How To Create an Effective eLearning Scenario
eLearning Scenarios can make the overall eLearning experience fun, engaging, and effective. However, in order to achieve all of these coveted benefits, there are a number of unspoken tips that eLearning professionals must follow to design eLearning scenarios that add real value to their eLearning deliverables. Keep in mind that realistic and challenging eLearning scenarios help you to make the eLearning course more immersive and interactive, while those that are overly complicated, confusing, or lack problem-solving elements tend to miss their mark. Every eLearning scenario must have the perfect blend of relevancy and entertainment, or else it simply won't serve the ultimate learning objective or goal.
- Research your learning audience and enlist the aid of a Subject Matter Expert.
Having a clear idea of who your eLearning audience is and what they would define as “realistic” is the first step in creating effective eLearning scenarios. Research what kind of jargon they use on a regular basis, which situations they encounter daily on-the-job, as well as any other important background information you may need in order to make the eLearning scenario as relevant and relatable as possible. To do this, you may also want to enlist the help of a subject matter expert, who can give you a better idea of what content you'll need to include in the eLearning scenario. For example, a subject matter expert can let you know which skills or knowledge you'll need to integrate into the eLearning scenario to make it more effective and informative.
- Create an eLearning storyboard to develop the structure of your eLearning scenario.
Before you begin to pick out the images and graphics you'll be using, you'll want to sit down with your eLearning team (if applicable) and start brainstorming ideas that you'll want to include. It's a good idea to create an eLearning storyboard that maps out the entire eLearning scenario from start to finish, so that you can have a guide throughout the process. Include a list of possible characters where the core lesson elements fit in and investigate how the learners will interact with the eLearning scenario. For example, will they be answering questions at the end of each eLearning scenario, or will they be making choices throughout it? Keep in mind that you can always make changes as you move forward, but this storyboard helps you stay on track, on topic, and gives you the opportunity to fine tune every aspect of the scenario before finalization.
- Integrate real life problems and solutions.
eLearning Scenarios simply won't offer your learners any real value unless they deal with problems that one would encounter outside of the eLearning environment. As such, you'll want to ensure that your eLearning scenarios deal with some sort of real life problem or situation that will help your learners to gather knowledge or develop the necessary skill sets that they will need in the real world. This can also serve to make the eLearning scenario more effective and engaging, given that your learners will be able to see the benefit of the eLearning experience, and therefore they will be more likely to actively participate. If the subject matter doesn't necessarily tie into a real world problem, you may have to get creative and look at it from a different point of view so that you can determine its real world applications.
- Encourage learners to put their newly acquired knowledge to good use.
Knowledge acquisition is only half the battle. In order to create truly effective scenarios in eLearning, the learners must be able to also fully absorb and retain the information being offered. Therefore, you may want to consider assessing learners’ knowledge at the end of the eLearning scenario through an exam, test or quiz. Better yet, you can encourage them to apply what they have learned within the eLearning scenario itself. For example, you can have them complete a module and then offer the eLearning scenario after the fact, so that they will have the opportunity to commit the information or skills to their long-term memory. Walk them through a task and then have them complete it themselves in the eLearning scenario, or have a group discussion that delves into a particular topic followed by an eLearning scenario that assesses their understanding of a subject matter.
- Avoid using irrelevant details just for the sake of entertainment.
While it's always a great idea to make your eLearning scenarios interesting and realistic, try to avoid using so many details that may overwhelm your learners. This can lead to cognitive overload and even distract the learner from the actual subject matter they need to absorb. So, include just enough detail to make it exciting and engaging, but don't go overboard. For example, you don't need to give a back story of each character, or include dialogues that go off on a tangent. Keep things simple and straightforward so that you showcase the main points, rather than overshadow them for the sake of entertainment.
- Allow learners to learn through their mistakes with plausible consequences.
One of the most effective ways to acquire new knowledge is to learn by one's own mistakes. So, why not give your learners that opportunity by integrating plausible consequences into your eLearning scenarios? For instance, if they answer an eLearning scenario question incorrectly, you can show them how that impacted the character or which other answers would have been more appropriate given the situation. By making these consequences as true-to-life as possible, you can help your learners to become aware of exactly where a choice would lead without any real world risk involved!
With these eLearning scenario tips at-the-ready, you can design meaningful and engaging eLearning courses for your audience. While creating truly effective eLearning scenarios may require a greater investment of both time and resources, it can often make your eLearning course far more entertaining and informative for your learners.
Still unsure about whether eLearning scenarios are worth including in your next eLearning deliverable? The article The Basics of Scenario-Based eLearning highlights the various aspects of scenario-based eLearning, so that you can design eLearning courses which not only keep the learners motivated and engaged, but provide them with the best possible educational experience.
Moreover, if you are thinking to integrate storytelling in your next eLearning deliverable, the article Tips To Integrate Storytelling Into Your Next eLearning Course presents 7 Storytelling Tips and Tricks for eLearning Professionals that will help you create highly effective and engaging eLearning experiences for your learners.