Why You Should Combine Scenarios with Microlearning
Microlearning and scenarios are two highly effective strategies for delivering e-learning content and achieving your training and development objectives. Microlearning involves presenting content to learners in short bursts, with each burst focusing on a single piece of information. Scenarios are where you present learners with life-like situations to facilitate the learning process. In other words, scenarios are the digital form of classroom-based role-playing activities.
For some training topics, you can improve outcomes and the learning experience by combining scenarios with microlearning. This is largely because of the way our brains work.
Enabling Cognitive, Behavioural, and Emotional Learning
Microlearning focuses each module in an e-learning course on a specific idea or piece of information. This enables the learner to achieve a single objective within the brain’s attention span and memory capacity. As a result, microlearning is ideal for cognitive skills learning.
Cognitive skills learning is one of the ways that our brains learn. Tapping into this part of the brain is sufficient for many hard skills, but what about people skills and emotional skills?
Microlearning often isn’t enough on its own when delivering training on topics focused on people and emotional skills. You instead need something that taps into that part of a learner’s brain, i.e., the parts of the brain that are about behavioural learning and emotional learning.
One option is to abandon microlearning as a strategy, reverting to a more traditional, long-form approach instead. With a long-form approach, you will have more scope and flexibility to create meaningful scenarios.
However, going down this route means losing the benefits of microlearning. The alternative is to combine scenarios with microlearning.
By including scenarios in your microlearning course, you can add nuance to the training and help learners see more clearly how the content applies to their day-to-day reality. This leads to behavioural change and can improve situational awareness, people skills, and a range of different soft skills that are becoming more and more important in the modern workplace.
Other Benefits of Combining Scenarios and Microlearning
The ability to create e-learning courses that tap into the brain’s cognitive, behavioural, and emotional learning abilities is a compelling reason to combine scenarios with e-learning. That said, there are other benefits when utilising both strategies in your e-learning courses.
Makes the Content More Authentic and Adds Context
Scenarios bring content to life and makes it more real to learners. It also helps learners understand how the skills and knowledge they are being taught can be applied on the job.
Designing scenarios that are suitable for microlearning courses requires specialist expertise, but the ability to add authenticity and context significantly improves the quality of the e-learning course.
Improves the Learner Experience
The learner experience is also improved by combining scenarios with microlearning, as learners get the benefit of both e-learning strategies. Engagement levels increase with microlearning, for example, because it is easier for us to process information when it is presented to us in short bursts. Plus, when information is easier to process, knowledge retention rates improve.
Making the content more authentic and relatable also improves the learner experience, as does using scenarios to deepen the learner’s understanding of the topic.
Makes Training More Flexible
One of the key benefits of microlearning is that it makes it easier for learners to make time for training. After all, it can be difficult to block off large chunks of time in a schedule for training. With microlearning, your team doesn’t need to. All they need is a few minutes to complete the next stage of the course and they can then get on with other tasks and responsibilities.
Scenarios make it possible to use a microlearning approach on topics that require behavioural and/or emotional learning. This means training on these topics can also offer the same levels of flexibility to learners, further enhancing the learner experience.
Creates a Safe Learning Environment
Many topics that require behavioural and/or emotional learning benefit from the creation of safe learning environments, where learners can make mistakes and learn from them. By combining scenarios with microlearning, you can create these safe spaces even on the most sensitive of topics.
Tips for Adding Scenarios to Microlearning Training Courses
- Focus on a single learning outcome – this means avoiding trying to achieve too much with the scenario as you risk breaking out of the microlearning structure and/or making the content too complicated for the learner.
- Identifying a real-life situation – identify a situation that a majority of learners will recognise and can relate to.
- Decide on the choice – in e-learning scenarios, learners have to make a choice when presented with the situation, i.e., what would they do if they face this scenario in real-life? Make sure the choices are realistic.
- Include important details, but don’t go overboard – in traditional, longer-form e-learning content, it is possible to add a lot of contextual detail in scenarios. You don’t have this luxury with a microlearning course, but you should still make sure all the important details are included.
- Explain the consequences – don’t simply tell the learner they are right or wrong after they make their choice/s. Instead, explain why the answer is right or wrong and the consequences of the learner’s decision.
Using Scenarios and Microlearning Together
You don’t always need to include scenarios in your microlearning courses. Similarly, you don’t always need to use a microlearning approach for topics where scenarios are essential elements of the training course.
That said, in the right situation, combining scenarios with microlearning can help people learn, improve the learner experience, and ensure you achieve your training goals.