How to Map Microlearning to Your Employee Training Lifecycle

Microlearning is an effective method for developing employees and providing employee training at all levels within the organization. It can also be used at all times during the training lifecycle of an employee. To maximize the benefit, your organization must think strategically about how to map the use of microlearning onto the employee training lifecycle.

A strategic mapping of microlearning onto the needs of employees at different stages of development means that you can maximize the impact of microlearning and provide the largest benefit for both the employees and for the organization if you map correctly.

First, you need to consider that at different times within an employee’s relationship with an organization, they will have different learning needs. For example, a new employee participating in on-boarding training requires a different strategy than an employee who has been with the company for over a decade and is participating in the same old compliance training which is also different from an employee who is transitioning from years as an individual contributor to a new promotion as a manager. Each stage requires careful consideration of the goals, delivery tone and methods of delivering the training message. The Learning and Development department should consider the right way to map microlearning onto the employee journey with the company.

Let’s examine several major employee training milestones and discuss the right microlearning approach to each one.


When an employee first joins a company, they can be overwhelmed with the amount of information they must consume. There is benefits information, content related to company policies, procedures that need to be followed, and, not to mention, company history, product and/or service details and even who reports to whom. This can be intimidating and often employees feel numb from information overload for several weeks before settling into a routine.

This is one area where gamified microlearning can help. For one, when a new employee joins an organization, the organization wants the employee to feel good about their choice to enjoy getting to know the organization and to make friends quickly with their co-workers. Many organizations use a map or a journey analogy to craft gamified activities such as earning points for completing benefits information, company history scavenger hunts and even short, quick games to help new employees learn about products. Microlearning is helpful here because it doesn’t overwhelm the employee with hours and hour so information that quickly become lost or confused in the “fire-hose” approach that is the technique of many on-boarding programs.

On-boarding an employee with microlearning is a good way to keep them from becoming overwhelmed.

Instead, it’s better to provide a mixture of work structured tasks inter-mixed with microlearning pieces to provide a steady but not overwhelming approach to learning about the organization. In fact, some organizations even start the on-boarding process before an employee arrives to work so they’ve already met fellow new hires through the social aspect of the gamification and they know about the company because of the targeted, focused microlearning pieces that they receive on a daily basis.  Just the right amount of information spread out over time makes on-board more effective for the employee and smoother for the organization.

Compliance Training

Once any employee has spent any time with an organization, they will begin to be required to take compliance training (after the initial rush of on-boarding compliance training). This difference at this stage of the employee’s career is that they are now overwhelmed with everyday work tasks and taking time away from work to focus on compliance training usually is not a top priority. The employees aren’t really interesting in gamified microlearning at this point, they want to take the instruction, get the information and get back to work. And, if they aren’t reminded of the compliance training, it will quickly slip to the bottom of the priority list.

Compliance microlearning should be integrated into the employee’s daily workflow.

In many organizations, compliance training consists of hours and hours of instruction and, often, it’s the same instruction as it was the previous year. The combination of work demands and the repetition of the instruction often leads to the end-of-quarter or end-of-year rush to cram in all the compliance courses the employees have been putting off. This does not result in the best learning outcomes. It also might not help an organization remain in compliance if the instruction is not making an impact.

Smart organizations have taken their compliance content and examined it from an instructional perspective and carefully parsed the content it into microlearning modules. These modules are then carefully spaced throughout a quarter or year.

The modules are then “pushed” to the employee through reminders. The employees aren’t expected to “volunteer” to go to the compliance training, rather a system send them notes and reminders that they need to engage with the microlearning content. At this stage the microlearning needs to be highly focused and a “just the facts” approach works well in terms of the design.

The goal is to have the compliance training integrated into the daily or weekly workflow of the employee. The microlearning approach to compliance means the employees are able to make the time to learn about compliance policies. This type of employee training works because it fits into the everyday rhythm and cadence of the employees and because we know that spreading out the learning process over time means content is more easily retained and recalled.

New Product Or Service Launch

In order for organizations to remain competitive and to continue to grow, they must continually add new products and/or services. While this can be fantastic for the bottom line of the organization, it can prove to be a little difficult for employees to remember all that information. This is especially true if the organization sells many different products and services.

The employee training approach for new products or services is to provide a just-in-time, pull approach to the microlearning. What this means is that the microlearning is easy to search, easy to access and the employee knows that the information is available to them when they need it. A sales representative can pull up a microlearning module on the top five features of their company’s smartphone. An insurance broker can quickly take a microlearning on the three benefits of annuities.

