What is Scenario-Based Learning? [And What are the Benefits?]

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As an instructor, it’s crucial to ensure that your learners are retaining and using the information they’re learning to the best of their ability. Making training stick for learners is important for each individual to apply their new skills to their every day duties in the workplace. 


One way to improve learning transfer and help learners obtain information and skills is through something called scenario-based learning. 

What is Scenario-Based Learning?

Scenario-based learning is a teaching method that uses real-life examples of situations that learners may find themselves dealing with in their day-to-day jobs. This method is based on the situated learning theory, which revolves around the idea that learning is most effective when it takes place in the context in which it’s going to be applied (Lave & Wenger, 1991). 


An additional theory that supports the effectiveness of scenario-based learning is the theory of situated cognition, which also conceptualizes that skills and knowledge are best obtained and understood when situated within context (Kindley, 2002).


The active learning approach of scenario-based learning is often used in online training and provides a relevant learning experience to learners. It’s a fantastic approach that allows learners to better understand the “why” behind course materials. 

Benefits of Scenario-Based Learning

There are many benefits to using scenario-based learning as part of your online instruction. These include:

Acquired Skills

This type of learning not only provides relatable situations to your learners, but also presents a problem-solving environment that fosters improvement in the area of decision making. Additionally, a successful scenario-based learning environment can also aid in mandatory compliance training, communication skills training, critical thinking skills training, and high-risk tasks training. 

Engaging Material

Unlike having learners read long packets of text to learn new information, scenario-based learning tends to be more engaging. That’s because it allows learners to immerse themselves in real life work situations that they may encounter in the workplace. This method makes learning a lot more fun for some, and also allows instructors to provide immediate feedback - creating a safe learning environment in which learners feel comfortable and unafraid to make mistakes. 

Improved Retention Rates

Because of the use of more engaging material than other methods, scenario-based learning often has improved retention rates among learners. This is because it’s an active method of learning, rather than passive - like reading. Putting learners in situations encourages them to use their senses and decision making skills, which makes it difficult for them to not be engaged. Presenting information in this way makes it easier for learners to recall in real life, since they’ve already practiced it in the learning environment. 

Preparation for Multiple Outcomes

When it comes to the workplace, not everything is cut and dry - that’s why it’s important for learners to be prepared for as many outcomes as possible in a situation. Scenario-based learning is perfect for this because it lets learners practice the skills they need in order to be confident in how they approach various situations on the job. 


Have questions about incorporating scenario-based learning in your online instruction? Contact Safety Mentor to learn more about our LXP!

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