Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Importance of Using Real World Scenarios in E-Learning and In Corporate Training

Before I take you into the second half of the E-Learning Assessment event, I think it is important to recognize the value and importance of using real life scenarios and simulations as part of the instructional design of E-Learning courses. In truth, the use of such designed learning experiences are even of greater value to training departments within the business community as they are to personalized education as this post will indicate.


Ruth Colvin Clark, an author and training expert, in a research report titled:"Scenario based e-learning: Evidence-based Guidelines for Online Workforce Learning"(2012) summed up her research as supporting the following statements:

  1. Scenario based e-learning accelerates expertise. Those who have suggested that within the business environment there should be a separate track called a "Guru " track with its own process for advancement within the organization may just have an important key to fostering the development of a culture of innovation from the ground up.
  2. Learners are more motivated by scenario based e-learning than traditional instruction. What this suggests has ramifications for both training in business and professional development within education. The era of a trainer being the sage on the stage and reading PowerPoint presentation bullets to a captive audience is changing. A blended interactive scenario based form of learning will lead to greater engagement and deeper sustained learning and is on the rise and will impact organizations in ways that they have never dreamed of. Intrinsic motivation within the learner is key here and not negative extrinsic motivators that learners in the end try to subvert or completely disconnect from.
  3. "Guided discovery" learning methods, such as scenario based e-learning has been proven to be more effective. These methods are more effective because they provide guidance, structure and focused goals.
With regards to higher education research, an experiment was done by a group of professors at California State Polytechnic University to determine the level of effectiveness of scenario based learning. They evaluated scenario based learning approaches on: usability, engagement, learning outcomes and overall effectiveness.


In a paper published for the Journal of the American Society of Engineering Education, titled: "Use of Scenario Based Learning Approach in Teaching Statics" (2004) by Jawaharlal Mariappam, Angela Shih and Peter G. Schrader, they concluded that their efforts had clearly demonstrated increased learner interest in the subject and improved knowledge retention.

The key to the design of real world scenarios is that they must truly be real issues, relevant and recognizable to the learner and must not only provide the opportunity for immediate feedback but also an outlet for the creative solutions to be published in an online environment where they can be discussed, modified and to move into even greater and deeper understandings. Design thinking in  course development will help in accomplishing this.

Next... Real World Scenario---" They Can Run But They Can't Hide!"

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