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I grew up reading Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) books. In these stories, you are immersed in a situation, and you get to make decisions along the way, ultimately determining the outcome of the story! I loved reading and playing games, so this was the perfect combination!
As an instructional designer, one of my favorite ways to get learners to practice all types of content is through scenarios. Why? Because they remind me of my beloved CYOA books. And, more importantly, because they are one of the best methods to support adult learning. Learners are actively participating in their learning as they perform their new skills in a memorable experience.
Here are six key steps to structure and design successful scenarios for your training:
- Start small with a linear scenario that focuses on just one outcome.
- Ensure you develop a realistic context using your storytelling skills.
- Next, present a challenge or dilemma to the learners.
- Allow learners to analyze the situation and apply their skills by making decisions about resolving the problem.
- Finally, provide feedback as learners work through each challenge.
- Select a scenario (issue or problem) based on your needs analysis data. Ensure your scenario is based on situations your target audience will be presented with back on the job.
Scenarios can be used in these three training strategies: traditional instructor-led, virtual classroom (synchronous), and web-based training tutorials (asynchronous). The latest software platforms and e-learning development tools have all the resources you’ll need to create a successful learning experience.
The next time you’re designing a course, consider developing a scenario that allows learners to practice making decisions just like they will back on the job!