Do you think you could perform an operation just by reading a manual? Sure, it may be helpful, but you wouldn’t expect to be able to open a patient up and save a life without ever having tried before. That is, not until you’ve worked with practice materials, sat in, and put in the work firsthand.
The same concept can be applied to learning. You want to get your new hires “ready to operate” right away, but all the lecturing and manual reading in the world won’t kick start them to brain surgery without the proper practice. If you really want to give them that on-the-job advantage, let them try those new skills in realistic scenario-based learning.
From a traditional eLearning approach, it’s pretty easy to engage learners using quizzes throughout your course. Simple true and false, fill in the blank, or multiple choice questions are easy to write, and quick to generate and they do provide a level of engagement. However, for skills based learning, this approach can tend to reinforce the knowledge behind the skill, rather than the skill itself. What’s more, learners are sometimes given very little of the context that would help them with real-world application. When you’re performing an operation, how often do you need to respond to a multiple choice question? You can see that this approach isn’t necessarily going to be very effective training, in this situation.
In her blog, Cathy Moore explains that using scenarios will help significantly in, “make[ing] your elearning more engaging and could lead to better transfer on the job…it also emulates the way we learn in the real world – from experience, not from a disembodied voice that immediately tells us ‘incorrect’.”
The great thing about scenario-based learning is that it gives your learners a chance to test their skills before putting them in a high stakes environment, like in front of your customers. It is highly interactive, relevant to the learner, and measures the performance that is a better predictor of success. But you don’t need to design elaborate simulations. By making small changes in the way that you frame your quiz questions, you can turn your textbook concept checks into realistic challenges that your learners may encounter in the future.
But beyond simple questions, there are ways to reinforce high level skills, creating immersive learning simulations.
By using an immersive learning simulation, they’ll be able to practice applying their skills, and understanding consequences, without the kinds of risks that hinder learning growth and enthusiasm. It works as a kind of rehearsal for when learners are confronted with these scenarios on the job.
For an instructional designer, it takes extra work to write up believable scenarios and characters for this kind of learning, but the extra effort is certainly worth it. As a result, you can create scenarios that are realistic and better measure the skills a learner needs to master, in context to the job.
Considering a learning scenario for your next training program? Contact us today to learn more about Digitec’s experience in creating interactive eLearning scenarios.
If you’d like to learn about game based learning from Digitec Interactive, visit our eLearning page.