thinking skills and decision making. 
  • Realistic online training can take place in a safe environment, ideal for onboarding or compliance training.

SBL instructional design ideally includes multiple branching scenarios where the learner can choose their path. Linear paths can also be created, but the branching element truly brings in the capacity for deeper, more active learning through problem solving in interactive scenarios, rather than just clicking the next button just as you might on a PowerPoint presentation.

What tools can I use to build a SBL experience?

ThingLink’s Scenario Builder allows you to create multimedia interactive real-world environments and real-life situations, where everything and anything can be an interface for interaction. Watch this quick 2 minute walkthrough to see how it looks in action!

Further reading

Get inspired!

For more tips and inspiration on creating content for e-learning and training, visit our dedicated E-learning page. Or why not join our friendly social media communities for lots of inspiration, interaction, ideas and advice! These include:

See you there!

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