But what is a ‘scenario’ in an e-learning context? Put simply, it’s a situation that plays out for the learner in order to give some context to the theory and to implant it in the real world in which the learner operates.
E-learning scenarios can be hypothetical or they can be real case studies, but as an e-learning author, they are a valuable tool for us all to help embed the learning objectives that we are trying to put across.
Getting the learner thinking
When it comes to making your content engaging and interactive, scenarios or case studies provide a secondary function in that they help get the learner thinking about the behaviour or action that you, as an e-learning author, are trying to instil in them.
A typical instructional design tactic would be for a scenario to play out using text, graphics, or perhaps some video or audio content. You might then follow it up with a question, or series of questions, asking the learner to think about what they would do in such a situation. Based on the learner’s response, they would then be given good quality feedback that will help them in their day to day role when they face a similar situation.
Going beyond the basic scenario
Using scenarios is not something exclusive to Adapt Builder and you can create even the most basic of case studies with pretty rudimentary tools. Experienced Adapt Builder authors, however, may be used to components such as the narrative, hot graphic or click-and-reveal, all of which are conducive to creating case studies. Up to now, they might have subsequently followed this up with perhaps a multiple choice question or an open text input activity in a separate component.
Well, all of that could be about to change!
Hot on the heels of Adapt’s stacker component comes the all new branching component. Currently in the final throes of a rigorous testing process, this will be released later this month and promises to revolutionise the way in which our authors use scenarios.
Branching has long been seen as something of a holy grail for e-learning authoring tools. As great as the narrative component is for telling a story, that story does not change depending on the user and the decisions they make when playing a role within the scenario.
Creating a clear learner path
With the branching component, however, each decision or choice that’s made within the scenario has consequences. The path the learner takes through the scenario is not set and circumstances change at every juncture. Points can also be attributed to each of the choices or turns that the learner makes and these can be totted up at the end of the scenario to give a score.
This undoubtedly makes for a much more complex piece of content to write, but the benefits are a richer experience for the learner where the outcome is determined by themselves and where they can see the benefits of getting things right, or the pitfalls of getting it wrong.
What’s more, because this is a component that you can use in Adapt Builder, it benefits from all of the usual advantages that come with that such as being fully responsive across all devices.
Scenarios have always been a major weapon in the arsenal of any good instructional designer, but never before have authors had the heavy artillery of a fully responsive, intuitive branching component at their disposal.