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eLearning Scenarios

Scenarios are the proving ground of eLearning. It’s where the rubber meets the road and learners put their new skills and knowledge to use. Elearning Scenarios are also a super effective motivating tool to get learners to continue the course instead of giving them a reason to quit and walk away. We’ve compiled just a few of the many reasons scenario interactions are awesome opportunities to guide a learner on the path from ignorance to enlightenment.


Do you remember trying to trick your dog into taking his medication by mixing the pill in with his food? In a similar vein, everybody loves a good game, so why not disguise learning as something fun or novel? A branching scenario can work wonders to break up the monotony of the sequential format most courses follow.

Concrete objectives

It’s much more difficult to motivate yourself when you don’t have a clear goal to shoot for. Without goals, progress is difficult to define and quite arbitrary. That’s why a good scenario shouldn’t just be a “Choose-your-own-adventure” with different endings. A good scenario has multiple outcomes, but most of them are undesirable. A scenario sets up a goal (implicitly or explicitly) for learners, and only lets them pass when that goal has been reached or a failed outcome is contrasted with what should have been done. Good eLearning should not be a mere test of willpower, seeing who has the patience to click a mouse fifty times. Ideally, it should be a dynamic and stimulating experience that rewards the learner’s attention and comprehension.


Time to pull out the big guns. Get creative in the challenges you issue in a scenario. Don’t insult a learner’s intelligence by presenting an obvious question like it’s a quandary for the ages. For example, let’s say you meet an old lady. Do you A) Help her across the street? or B) Throw sand in her face?

Pose an interesting question that will make them think and draw on what they learned in the course. This keeps learners intrigued about what comes next and prevents their brain moving on to what’s for lunch instead of the topic at hand.

Opportunities to fail

As Johnny Cash said, “You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone.” An eLearning scenario allows learners to learn from their mistakes before the price of failure is too costly. If a hypothetical character is hurt, the learner now knows what not to do in the future. Whereas if a real human being is hurt in the real world, the company and employee are in for a lot more grief.

Shared experiences

When co-workers or classmates use the same training materials, there is a shared reference point that everyone can draw on to give context to later tasks. Shared experiences like these act as great bonding moments for a team. The shared knowledge gained from the course allows the team to have more effective communication on such issues because they all have the same context for it.

Anything we missed? Why do you use eLearning scenarios in your courses? Tell us in the comments below.

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