“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
One of the biggest challenges facing the learning industry is ensuring knowledge retention among learners. In order to achieve this, a number of instructional design strategies have been developed and used such as Learning through Exploration and Discovery (LEAD) and Scenario Based Learning (SBL). In this blog, we will focus on the latter and see how scenario based learning is the most helpful when it comes to improving decision making and critical thinking skills.
As the name suggests, scenario based learning employs tools and techniques that helps recreate possible situations on the job into the learning environment. It is a way of teaching that helps learn or practice a skill by using virtual, interactive, engaging and problem-based contexts.
Learners are presented with situations they are familiar with, and asked to respond in ways that help them understand their roles better. In the process, learners gather responses from their own experiences, their knowledge of the subject at hand, and their critical thinking. The question and answer happens through engaging stories presented through visually stunning ways, and takes place in a risk free environment. Learners can take their time to answer, and also fail. There is no anxiety and stress over someone continuously watching. Such a practice enables employees to acquire the necessary skills needed to deal with similar problems at work.
Here’s a look at the advantages of scenario based learning:
1. Keeps learners motivated
Scenario based learning offers a secure and relaxed environment for the learners. It offers an anxiety free space to fail and assists in creating aptitude to fix the errors. Scenario based learning keeps learners engaged because the content directly relates to them. Scenarios also give learners a taste of reality by presenting them with real work situations. Learners enjoy the challenge of problem solving and the satisfaction that comes with accomplishing a work-related task with success. For all the correct responses, the motivation level keeps getting higher as it acts as a pat on the back for knowing what to do. If the learner chooses an unfavourable response, they would learn the rationale behind the wrong answers and at the same time understand the correct response in the situation. Such scenarios help in learning concepts better and keeps learners motivated as the challenge is exciting and very real.
2. Improved knowledge retention
Human beings are visual learners. However, just hearing and reading something without anything needed to be done might not help learners remember details. With scenario based learning, not only do learners see the theoretical concepts in action but also learn better when they get to solve a situation. Scenario based learning awaken their curiosity. They are presented with situations that they need to analyse and solve. Such deep level of mind involvement helps learners retain the information for much longer. Through SBL, learners walk through and accomplish each task on their own, which helps information to be better understood and knowledge gained in the process gets stored in their long term memory.
3. Knowledge application to real world hurdles
One of the biggest determiner of training success is how much of that knowledge is actually being used on the job. The chances of this happening is highest in case of scenario based learning as the training happens around real life issues. If the same situation arises at work, the chances of the learner applying them on the job to solve it is also higher. The knowledge gained through SBL is much more helpful than relying on knowledge gained through classroom sessions. Creating immersive, relatable scenarios enables learners to apply skills and knowledge easily and directly in their work life. This is especially true for industries which require safety precautions to be taken in a variety of cases. If learners can practice each of these in an environment offering scenario based learning, they will be much more confident to react to crisis when actually on the job.
4. Higher return on investment
A lot of investment goes into designing and conducting training programs. These huge costs need to be justified by achieving the objectives set out at the beginning of starting the training. Scenario based learning ensures that your employees skills and performance are actually improved as well as applied on the job. It makes them retain knowledge for long and makes them confident professionals. When employees see themselves growing as a result of their organization’s investment in them, they are more likely to stick around for longer. All these benefits make each dollar spent well worth it, offering organizations a higher return on investment on their training initiatives.
The benefits of scenario based learning are innumerable. With SBL techniques, your employees will be much more confident and thorough with their work. This will help them become better performers.