Fundamentals of Good eLearning Scenarios
Top-rated instructors strive to create useful and engaging online training to help learners get the most out of their elearning and help them apply the knowledge in practical life. They seek to shift from the traditional learning paradigm of “knowing” to the modern learning paradigm of “knowing and doing.” They explore methods and approaches, like those of Dr. David Merrill, Professor of Instructional Design at Utah University, to keep the learner engaged and incorporate interactive and real-life problem-solving elements in their online training, moving the learner away from “click-click click” course navigation mode to deeper learning and understanding of the course content.
eLearning scenarios are an excellent way to engage learners, promote their decision making skills, and to help them apply the acquired knowledge through practice. Scenarios can help students get the jist of different real-life situations that they may encounter, and equip them with problem-solving skills to make sound judgments in such complex situations.
The following are some of the essential components of an effective elearning scenario:
- Realistic: eLearning scenarios should be closely related to real-life situations so that learners see reflections of their world in that scenario, understand its relevance, and are interested in the outcome. Similarly, the answer choices should reflect the real-life dilemmas and should be thought-provoking. For example, if your elearning scenario is about a woman mistakenly eating food to which she is allergic, your answer options may expand beyond simply calling an ambulance or consulting with her family members or friends who are present. Should you open her purse to see if she carries emergency allergy medicine? Should you check her phone for an emergency contact number? Should you stay on the sidelines, hoping there is a doctor in the area, not wanting to make a wrong or misinterpreted move? Real life can have complicated choices.
- Relevant: Scenarios are a great way to assess students’ understanding of the subject matter. Craft scenarios according to the information presented in the course and help learners practice and apply that information by attempting the scenarios.
- Motivational: eLearning scenarios should be motivating and closely linked with the learning objectives of the course. Adopt a story-like approach when writing scenarios and avoid lengthy text. Grab learner’s attention by adding risk-filled situations and challenging elements and keep the students alert with unexpected outcomes.
- Simple: Use simple and direct language while writing elearning scenarios to avoid confusion and keep learner attention from wandering off. Luring learners through acres of dense jargon-filled description is often not successful and may diminish the effectiveness of your scenario in supporting the related learning objective. Present the case clearly and crisply. Challenge learners’ current understanding and allow that to be the focus of the scenario.
- Informative feedback: Good course developers strive to write interesting, informative, and useful feedback so that the learner will read it willingly and use that information successfully, whenever required. Try adding the consequence of each action (answer choices) to help learner understand the course content at a deeper level. For an incorrect attempt, feedback such as “That’s not right” or “Try Again” may not be adequate. Inform learners about the possible result of their selected course of action so that they can understand and chose the right direction.
- Catchy pictures: A picture is worth a thousand words. When developing elearning scenarios, use interesting and relevant images to help student to visualize the situation.
We usually don’t get a second chance to correct ourselves in real-life situations, but with the help of elearning scenarios, a student is provided an opportunity to learn and practice in an authentic environment. Write effective eLearning scenarios to infuse problem-solving and strategic decision-making skills in your students.
Onwards and upwards!