Scenario based learning

Our Top Three Reasons for Using Scenario-Based Learning

Scenario-based learning is an interactive and motivating instructional strategy that’s rapidly gaining momentum. Learners work their way through a scenario by making decisions at crucial moments. The most effective scenarios are relevant to the learner and are structured around them solving an issue or problem. Some scenarios are simple where every learner takes the same route through the scenario (linear), while others allow learners to take different paths (branched) based on the decisions they have made.

While scenario-based learning can be applied to a broad range of different topics and content areas, the key to developing successful scenarios is aligning them as closely as possible to real life issues learners face. At The Learning Rooms we have developed scenarios in many areas, including medical wound dressing and managing staff to dealing with bullying and harassment in the workplace. We enjoy the challenge of integrating scenario-based learning into the online courses we develop.

Here are our top three reasons why.

Scenario-based learning promotes active learning experiences

When learners are engaged in active learning, they are thinking critically, making decisions and engaging in learning to a deeper level than if they were passively reading, watching or listening to content. Through the active experience of engaging with a scenario, the learner develops a sense of responsibility for their own learning. This helps motivate them and keep them engaged. In addition, research from Markant et al. (2016) shows that active learning has a significantly positive effect on the long-term retention of new content, meaning an online course can have more impact when it includes appropriate and well-designed scenario-based learning.

Scenario-based learning is relevant (when done right!)

The best scenarios are ones that have been designed around genuine organisational and learner-based problems and then mimic real-life as closely as possible. If the scenario isn’t relevant or lacks an appropriate level of difficulty, it can fail to serve the purpose for which it is being used. Carefully constructed scenarios should highlight to the learner the true consequences for each of the decisions they make. Real life problems combined with genuine consequences create relatable and relevant learning experiences for the learner.

Scenario-based learning improves performance

When employees are experiencing scenarios that could legitimately occur in real-life, they are given a safe and genuine space to learn. They can make mistakes and experience new situations without the potential costs that could occur in the real world. This takes the pressure off the learner and enables them the see consequences of a wrong step without experiencing the actual repercussions. It is safe for a learner to fail multiple times, which allows them to explore, make incorrect choices and learn from experiencing what happens. All of this improves performance and gets the learner ready to make decisions in real-life.

Scenario-based learning is a useful tool to deliver active and relevant learning experiences that improve employee performance. This blog is the first in a series that delves into scenario-based learning. Keep an eye on our website or subscribe to our newsletter to read more.

Reference: Markant, D., Ruggeri, A., Gureckis, T., & Xu, F. (2016). Enhanced Memory as a Common Effect of Active Learning. Journal of Mind, Brain and Education, 3(10), 142 – 152.