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Integrate Scenario-Based Learning into Teacher Preparation

Author: Ling Zhang; Samantha Goldman

What is scenario-based learning?

Scenario-based learning (SBL) is a widely used instructional design strategy that uses real-life scenarios or cases to support active, immersive, and authentic learning experiences for learners. It provides students opportunities to solve a problem in a simulated “real-life” scenario where students can apply their knowledge, critical thinking, and problem solving skills.

Using Scenario-Based Learning in Teacher Preparation

A group of researchers recently implemented an intervention that engaged pre-service teachers in SBL by having them reflect on their instructional responses to different text and video classroom scenarios followed by immediate feedback from experienced teachers.  Findings of this study showed increased engagement, self-efficacy, as well as motivational and cognitive classroom readiness among participating teacher candidates.

A breakdown of the study: Rating, Reflection, and Feedback

Pre-service teachers in the study participated in a 45-min online SBL activity where they were  presented with six realistic classroom scenarios. They were asked to rate the appropriateness (“Inappropriate,” “Somewhat Inappropriate,” “Somewhat Appropriate,” and “Appropriate”) of three responses to the scenarios (e.g., how a beginning teacher serves students who do speak English). After rating each scenario, they were asked to reflect on the reasons for their ratings. They then received a distance score showing how their responses compared to experienced teachers’ responses who had also rated the scenario. This served as a way to provide timely feedback generated by experienced teachers. These simple strategies require no to minimal investment in high technology or complex tools.

Other Tools and Resources for Creating Scenario-Based Learning

Online learning environments enable us to design an SBL activity using various formats. These include:

  1. Using text, images, animations, and/or interactive videos to depict real-life situations. One benefit of illustrating situations and scenarios through multimedia resources is to make information more accessible to learners with diverse learning needs.
  2. Applying virtual reality (VR) to create immersive learning scenarios. Check out the Virtual Reality Opportunities to Implement Social Skills (VOISS) for examples of using VR-based social situations and scenarios to teach social skills.
  3. Gamify learning processes and paths. Check out our previous blog post that summarizes several ways and tools to gamify learning.
  4. Integrate micro-learning components to provide bite-sized learning. Here’s a blog with a two-minute video describing micro-learning.

This blog provides multiple templates including “Right/Wrong,” “Right/Left,” and “”Decision Tree” that can be used to structure a scenario (e.g., structuring learning path options, choices, and feedback). Even with access to these tools, creating effective SBL is time-consuming. But using simple,  effective strategies as described in the study mentioned earlier can be a good start. Learning management system (LMS), such as Canvas and Blackboard, have functions like Quizzes, Assignments, and Discussion Boards that allow us to create SBL activities for our teacher preparation programs.

We want to hear how you used SBL in your program in our CIDDL Community. What additional support or ideas would you benefit from to make this more accessible to your program?