5 inspiring scenario-based elearning examples

Scenarios can be an effective way to engage your learners and really change their behavior. Here are five scenario-based training examples to inspire your next project.

Scenario based featured image

There are lots of ways to include scenarios in your elearning design, from quick and simple to longer-form and intricately designed. Whichever approach you choose, adding some kind of story to your content makes it:

  • More engaging, emotionally impactful and memorable (humans respond well to stories!)
  • More likely to be transferred to the workplace, because it’s real, relevant and practical

Here are five scenario-based elearning examples, each with a different approach.

1. Story as a way into the substance

A scenario can be a great way into a topic that is complex, dry or otherwise tricky. In this example, the story draws the learner in and primes them for the core content about ethical dilemmas and decision making.

Interactive storytelling screen shot

Why it works:

  • The (true) story has suspense and drama without being contrived or unbelievable, and music clips and engaging visuals bring it to life
  • Decision points with immediate feedback in the narrator’s voice maintain immersion and the momentum of the story
  • At the end, those low-stakes decisions are played back with commentary on what they might suggest about the learner’s responses in higher-stakes situations
  • There is no judgment given – the scenario is all about drawing the learner in, prompting some self-reflection and priming them for the true learning content to come
  • A low-tech interactive scenario makes a big, potentially daunting, topic accessible and engaging

Giftable | Click here to go to this example

2. Product training using a sales simulation

When you need to train staff up on a new product, you could just give them the product information. But this example shows how taking a scenario-based approach to test that knowledge can be more engaging and more effective.

Product knowledge training screenshot

Why it works:

  • Applying a simple scenario turns a basic multiple choice quiz into a more challenging simulation
  • The quiz module tests the learner’s sales skills and ability to apply the learning in context, rather than simple recall of facts
  • Using a customer scenario brings the content to life and helps to embed the product knowledge
  • Feedback directs the learner back to the product information if the learner choose incorrectly, reinforcing the learning rather than just giving the correct answer

Click here to go to this example

3. Immersive branching scenarios to explore consequences

Sometimes it pays to develop a more immersive, branching scenario – like this Open University example. This works really well when you want to offer experiential learning online and need the learner to engage emotionally with a subject.

Immersive branching screenshot

Why it works:

  • It combines Elucidat’s video players, rules, branching, social polls and layout designer to immerse the user in each emotionally-charged scenario
  • The user learns by doing: their choices control the story and they see and feel the impact of their decisions on other people
  • Feedback is offered at the end rather than incrementally after each decision point, so the branching is seamless and the story more realistic and engaging
  • The use of scenarios makes the topic of mental health much more real, impactful and high stakes than simply reading about it
  • As this is a topic where there isn’t a single right answer, social polling adds an extra dimension to the scenario by showing how other people acted at various points

Click here to go to this example

4. Elearning scenarios to encourage reflection and discovery

A scenario can test a learner’s assumptions and potentially change their mind. This Open University example – about contrasting ways of viewing the same pieces of evidence – illustrates this perfectly.

A practical challenge screenshot

Why it works:

  • Each scenario begins and ends with the learner being asked to decide on someone’s guilt, with a clear illustration of how much their initial assessment changed
  • The law content itself comes only at the end of each scenario, where it’s much more likely to land and stick because the scenario has done the job of engaging the learner
  • Social polls indicate how other people interpreted the same evidence, similar to how jury members can hear the same testimony and reach different conclusions
  • Additional case studies are linked at the end of each scenario, having been put into context by immersive, emotionally-impactful, ethically and legally-challenging scenarios

Click here to go to the demo

5. An audio-driven scenario with game elements

This demo shows how gaming mechanics such as points and timers can be added to a scenario to create a realistic simulated environment for salespeople to practice their skills.

Gamified scenario screenshot

Why it works:

  • This scenario is audio-driven, which balances low cost and engagement and – more importantly – simulates the environment the learners work in
  • The whole scenario is in the first-person: the learner isn’t controlling a character or reacting to an observed scenario; they are the character and it’s their scenario
  • Game elements add a sense of competition and urgency to the scenario, bringing it closer to the reality of a fast-paced, target-driven sales floor

Giftable | Click here to go to the demo

Five examples of scenarios in elearning, each used in a different way. If you need to make your content more engaging, more impactful, more relevant and relatable, elearning scenarios could be the way to go.

Feeling inspired? Ask us for a free trial of Elucidat and see what you can do.

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Stephanie Karaolis

Stephanie is a freelance learning designer and copywriter, drawing on a decade of experience in the industry, including roles at Saffron Interactive and in BP’s Online & Informal Learning team. She shares her learning ideas regularly on her personal blog.
Stephanie Karaolis

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