Have you ever taken boring training?
That’s a stupid question, of course you have!
You know what I’m talking about. The boring compliance course that drones on for an hour and the most interactivity is when you click next. That doesn’t make you think, is hard to relate to, and it’s just too damn long.
Then there are those courses that have you click through an application to perform a task but provide 0 context and just tell you to click here, then there, then here. Or better yet a video that goes so fast that you can’t keep up and the process is simply too complex for a video.
Training doesn’t have to be that way, though.
Corporate technical training can be so much better and the quality can vary so much. I see people say technical training is easy to create. Yes, likely if you’re doing it badly everything is easy.
But with a bit of practice and taking the time to get it right corporate technical training can prepare employees for real-world challenges. With some lively writing for eLearning and weaving some scenarios into training, scenario-based learning can work wonders.
Otherwise boring corporate technical training can become immersive and interactive experiences that simulate real-life situations. Scenario-based learning provides a dynamic and effective way to enhance corporate technical training.
This post explores the key benefits and strategies of scenario-based learning and how it can revolutionize the way organizations approach technical employee development.
Instead of sitting through hours of lectures or completing monotonous eLearning modules, employees can partake in realistic scenarios where they can apply their knowledge and skills in a hands-on manner.
This approach not only engages employees on a deeper level but also allows them to experience the consequences of their decisions in a safe environment. We like creating a safe environment to learn with software simulations.
But engagement isn’t good enough, it also has to be relevant. That’s another reason scenario-based learning is so great, it’s a great way to provide relevant training that’s easily applied to the work.
Scenario-based learning actively encourages critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. These are all crucial qualities for success in the corporate workplace.
By incorporating scenario-based learning into corporate technical training, organizations can bridge the gap between theory and practice. Employees can practice applying their newly acquired knowledge to complex real-world scenarios while building confidence and competence in their abilities.
You’ll learn some of the ways scenario-based learning can enhance corporate technical training. And who wouldn’t want that over ineffective training? That’s just wasting your employee’s time and your money.
Take a look deeper into scenario-based learning as a great way to improve corporate technical training and make it more effective. Or possibly not more but just simply effective.
But first, a bit more on what scenario-based learning even is. I wouldn’t want to jump ahead without the same foundational knowledge.
What Is Scenario-Based Learning?
Scenario-based learning is an instructional approach that immerses employees in realistic situations or scenarios. This allows them to apply their knowledge and skills in a practical and hands-on manner while learning better too.
Employees are not simply provided with technical instructions that tell them how to do something. They’re provided with how it fits into their job and a realistic scenario to work through.
Instead of simply telling an employee how to start a quick meeting in Microsoft Teams, scenario-based learning might weave it into a story and have various branches based on potential mistakes. Any type of training can be scenario-based but you’ll often see scenario based eLearning or even scenario-based learning videos.
These scenarios are designed to closely resemble real-life situations that employees may encounter in their roles. By placing them in these simulated environments, scenario-based learning provides a safe space for them to practice and refine their skills without the fear of making mistakes or facing real-world consequences.
The main goal of scenario-based learning is to bridge the gap between theory and practice. It allows people to go beyond simply understanding concepts and theories by actively applying them in relevant contexts.
That’s one benefit of contextual help also, it’s providing help in the context of an application and in a realistic scenario that they need to perform at the moment. If you’d like to learn more about how that’s done, check out what contextual help is and how it can be used.
The approach of story-based learning not only enhances knowledge retention but also helps develop practical skills that can be immediately transferred to the workplace. That means employees bring something back to the job rather than a negative attitude from bad training.
Benefits of Scenario-Based Learning in Corporate Technical Training
Scenario-based learning offers numerous benefits when incorporated into corporate technical training programs. These could include the following and more.
If employees can see themselves and their work in their training then it’s going to be significantly more effective. Check out the benefits it creates for technical training.
- Enhanced Engagement: Traditional training methods often fail to engage employees on a deep level. Scenario-based learning, on the other hand, captivates employees with realistic challenges that are extremely relevant.
- Active Learning: Rather than passively receiving (then forgetting) information, scenario-based learning encourages active participation. You have to use your brain to work through scenarios and think about what you’re going to do next. You’re either doing something or in a scenario that’s relevant and able to act on it immediately.
- Practical Application: Scenario-based learning bridges the gap between theory and practice. Being able to directly apply what’s learned is practical and enhances competence and confidence in employees.
How about that? Those sound a lot better than sitting and listening. Very little if any) learning happens with passive training. If employees are engaged and involved in something realistic then they’re not involved at all.
Now it’s time to look at how to enhance engagement and active learning with scenario-based learning.
Enhancing Engagement and Active Learning with Scenario-Based Learning
Next to relevance, engagement is the next most important thing to learning. Of course, relevance creates engagement because if training is relevant to employees then no matter how bad it is it will likely engage.
