“Choose Your Own Adventure” in Scenario-Based Learning

When we think about something that is “scenario-based” there are some key components Clark describes in Scenario Based e-Learning. One of those things is that the learner is the actor in some kind of realistic situation. I’ve talked about my past experience developing (what I thought was) scenario-based, and this is another one of the things I missed. In fact, it’s one of the things I’ve noticed missing from many lessons that have been considered “scenario-based.”

E-Learning Heroes, a community of practice related to the Articulate suite of products, regularly provides a prompt for designers to build some kind of eLearning. One recent topic was building a choose your own adventure-style branched scenario sample. Participants were encouraged to create prototypes of their samples and provide a story map showing the various paths within the learning. One of these samples stuck out to me as a great example of letting the learner be the actor.

Jonathan Hill created “Tea or Coffee? What terrible consequences await based on your choice of beverage?” The sample starts out with a realistic scenario: “It’s Monday morning again and you need a pick me up before you jump into another busy week ….” From there, you determine whether to have tea or coffee, whether you need cream and/or sugar, and so on. I worked through the scenario as I would in real life–always with coffee. No day can begin without it. No surprise, I managed to make it to the end with my coffee and slay the project. (I may not slay every project, but I do always have my coffee.)

Hill’s use of a pretty realistic scenario and keeping the sample focused on the learner is a terrific example of a trigger event leading learners into the scenario that they are acting in. If you’re curious, Hill explained more about his learning design in his blog.

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