Instructional Design on Apr 13, 2021
Experience Is The Teacher Of All Things
When creating e-learning courses, the question that arises is what makes an effective and valuable course. Is it the quality of the content? The activities? The graphic design?
Well, there are certainly many answers to this question, but after decades of experience, we can tell you there’s one thing you should always keep in mind: experience is the teacher of all things. People learn by practicing, and scenario-based training is all about practice and making decisions. Let’s explore this case-study:
People at an oil & gas company could perfectly define and identify first aid key concepts and could also complete knowledge checks. However, when an accident took place, they didn’t know what to do, how to act, or how to put into practice the theory they were familiar with. The company needed a solution that would help their employees deal with these daily situations, and teach them how to make life-and-death decisions while still providing them with a safe place to hone their skills.
Choose Your Own Adventure
So, how do we tackle this challenge? How do we bring experience to learners while keeping the content compelling? The answer is simple: branching scenarios.
The challenge was overcome by using a branching scenario where people had to decide what to do at each step of the story, controlling the course of action and leading to different possible outcomes. Should they call the ambulance right away or should they administer first aid? Should they move the injured person or just leave them where they are? What would you do?
Branching scenarios create different learning paths and explore different situations. The key is to create a safe environment for learners to make their own choices, giving the learning experience real value. In scenarios, there is no judgment given: they prompt self-reflection, and teach learners how to act in difficult situations by showing the consequences of their decisions or actions. At the end of the day, an effective course must encourage learners to think as if it were real life.
Like Real Life But Without The Drama
Now, why scenarios? Let’s explore some of their main benefits:
They increase engagement. Branching scenarios make people think and decide constantly, but also makes them consider about the consequences of their decisions. The goal is to make learners become active participants, instead of being mere passive observants. With branching scenarios, learners stay engaged and gain valuable experience.
There is safety in failure. It is well known that mistakes don’t halt the learning process. In fact, failure enhances it. And, more importantly, mistakes become a long-lasting memory. In branching scenarios, people learn from mistakes without feeling the pressure of the consequences. Scenarios create a safe environment with real world challenges and real-life consequences, but without real life risks. It is like reality, but without the drama. Isn’t that all we need?
They have a high-impact when it comes to retention and transfer. We want people to remember and apply what we teach them. By making learners think as if they were facing a real-life challenge, we are teaching them how to apply the knowledge. Practicing and experience are the best combo to ensure retention and transfer of knowledge.
Is This Worth It?
Is this goal worth it given how much it takes to achieve? Definitely.
Developing scenario-based training certainly takes time, but the benefits are undeniably worth it. We surely know that this approach brings about outstanding results.
Now, we want to hear from you: Have you included branching scenarios in your solutions? Have you taken a course with branching scenarios? Can you think of a problem you could solve with branching scenarios?
Or, you may have some questions.
Comment down below!
What are you waiting for to create your own scenario-based solution?
Scenarios provide concrete examples of abstract concepts; they enable the audience to apply the learning in context, rather than simply recalling facts.
By enabling learners to apply concepts in real life situations, they promote deep learning and the appreciation of differing perspectives.
If applied correctly, scenarios increase the empathy for others and provide greater insights into challenges faced by others.
Users learn by doing: their choices control the story and they see and feel the impact of their decisions on other people
They tend to increase student motivation, interest and retention of learned materials.