Ray Jimenez, the Chief Learning Architect of Vignettes Learning shared tips and reasons for creating scenarios in training.
A scenario triggers a story in the learners’ minds featuring themselves. It allows the learners to bring in their own stories. (remember, it’s not your story that you are telling, it’s their story.) Scenario based learning can be so compelling that learners sometimes revisit their mistakes even after passing just to satisfy their curiosity about what could have happened.
Tension, challenge and choice gives ownership to the learner and help them emotionally engage, forcing them to reflect and explain to themselves why they made that choice. Tension puts people off balance, and they have to do something to resolve it. Scenarios help move people from one situation to another – go on a journey to a place you want to take them. They provide a safe way to make choices and discoveries. Scenarios create expectations and accountability. They help learners connect abstract concepts to real life.
Don’t do scenarios unless you can use tension, challenge and choice. They don’t make sense for all situations, especially when you have to assess with multiple choice. Put reasonable limits in terms of the number of choices and time it takes. Otherwise it gets too expensive and complicated.
Don’t put in a speaker or lecturer to tell the learner what they need to do, this just takes them out of the story, as will interrupting participants interacting with character or story to provide an insight, resource etc.
The scenario does the teaching, so you don’t have to say “right” or “wrong”. In real life there is no voice in the sky that says “right” or “wrong”. But you do experience consequences from your choices.
Some traits of good scenario material:
· “You know the problem without having to state it”
· Generates questions why
· Tells a story
· You want to know how to avoid it happening to you