If there is an example of immersive learning, the learning that most actively involves the students is scenario-based learning. A character, a realistic story about their work, visual elements such as images, photos, videos or virtual reality and feedback are the key ingredients for a scenario-based e-learning course. Where do you start from to create such a course and, above all, how do you write the different scenarios? Let's start with the basics.
Working with an expert in the field, EMS
The implementation of an online scenario-based course is particularly useful if employees are to be trained to make strategic decisions. Communication skills, problem-solving and compliance with rules and procedures can be enhanced in all areas. It is therefore clear that an online scenario-based course is open to different sectors, from sales to healthcare and technical training. In order to be able to write a realistic scenario, you need to be familiar with the subject or ask experts for help. The EMS, or subject matter expert, becomes the point of reference for predicting and writing the various ramifications using the terminology of the relevant sector.
Creating realistic characters
With the help of the expert in the field and starting from the needs analysis, we create characters as realistic as possible that reflect precisely the composition of the beneficiaries of the course. The choice of the character for an online course must be made in the smallest detail: name, language, gender, age are a direct emanation of the beneficiaries. The risk, in choosing the wrong character, is to lose involvement and identification.
Write enough scenarios and feedback
In a branched scenario the chosen character goes through different vicissitudes, or rather real situations that he has to solve and overcome by choosing between different options. At each choice, he gets a feedback that explains why his choice is right or wrong. From the point of view of the course creators, it is necessary to write enough content to provide the options to choose from and the feedback in response to the choice made. This means using storytelling elements to tell not one, but several stories, depending on the choices made. The number of scenarios you can have is not infinite; therefore it is better to create a structure with at least three options at a time. Since one alternative is wrong, you have to develop at least two parallel stories. The secret is to complete one story from beginning to end and then move on to the other.
Using a communicative language
It might seem obvious to say that you have to communicate in the right way, but in this kind of immersive learning the key is the involvement of the trainees. This is not a simple multiple choice answer where you have to select almost mechanically from the different options. The question, the answer and the feedback are always part of the story. This is why collaboration is needed between an expert in the field, able to pass on the right skills, and a writer able to tell real life in the workplace.
After having identified, together with the expert in the subject, the needs of the beneficiaries and having traced their profile in order to create the characters, who writes a branched scenario produces many different stories, depending on the ramifications, and as much feedback, trying to involve the users as much as possible with a realistic story.
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