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Scenario-based Learning: What Is It & Why Do You Need It?

There are a number of instructional design strategies such as guided learning, Learning through Exploration and Discovery (LEAD), and scenario-based learning to choose from when you are creating an e-learning course. However, when you need to impart decision-making skills, scenario-based learning is the best fit. But what is scenario-based learning?

Today in this blog, we will see what scenario-based learning is and why you need to use it.

What is scenario-based learning?

Scenario-based learning is a way of teaching or practicing a skill using virtual, interactive, problem-based contexts. This strategy usually involves learners working their way through a problem, which they are expected to solve. In the process, learners must apply their prior experience, subject knowledge, critical thinking, and problem solving skills in a risk-free and “close-to real-world” environment. This allows them to acquire the necessary skills needed to deal with similar problems at work.

Advantages of scenario-based learning

Offers a learner-centric approach

We all want our learners to transfer their learning to the workplace. Don’t we? But many training programs fail to reach that level. Scenario-based leaning focuses exactly on this. Its hows your people how to apply the skills acquired in real-life job situations rather than merely presenting theoretical information. Needless to say, such a strategy, essentially, strengthens the skills and improves the weak areas of employees, helping them improve their performance at work.

Shows the consequences of failure

It is rightly said “Failures are the stepping stones to success.” When you make mistakes, you tend to remember them for a long period. Scenario-based learning supports this fact. It offers room for failure; in a risk-free environment. Also, it’s not that you fail, fail, and fail until you make the right decision. Scenario-based learning shows you the consequences of every wrong step you take. You have the opportunity to know why you are wrong, and this goes a long way in helping you avoid similar mistakes at work.

Promotes critical thinking

Not everyone loves action, romance, or drama, but who doesn’t love detective movies, books, and TV shows? They put our brains to work, thinking of various plausible scenarios such as what, who, how, and why. And sometimes, we succeed to find the answers even before Sherlock Holmes. Scenario-based learning does exactly this. It is very efficient in stimulating the analytical skills of the learner. It puts his critical thinking abilities to work and expects him to find a solution to the problem presented. This feature of scenario-based learning makes it very useful to help the learner understand the intricacies of complex business problems and find efficient solutions to organizational challenges.

Engages with relevant context

Scenario-based learning programs are based on situations which your people face every day in their work. Such scenarios build an instant personal connect with employees as they will be in a familiar environment. For example, if an employee is working in a workshop with metal objects, the scenarios provided to him would include contexts such has handling metal sheets, the right way of servicing knives and blades, etc. The familiarity of the context presented in the scenario helps the learners immediately connect to their work and the hazards they might face.

So the bottom-line is, scenario-based learning programs are very useful to impart decision-making skills. They help learners identify why some of their decisions are wrong and the consequences of such decisions in a risk-free environment. They promote critical thinking and present real-world contexts that facilitate good learning. Would you like to share other benefits of scenario-based learning? The Comments section is all yours.

Instructional Design Strategies to Design Engaging eLearning Courses