Christine is a classroom trainer working mainly with Customer Service people in her company. When she first started, she used to stick slavishly to her notes and her timing and wondered why her pupils failed to perform well in the questionnaire at the conclusion of the course. One day a pupil asked her a question and she used a story from her own experience and this prompted more questions from the rest of the class who suddenly showed renewed interest. That night she started rewriting her material including stories from her days in the field.
The effect on the following workshops was awesome and the results at the end and in the field were greatly improved. Somebody then told her she was using scenario-based training so she did some research to see how she could improve her performance, and found that it was equally successful for e-learning design. Here are some thoughts on how it works:
- When you write a scenario for learning, you need a few essential elements, a leading character, his or her goal, some challenges to face. The main character should be someone your learners can identify with.
- Learners should see a bit of themselves in the lead character. When they identify with the lead character, they will probably be emotionally invested in the character succeeding.
- The context in which the scenario is based. This is often implied by the training objective. The context isn’t just shared with words. When you add a photo background for a scenario-based learning, you show learners the context rather than telling them.
- Next, your main character needs a challenge. This provides a decision point for the learners. The challenges are where the learning happens. Examples are – faulty technology, impatient Customers, non-performance by a team member or a limited budget.
- Common mistakes are good challenges to include. If sales reps leave out a section of their product presentation, include that in the scenario. Give the learners a choice to make a recommendation or not.
- You might also include challenges that happen less often but are critical to get right. Sales reps seldom have to deal with dangerously angry Customers, but it doesn’t hurt to consider this situation.
- The learner must know the consequences of their decision. This is made possible in the Modlettes ‘learning quiz’ where there is the facility to comment on each of the four options. A Customer threatens to go to a competitor, the technology continues to malfunction, the counselling fails to improve performance or you run out of budget.
- Show learners the consequences of less than optimal answers rather than just telling them.
So there you have it, the four C’s of scenario based learning: