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5 Tips To Develop Effective Scenario-Based Online Training

There are a myriad of eLearning activities to choose from when designing an online training experience, but there are few as engaging, interactive, or immersive as online training scenarios. In this article I'll share some invaluable tips on how to develop effective scenario-based online training.
5 Tips To Develop Effective Scenario-Based Online Training

How To Develop Effective Scenario-Based Online Training

Scenario-based online training encourages employees to interact and emotionally connect with the subject matter. However, in order to take this approach, you have to know how to use videos, stories, and multimedia components to give your employees a truly memorable and powerful online training experience. Take the stress out of creating an effective scenario-based online training strategy by keeping the following tips and tricks in mind when developing your next online training deliverable.

  1. Make it engaging, emotionally-driven, and entertaining.
    Regardless of the subject matter, the background of your employees, or the learning goals you are hoping to achieve, making the scenario-based online training experience emotionally-centered and engaging should be a primary objective during the design and development process of your online training course. In other words, employees need to be able to relate with the online training scenarios that you are creating. As such, they need to be as realistic as possible, and they absolutely must have some sort of emotional drive to them. For example, if you create an online training scenario in which employees need to help a customer, try to mimic the working environment of your company and make the characters relatable. A great way to integrate emotionally-driven online training content is to include brief videos in your online training scenario. These videos may feature real actors or avatars who display emotions that tug at the minds and the hearts of your employees. By doing this, you leave your mark upon them, which means that they will more effectively absorb and retain the information you are providing.
  2. Tie it into real world benefits and challenges.
    Online training scenarios are only truly effective and powerful if they deal with real world challenges or situations that the audience might encounter outside of the virtual classroom. This is why it is essential that you do your research to figure out what problems or obstacles the employees face while on the job and analyze their online training needs. You need to know what skill sets they are lacking or need to develop, as well as what key pieces of knowledge they must acquire in order to boost their job performance. It may be tempting to simply make a generic online training scenario that pertains to the subject matter, as this will allow you to cater to a wider audience. However, if you take the time to figure out exactly what your employees need to gain from their online training course, you can create online training scenarios that are engaging, entertaining, and offer them the best possible experience imaginable. Determine what they need based upon their regular job responsibilities, commonly performed tasks, and any other professional duties that they may have to carry out on a regular basis.
  3. Use industry-specific characters that are relatable.
    If you add characters and visually appealing images to your online training scenario, which is always advisable, make sure that they are not just aesthetically pleasing, but actually relevant to the subject matter. The backgrounds, character images, and graphic elements of the scenario-based online training course should all be industry specific. This will allow the employees to relate to the scenario-based online training course, rather than feel as though they are participating in yet another “cookie cutter” online training course that does not cater to their individual needs. If you are able, take a tour of their working environment or ask the Learning and Development department to send you images, which you can then integrate into the online training scenario. If you are using free stock images that feature real people, opt for those that contain attire that corresponds to the work culture of your organization, in order to create a sense of realism and relatability in your scenario-based online training course.
  4. Encourage employees to access previously acquired professional knowledge.
    When developing scenario-based online training courses, you must always account for previous employee knowledge. Are they already familiar with industry-specific jargon, or will you need to make the language simpler and more straightforward? How much do they know about the subject matter, and what do they need to know in order to fill in the gaps? You may want to begin the online training course by testing their knowledge via an online training scenario or conduct surveys and interviews to determine what they know versus what they should  know. Once you know more about their previously acquired professional knowledge and have provided them with additional knowledge to add to their mental banks, you can then ask them to apply it all throughout the scenario-based online training experience. Integrate periodic assessments and create branching scenarios that encourage them to make choices based upon their current professional knowledge. By doing this, you boost knowledge retention and make the overall scenario-based online training experience more effective and rewarding.
  5. Don't over complicate the storyline.
    You may feel the urge to make your scenario-based online training course quite detailed and complicated, in the hope that this will make the experience richer, more dynamic, and immersive. However, if you want to keep your employees focused and excited about the scenario-based online training experience, try to keep things as simple and straightforward as possible. Don't give too much backstory about the characters involved in the scenario, and don’t try to draw them into the story by setting the mood with an abundance of elaborate and unnecessary details. Instead, go right into the online training scenario and devote your talents to developing choices and consequences that will really help your employees in the real world. An over complicated storyline will just distract them from the subject matter, so keep it to the point and focus on the key online training objectives.

Use these scenario-based online training tips when creating your online training courses and you will be able to successfully develop deliverables that deeply engage and immerse your employees into their online training experience.

Want to know what your corporate audience loves about online training? Read the article The Top 5 Things Employees Love In Online Training Courses for the insight you need to craft winning online training courses that appeal to your employees.

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