Creating eLearning scenarios for the real world

Kerrie-Anne Chinn, Content & Editorial Manager

Want to make your eLearning course more engaging and effective for your audience? You need to ask yourself one important question – does your online course offer learners any real world benefits?

Because the truth is, no matter how interesting your online course materials are, learners will fail to engage with your content if it doesn’t apply to the real world. In classrooms and staff training rooms alike, people want to know that they can apply their new skills and knowledge to real life situations and work environments.


Using eLearning scenarios makes training more interactive, more engaging and (as a result) far more successful for learners. By giving individuals the skills and knowledge they need outside of the online environment, you’re empowering them to feel more confident and prepared for a successful career.

Let’s look closer at why real world benefits are so important for eLearning, and how you can start incorporating more scenarios into your online courses.

Using scenario-based training in eLearning

eLearning courses are a popular way for people to acquire new knowledge or improve their skills in a particular area – for both education and work-related purposes. Therefore, it makes sense to create materials that allow students to practice and develop their skills in an environment similar to the one in which they will actually be used.

When designing your eLearning course, include scenarios that place learners in the real world, rather than relying on traditional methods of teaching and purely text-based learning. In this way, participants in your course will be challenged to take their newfound knowledge and apply it to relevant real world scenarios.

In doing this, students and employees will feel more confident about using their new skills or abilities, while trainers can also gain more insight into how individuals will perform outside of the classroom environment.

Recreating real world situations and environments

One of the best ways you can help students know how to put their knowledge to good use is by recreating situations that are likely to occur in the real world.

You can create a sense of real world pressure by having students complete eLearning scenarios within a specified timeframe and environment, as these are the kinds of challenges they will be faced with on the job or while under exam conditions. Effective decision making is a very valuable (and valued) skill in the modern workforce, so encouraging learners to make choices under pressure will help them to perform well outside the classroom.

Explaining processes and steps through scenarios

eLearning scenarios are also great for explaining complex processes to learners, particularly those processed that involve a series of steps being carried out on-screen. Rather than having to explain each concept or step of the process, you can have students take part in an interactive scenario.

In this way, participants in your course can click through certain online tasks or processes, learning as they go. This can also help learners retain knowledge, as they are performing the actions for themselves, instead of simply reading about them.

You could also challenge students or staff to create their own eLearning scenarios. Working as a group, team members are asked to come up with a scenario that shows their understanding of a particular process or concept. An example of this might be an online quiz that requires course participants to click through a series of steps, or use certain objects in a specific order, to demonstrate knowledge of safety procedures in the workplace.

Using case studies in eLearning scenarios

Case studies of real or fictional characters can also be used to create eLearning scenarios. Why not develop a simulated work environment online, featuring a number of different interactive characters?

Students can click on the different characters on-screen, to discover more about them and their various roles within the organization or company. Characters could exemplify different management or leadership styles, helping staff gain a greater understanding of successful management techniques, for example. Or in contrast, the negative effects of poor leadership skills or negative work culture.

When creating your eLearning course, you may also like to read through our handy course design checklist. You'll find plenty more useful information on how to design an online course, including important things you need to know about eLearning accessibility, course navigation, and incorporating multimedia and design elements.


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