How to create a scenario for learning

Creating a simple scenario 2In this second instalment of scenario based learning, we take a closer look at the steps involved in creating a simple scenario.

Need to catch up on the first part of our first instalment of scenario based learning? Read it here.

Step 1 – Define learning outcomes

Decide on the learning outcomes for the scenario.  Use instructional design tools such as DIF (Difficulty, Interesting, Frequent) or KISS (Keep, Improve, Stop, Start) to identify the behaviour you want to change and what you want learners to do differently. At this point it is also worth capturing competent and incompetent behaviour and slightly grey, risky behaviour.

Step 2 – Set the scene

Almost every good story begins with setting the scene in which the story will play out. This of course should be directly related to the subject matter and the location in which the target audience will most likely encounter such decisions.

Step 3 – Introduce your characters

Now that you have set the scene and familiarised the learner with the location it is time to introduce the characters in the story. Again, realism is important and also consider drawing out traits or a backstory that are relevant to the scenes and decisions that are to come.

Step 4 – Describe decision points

The scenario is structured into a number of scenes which each offer a decision to the main character. These decision points are the moments within the scenario when the learner is offered competent, incompetent and risky options to choose from. These can be presented as multiple choice or true/false questions.  A simple linear scenario follows builds the same narrative scene by scene regardless of the answer chosen by the learner.

Step 5 –  Feedback and resources

As with all forms of learning, providing feedback is a key component in getting the learner to reflect on the problem that has been presented and the possible consequences of their decisions. The more realistic and dramatic these are the better to reinforce the impact of behaviour and choices. Scenario based learning lends itself very well to illustrating consequences as it can present tangible evidence of what can happen as a result of the learner’s decision in real life.  In a teaching scenario key learning points can also be reinforced in the feedback before the scenario progresses to the next scene.

And finally

So what’s not to like about them? Developing realistic and authentic scenarios involves a lot of effort from instructional design team and a close collaboration with the SME.

Consider, if you need a developing linear scenario that follows, a situation which unfolds over time with numerous stages and decision points.  Or maybe a simple stand-alone single scene scenario or vignette might be sufficient.

If you are interested in developing your scenario based learning skills, we’ve recently developed a new 1 day training course on Instructional Scenarios where you will learn how to structure and storyboard engaging, instructional scenarios with characters, settings and decision points. So if you’re interested designing your own scenario with support by our trainer, get in touch! 

So there you have it. An easy step by step method for creating engaging simple scenarios.

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

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