Real-world application is the #1 goal of online training. You can’t boost company profits and customer satisfaction scores if employees don’t know how to use all their skills and industry know-how. But how do you put all those theories, policies, and protocols into practice for your remote workforce? Scenario-based training is framed by real-world problems, tasks, and situations. Employees can identify negative performance behaviors and build their self-confidence in a supportive online L&D setting. But which elements should you include? How do you find the right outsourcing partner? Which software is best for your bottom line? This article has answers to all your pressing scenario-based learning questions and more.
What’s Inside This Guide…
1. Quintessential Traits Of Successful Scenario-Based Learning Experiences
What should you include in your scenario training activities? Ultimately, SBL is all about building experience and facilitating mistake-driven learning opportunities. Thus, every resource needs to be relatable, relevant, and real-world-centered. Here are 9 quintessential traits of successful scenario-based learning experiences that your L&D staffers must consider.
1. Framed By Clear Objectives
As is the case for all successful training activities, the foundation is clear objectives and goals that tie into performance behaviors. Develop concise objective statements for the skills, competencies, and gaps you must address in scenario-based learning experiences, which you can use to design meaningful storylines and characters that personalize the process and build contextual knowledge. For example, this branching scenario reinforces COI compliance know-how and practical application. Employees must be able to determine if the client’s offer is a bribe or merely a negotiation tactic.
2. Filled With Practical Challenges
The crux of learner engagement in scenario training is relatability. Every challenge must be rooted in facts, such as situations and problems that employees face on a daily basis. This is not the time for far-flung plots just for the sake of entertainment. Frame each scenario-based learning experience with a realistic obstacle that calls for workplace skills, resources, and firsthand expertise. That aid, the challenges shouldn’t be overwhelming for your busy staffers. Keep activities bite-sized and include pop-out pointers for those who need some extra guidance.
3. Includes Decision-Making Paths
Scenario-based learning activities typically feature branching paths with corresponding decision points. Every choice brings trainees down a different path, in hopes of achieving the most favorable outcome. However, there are other destinations on that branching scenario spectrum. For instance, the employee may possess all the necessary competencies, but they lack experiential knowledge. The outcome reflects this missing piece of the puzzle so that employees can fill gaps autonomously without overlooking their strong suits.
4. Contains Outcomes That Mimic Real-World Repercussions
The outcomes aren’t merely there to highlight personal pain points. They must also emphasize real-world repercussions, both good and bad. For example, mishandling a customer service issue leads to unhappy consumers and loss of business. While applying all the right skills and product knowledge increases repeat business. There is a caveat, however. Outcomes must reinforce positive performance behaviors and create an emotional connection without causing undue stress. Employees shouldn’t walk away from the training activity feeling defeated.
5. Highlights True-To-Life Characters And Tasks
Successful scenario training is based in realism. Incorporate true-to-life characters, storylines, and tasks to enhance immersion and learner engagement. Employees need to feel like they’re part of the action. That their choices carry weight and a direct impact on the end result. They should also be able to recognize personas they see in the workplace. Free of exaggerated traits that distract them from the training objectives. Dialogue and decision points should also be realistic to draw them into the scenario-based learning experience.
6. Incorporates Self-Reflection Prompts
I’m not suggesting that you pause in the middle of a branching scenario screen to make employees second-guess their choices. Self-reflection prompts are more discreet. They should encourage staffers to evaluate habits, cognitions, and task performance to identify personal gaps. To analyze their current strategy and problem-solving tactics in a supportive setting, instead of making them doubt every decision they make. Another approach is to ask questions that trigger self-evaluation.
7. Offers Immediate Feedback
One of the key differentiating factors between games and training scenarios is built-in feedback. Branching scenarios actually incorporate two forms of feedback. The first is subtler. Employees achieve unfavorable outcomes, which prompts them to rethink their decisions and performance behaviors. The second is direct feedback. This comes in the form of follow-up recommendations and checklists. For example, these are the areas where they excelled and these are the skills they must develop to improve proficiency.
8. Provides Mistake-Driven Learning Opportunities
First and foremost, scenario-based learning is all about making mistakes and learning from them; venturing down the wrong path and seeing where it leads. Encourage employees to take risks to explore different outcomes so that they don’t have to take those risks in the workplace. This is where feedback becomes crucial. Trainees must know where they went wrong and how to approach the problem differently moving forward.
9. Always Accompanied By Supplemental Support
Every scenario training exercise must end with a recap of employee performance and next steps. They’ve made their way through the decision paths to the finish line, but how can they address newly disclosed gaps? Summarize their strengths and areas for improvement, as well as supplemental support tools they can access in the LMS repository. You can also launch social media groups or peer coaching programs to provide personalized support. For example, they can check out the discussion board to ask questions, gather peer feedback, and access the pinned resource list.
2. Scenario-Based Training Budgeting Tips And Tricks To Avoid Overspending
Developing a realistic budget is relatively easy once you reevaluate your training needs and take stock of existing assets. Sticking to it is an entirely different story. Costs can pile up quickly and those pesky hidden fees cause unnecessary implementation delays. Whether you’re creating your own content or hiring a scenario-based learning company, overspending is a risk. There’s always the possibility that software learning curves and unforeseen design obstacles will add to the L&D tally. However, there are some trade secrets to help you work within the confines of your scenario training budget and maximize resource allocation.
1. Conduct A Training Needs Analysis
Spending can spiral out of control if you don’t identify the project scope. Conduct a TNA to evaluate your current and future needs. LMS metrics, employee surveys, and assessments are just a few of the ways to diagnose pain points. You can also evaluate your library to disclose underperforming resources and determine why they’re collecting virtual dust. A training needs analysis is crucial because it allows you to draft an effective RFP (request for proposal) when it’s time for vendor bids. Another perk is avoiding redundancies. You don’t request deliverables for objectives or outcomes that are already addressed in your course catalog.
2. Identify Reusable Assets
One of the most effective cost-cutters is repurposed content. Assets you can reuse for scenario training to stretch your budget and reduce the development timeline. Take stock of your library and archives to look for images, video clips, and other multimedia you can incorporate into the new design or even hand over to the outsourcing company so that they can work their magic and reuse those outdated materials. Some vendors even request free reign of your resource repository so they can pick and choose relevant resources.
3. Do Market Research To Set A Spending Cap
Do online research to determine the “going rate” for scenario-based learning content. How much do vendors typically charge for their services? What are the software costs involved? Are there online guides or social media posts that break down the expenses by deliverable or task? Of course, ever