But that’s beside the point.
Engagement is still a crucial factor in effective corporate technical training. When employees are engaged, they’re more likely to retain information, apply their skills effectively, and actively participate in the learning process.
Scenario-based learning is the ideal method for enhancing engagement through its immersive and relevant nature. That’s right, with good and relevant scenarios then learning is bound to happen.
These are some ways that engagement can be maximized with scenario-based learning. Some of them are ways to maximize learning for all types of learning, not just scenario-based.
- Set Clear Objectives: Clearly define the desired outcomes of the training program with performance objectives rather than learning objectives. This helps employees understand the purpose of the training and helps the training be more focused on creating positive and impactful outcomes.
- Create Realistic Scenarios: The scenarios should closely resemble real-life situations that employees may encounter in their day-to-day work. The more realistic the scenarios are, the more engaged employees will be in finding solutions. Working with a subject matter expert (SME) who has done the work is a great way to accomplish this.
- Incorporate Interactive Elements: Interactivity isn’t just clicking next, it’s actually doing something relevant to what’s being learned. That could be clicking through software and making a relevant decision or simply deciding the next action.
- Provide Timely Feedback: Feedback is essential for people to understand if they were right or wrong. This could provide a valuable learning moment if a mistake is commonly made.
With a planned strategy for creating good scenario-based training, it will be engaging and employees will actively learn. A thorough process done well, such as ADDIE, is a great way to have a plan that is strategic and effective. But more important it must be relevant which means employees should see themselves and their work in it.
That’s why scenario-based learning is so powerful, it bridges the gap between theory and practice. You can’t have one without the other so let’s take a deeper look into that.
Bridge the Gap between Theory and Practice
Scenario-based learning is a great way to bridge the gap between the theory of what employees need to do and what they must do. Courses often don’t bridge that gap and merely tell you information. A good course shows employees how to apply what they’re learning in realistic scenarios.
Adult learning isn’t about learning, it’s about doing. That’s why every aspect of a course should be geared towards how to do their job better.
In technical training that means employees aren’t just being shown how to click through an application. It means they’re learning the process and how it all fits with their jobs.
These are some ways to bridge the gap to make training more effective.
Align Scenarios with Real-World Challenges
Working with a subject matter expert (SME) on the topic is a great way to design scenarios that closely resemble the challenges employees face in their roles. They should have stories of mistakes and things they know commonly go wrong from new or even long-time employees.
When training scenarios are realistic and make sense to employees, it ensures that the skills developed through scenario-based learning are directly applicable to their day-to-day work. Rather than a boring course on how to place an order in a company ordering system, have them help a person perform a real task that they’ll likely need to accomplish themselves.
When we built an instructor-led course replacement to cut down on training time and save the company money we built in real scenarios. It put employees through a realistic process that they would likely do within the very next week.
Integrate Relevant Content
There’s a thin line between relevant and boring, but if you can achieve relevance without boring, include relevant content, such as case studies or industry-specific examples. This helps people connect theoretical concepts with real-world applications, reinforcing their understanding and improving knowledge retention.
Every aspect of the training should be relevant to what employees must do regularly after the course is complete. That’s one reason we start with nothing and then build training rather than starting with provided information.
It’s a great way to achieve a course packed full of only relevant information that will be used regularly. Anything that’s not used daily or weekly should fall to performance support.
After completing a scenario, provide opportunities for employees to reflect on their experiences. Ask them to analyze their decisions, identify areas for improvement, and consider how they would approach similar situations in the future.
While they’re likely not going to write a paragraph in your course with their reflection, you can ask them one powerful question that encourages reflection. Reflection promotes deeper learning and encourages self-directed growth.
It’s a matter of giving them something to reflect on. It might be asking them how they’d behave in a situation or simply giving a bad example and asking them how it could be done better.
Every situation is going to be different so get creative but remember, always make it relevant to their job.
Build Confidence and Competence
A key advantage of scenario-based learning is its ability to build confidence and competence in employees. When they do the task and work through relevant and realistic scenarios then they’re getting real practice. Real practice builds confidence and competence.
There’s nothing better than allowing employees to practice real-world skills in a safe environment. That’s why software simulations that give employees a safe learning environment are ideal. They allow employees to build those skills before any mistakes can have a real impact.
These are some ways to maximize confidence and competence-building.
- Start with Simpler Scenarios: Begin with simple scenarios that allow employees to gradually build their skills and confidence. Just like it’s best to have short content by slowly building skill levels (novice, intermediate, advanced, etc.), each scenario should build incrementally to ensure a positive learning experience.
