Writing Effective eLearning Course Scenario Questions
You can employ effective eLearning Course scenarios when trying to boost the interactivity and immersion level of your eLearning course. However, to be truly successful in achieving this goal, the eLearning scenario questions you create must hit the mark and make your learners aware of how their decisions lead to real world consequences either good or bad. Here are a few tips that you can use to write effective eLearning course scenario questions.
- Determine your learners’ primary purpose.
Are you assessing your learners, or encouraging them to delve deeper into a topic? The first thing you'll need to do before designing your eLearning course scenario questions is to determine their primary purpose. Are you trying to create an assessment that gauges learners knowledge, or giving your learners the opportunity to explore a particular idea, process, or problem in greater depth? By answering this question, you will get a better idea of what tools you need to use and which elements need to be integrated in order to offer the most realistic and beneficial eLearning course scenario experience for your learners. For example, if you are creating an assessment, then you will want to opt for test question templates that allow for easy grading. On the other hand, if you are trying to build an exploration exercise for your learners, then you can create hyperlink buttons that lead to consequences, which can show your learners the rewards or risks involved with the decision making process.
- Determine where and why learners are making errors in the real world.
The goal of any effective eLearning course scenario is to give learners the opportunity to solve problems that they might actually encounter outside of the virtual classroom. In essence, you need to ask why learners are making mistakes and what behaviors need to be changed in order to avoid these errors. To determine this, you may want to conduct surveys or interviews with employees and management, or hold focus groups that involve key members of your learning audience.
- Focus on a specific challenge or obstacle.
When creating effective eLearning course scenario questions, it's easy to get lost in the information. You may be focusing so much on integrating core ideas or creating effective questions and outcomes, that you forget the most important aspect of designing a scenario, which is to focus on a challenge or obstacle that the learners need to overcome. The scenario that you are developing should be supporting or modifying a behavior or equipping your learners with the skills or knowledge they need to solve a problem they encounter in real life, either in their personal lives or on-the-job. The scenario must mimic real world experiences, rather than trying to overload learners with information or ideas. It must show them how to behave or what to think, rather than telling them.
- Offer your learners something they can relate to.
Learners will be able to connect with effective eLearning course scenarios. You need to include characters with whom they can relate and stories that they can empathize with. Otherwise, they just won't be able to actively engage in the eLearning process. Include dialogue that they might normally find in their daily lives, or images of people that remind them of people they work with. Also, make the scenario as realistic as possible. If you are developing a scenario that involves a dissatisfied employee, don't include a photo of a smiling customer, for example. This will automatically make your learners question the real value of the scenario, because it breaks that all-important connection that is at the heart of immersive learning experiences.
- Enlist the aid of a subject matter expert.
If at all possible, get a subject matter expert on-board who can help you to write effective scenario questions and outcomes that are true to life. By doing so, you can avoid unnecessary information, while you can make the scenario as realistic as possible. Ask them what jargon might typically be used or how to create subtle questions that truly test your audience or prepare them for the challenges they will be facing outside of the eLearning course.
- Always think about how your questions fit into the grand scheme of the eLearning scenario.
The most beneficial thing about an eLearning scenario is that it allows learners to make choices and learn from their mistakes in a risk-free environment. Every decision they make leads to a consequence and has a direct impact upon all of the future questions, particularly if you are designing a branching scenario. As is the case in the real world, if learners make a choice earlier in the process, this affects the final outcome. This is why you'll want to think about the role that every question plays in the overall scenario. How does it fit into the grand scheme of your particular activity and your eLearning course as a whole? How is it going to enhance the learning experience for your learner?
These eLearning course scenario question tips can help you to develop a realistic and effective eLearning scenario that immerses and informs your learners, allowing them to truly explore the real world consequences and benefits linked to the subject matter.
Looking for more information about the basics of scenario-based eLearning design? The article The Basics of Scenario-Based eLearning offers an in-depth look at how to improve learn engagement by integrating scenarios, as well as how it can be applied in eLearning course design.