Get students fired up with scenario-based eLearning

 

Want to get students fired up about learning? Then present a problem and ask them for a solution. Scenario-based instruction will grab your student’s attention and keep them engaged in the learning experience. In this post, I will give some definitions of scenario-based learning, identify some of the benefits it offers, and explain when to use it in your online course.

What is it?

According to Clark and Mayer (2012), scenario-based eLearning is

“an instructional environment in which the learner assumes a role to make decisions or take actions to resolve a work-related situation.”

Rooted in situated learning theory (Lave & Wenger, 1991), participants use critical thinking to solve a real-world problem. This leads to “knowledge activation.”

Seker (2016) validates scenario-based instruction design as a tool to promote self-regulated language learning strategies:

“…they provide situated learning driven from the relevant problems to the context of learners (Brock, 2003; Naidu, 2010; Parrish, 2004).”

What are the benefits?

  • Learners must engage!
  • Learning becomes concrete as students face real-life problems.
  • Learners must apply existing knowledge to a problem.
  • Learners must assess the problem, develop a solution, and know why they came to the decision.

As students explore new information and topics in a real-world situation, they must demonstrate critical thinking skills and the application of knowledge to complete the scenario-based eLearning activity (Kelly, 2015).

When should I use it?

Well, what do you want your students to learn? Your answer to this question should help you identify when scenario-based learning is right for your course.

In the discussion forum of the online course that I teach, I use scenario prompts. Students are asked to put themselves into the shoes of historical actors in order to understand the challenges that those people faced in their time. This helps them understand why decisions were made. In these discussion forums, students must consider what they know as well as the varying perspectives of their peers in order to arrive at a conclusion.

Try it out!

The scenario example below was built in PowerPoint—a tool that everyone is familiar with! The Branched Scenario Template was a free download from eLearning Heroes. I used the 3 C Model of Scenario Building (Kuhlmann, 2017) to identify the problem and solution as well as the consequences of the scenario.

In the scenario, Scott Fillmore, an employee of Seeking a Change, LLC, is faced with a customer service complaint. To select the best response to the problem, the learner must apply conflict management skills that were acquired in a recent company training module. Complete the scenario yourself by opening this link to the PowerPoint file.

Scenario 1 Dissatisfied With Customer Service

How did you do? In the future, I would like to explore using this type of activity to create what Cathy Moore calls memorable mini-scenarios to add further value for learners. I hope this quick-and-easy scenario-based eLearning activity inspires you to create your own!

References

Clark, R. C., and Mayer R. E. Scenario-Based e-Learning, Center for Creative Leadership, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central. Created from springarboruniv-ebooks on 2017-06-19 14:23:46.

Culatta, R. (2015). Conditions of Learning (Robert Gagne). Instructional Design.org

Culatta, R. (2015). Situated  Learning (J. Lave). Instructional Design.org

Kelly, R. (2015, September 24). Scenario-based learning in the online classroom. Retrieved June 23, 2017, from https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/scenario-based-learning-in-the-online-classroom/

Cathy Moore. (2011, October 12). How to create a memorable mini-scenario [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://blog.cathy-moore.com/2011/10/how-to-create-a-memorable-mini-scenario/

Seker, M (2016). Scenario-based instruction design as a tool to promote self-regulated language learning strategies. Sage Open.

author-tara

Author: modelelearning

Our team explores instructional design and eLearning trends. We develop student-centered blended and online courses at Spring Arbor University in Spring Arbor, MI.

4 thoughts on “Get students fired up with scenario-based eLearning”

  1. Hello Tara,

    I am a student learning about instructional design. I found this article on scenario-based eLearning very interesting. I currently work at an online university as a senior course builder. We are in the middle to trying to create a competency based education program, especially for our emergency management degree program.

    We are looking at creating simulations that will enable the student to learn and process the knowledge in a scenario. For example, we are creating fire simulations where the student, who is a fireman, could learn how to rescue the people inside the burning building and figure out how and where the fire started all without actually at a fire. This type of learning will enable the student to put their knowledge to use and run the the scenario without anyone getting hurt. By replaying the same scenario over and over will increase the student memory of how to handle a specific scenario so that when he/she is in the field, the student will feel more confident and can rely on his/her memory to make the correct decisions.

    Dr. Deanne Ormrod, (Laureate Education, n.d.) says, “…we know from research with online learning environments that when learners see something and hear something both, they remember it a lot more effectively than if they just saw it or just heard it. ” Utilizing scenario-based eLearning could achieve this goal.

    Terri

    References:
    Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Information processing and the brain [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

    1. Hi Terri,

      Scenario-based eLearning works well with competency-based education programs. It sounds like you want to use a branching scenario.

      In a branching scenario, learners take a path based on the choice that they make. While all of the branches are real choices, there’s going to be a choice that leads the learner to the intended consequence. Storyboarding these branches before you being allows you to map the branches to the logical consequences.

      Good luck with your work and studies.

      Tara

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