- Provide Guidance and Support: Offer guidance and support throughout the scenario-based learning process. This can include providing resources, offering coaching or mentoring, or facilitating discussions among participants. We think a community for learning a skill is perfect for an enterprise social network (ESN) to support technical training that might be complex for some employees. Supportive environments help employees feel more comfortable in their journey to the level of mastery important for their job.
- Celebrate Successes: Recognize and celebrate employees’ achievements as they progress. Don’t go overboard with badges and certificates that are meaningless but certain recognition is important when done well. This boosts motivation, reinforces learning, and further enhances confidence in abilities.
Scenario-based learning isn’t just great for building relevant training, it’s also the perfect solution to build confidence and competence. When it’s attached to what employees experience on the job then it’s that much more powerful.
Designing Realistic Scenarios for Effective Learning
The design of good scenarios plays a crucial role in the effectiveness of scenario-based learning. Well-designed scenarios should be realistic, relevant, and aligned with the desired outcomes.
These are some tips that will help you design good scenarios that are effective and helpful to employees.
- Identify Objectives: All training design should start with determining the specific skills employees need to be able to do after completion. Otherwise, what’s the point? This should always be the starting point of all training no matter the type and why we encourage ditching learning objectives for performance objectives.
- Gather Authentic Content: Work with your SME closely and get real situations and stories from them that you can turn into scenarios. Before meeting with them in a recorded meeting, send them some questions to reflect on to trigger some stories. The more effectively you can work with your SME, the better the content.
- Include Decision Points: When you’re working on a scenario, be sure it has decision points where employees must make choices or take actions based on their understanding of the situation. These decision points simulate real-world decision-making processes and allow employees to experience the consequences of their choices.
These are a few tips that will contribute to good scenario design. You won’t perfect it in the beginning but with practice, it’ll come together and you’ll find yourself with some pretty fantastic and engaging scenarios.
And more importantly, they’ll help employees do their jobs better and be better prepared for them.
Create Effective Feedback In Scenario-Based Learning
Feedback is a critical component of scenario-based learning as it helps employees understand how well they’re performing and guides them. How else are they supposed to know when they’ve made a poor decision and what they should do next time?
These are two ways you can create effective feedback mechanisms to make sure employees have what they need to learn their jobs.
- Provide Immediate Feedback: Offer feedback immediately after learners make decisions or complete a scenario. This allows them to understand their actions’ consequences and make real-time adjustments.
- Be Specific and Constructive: Provide specific feedback that highlights both strengths and areas for improvement. Depending on the (wrong or right) choices employees make, focus on actionable suggestions to enhance performance.
There are likely many other ways to provide effective feedback in scenario-based learning. Just keep in mind that part of the scenario should be based on feedback and not simply stories. There must be some sort of connection between the job and the training.
Measuring the Effectiveness of Scenario-Based Learning in Corporate Technical Training
Just like all other training, scenario-based learning must have some way to measure its effectiveness. It’s not very common to need training without providing data on how effective it is. And no, that doesn’t mean how many people took it, how long it took, or even if they completed it. All of that proves nothing.
Some data is necessary and it must go beyond the number trained. Some of the data must come from the business, though. If they can’t provide their part of the data then it’s difficult to measure.
These are some ways that will help you measure effectiveness and show the value of scenario-based learning.
- Define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): You can’t measure it if you don’t define it. Determine the specific metrics or KPIs that align with the desired performance outcomes. It may be necessary to gather sales data or performance data to measure before and after. That’s where the business and analytics come in from employees. There are typically departments you can work with to help you gather the correct data.
- Collect Data: Some data can come from the course including assessments, surveys, or observations. While this can only tell you a little bit, it’s still valuable. With a properly formulated survey that can even be highly valuable. Even testimonials can be valuable to show leadership the value of training.
- Analyze Results: Analyze the collected data to identify trends, patterns, or areas for improvement. You may also work with departments that specialize in analytics and data to help you with this. Employee feedback is also a good way to refine future scenario-based learning initiatives and optimize their impact on employee development.
Working with the right people to measure the effectiveness of training is essential. You may have to venture into getting help from other departments.
Incorporating scenario-based learning into corporate technical training programs can revolutionize employee development in company technology. No more is it just click here then here and now over here, that’s boring.
Scenario-based training bridges the gap between theory and practice which helps employees apply what they’re learning to their job. It will build confidence, competence, and foster the practical application of knowledge and skills.
By designing realistic scenarios, creating effective feedback mechanisms, and measuring effectiveness through data analysis and more, organizations can unlock the full potential of a company’s digital transformation and improve employees’ capabilities too.
If you’re ready to take your corporate technical training program to new heights and empower your employees with practical skills for success in their roles, embrace the power of scenario-based learning.
Schedule a free consultation so we can get to know your goals and how we can help your employees achieve success in your company’s technology with scenario-based learning. Our skilled instructional design consultants are ready to help ease your employees into using your company’s technology.