When mapping microlearning to a new product or service launch for employee training, the goal should be to provide the critical data and information up front, make it easy to find and build a culture where employees are comfortable using just-in-time training to address customer issues and inquires.

Promotions And Growth

After an employee has spent several years with a company and they are in mid-career, it’s important to provide them growth opportunities or they will seek those opportunities outside the organization. And even if employees are not seeking opportunities outside of an organization, you don’t want mid-career employee’s growth and knowledge to stall.

At this point, microlearning targeting topics like leadership, communication skills and, even management skills can provide content that keeps employees sharp and focused, allows them to grow but doesn’t continually take them away from their workplace duties.

Progressive organizations will establish microlearning roadmaps for content such as leadership which will provide a prescribed sequence of microlearning courses to help move a person along their personal growth journey. Of course, there are “electives” but the value is that the organization clearly signals to the employee the skills and content they believe are most valuable for success. Because the instruction is delivered via microlearning, the employee can often determine how fast or how slowly they would like to consume the content and practice applying the skills.

For this type of microlearning, it becomes important to provide performance-based tasks or instructions so that employees aren’t just watching videos but they are applying skills and reporting back on program. One particularly effective type of microlearning in this case is Practice-based where the learning application both prompts a participant to practice a particular skill and provides that participant with feedback and instruction on how to perform the skills they are practicing.

Practice-based microlearning app Presenter which helps employees work on presentation skills.

This type of microlearning can be a powerful method for training individuals who have potential but need to work on specific, targeted skills.


Microlearning, like any employee development tool, needs to be used carefully to gain the maximum benefit. One way to maximize the impact of microlearning is to carefully map the design, delivery and approach of the microlearning to the appropriate milestone in the employee training lifecycle. If you take the time to carefully think through your microlearning strategy in this regard, you will have a successful microlearning implementation.  w

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8th Generation iPad 10.2″ and Adobe Captivate Draft in 2020

I just purchased a new 2020 8th generation Apple iPad 10.2″. I decided to upgrade from my 2017 9.7″ model for several reasons. Mainly compatibility with Apple Pencil, which my 2017 model did not have.

The new 2020 iPad and the Apple pencil are compatible with Adobe Captivate Draft. Adobe Captivate Draft was a storyboarding solution made available in 2015 exclusively for the iPad. I had used Android tablets up until that point but decided to get an iPad for this reason. While away on vacation that same year, I saved myself some time and effort and began a project while relaxing on the beach. What makes Adobe Captivate Draft better than other storyboarding applications is that you can load your Draft projects in Captivate to complete your computer.

I found that while I didn’t use Draft as a storyboarding tool so much, it is an excellent content collection tool for building your eLearning project libraries. I mean that you can use the tool to write, take photos, take videos, and record audio and collect it all in a single file (CPDX format) that is compatible with being loaded into Adobe Captivate 2019.

Adobe hasn’t updated Captivate Draft since 2018, but I was happy to discover that I could still use it on my brand new 2020 iPad. A bonus was that my new Apple Pencil worked flawlessly within the App. If you’re interested in this model, check out my brief review about this iPad and Apple Pencil.

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Is there a way to follow a question without commenting on the question?

Is there a way to follow a question without commenting on the question? I can’t seem to figure that out. There are conversations I would like to follow and see if others respond to, but I don’t have any input to add to the conversation. Is this possible without commenting myself?

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5 Microlearning Formats to Use in 2020 for Maximum Impact

Microlearning has emerged as a great model to impart knowledge and concepts quickly. In this blog, I will discuss the five microlearning formats that we recommend for delivering high impact microlearning.

For microlearning to be truly microlearning, it needs to have the following features:

  • It has to be a standalone piece of content.
  • It must focus on a specific learning outcome.
  • It should include rich multimedia, game-based strategy, and so on to engage the learners.

With these, microlearning can create the right impact on the learners’ mind and thus, in turn, reflect in their performance.

In another article, “Creating An Effective Learning Experience Through Microlearning Strategy”, I mentioned that it is important to have clear goals that can be accomplished through microlearning.

Some of the goals include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Improve retention of the concept learned
  • Act as just-in-time learning to assist the learner in the field or at workplace
  • Provide a positive reinforcement of knowledge
  • Provide additional information over and above the main learning content
  • Offer tips to do a job better or complete a task successfully

Therefore, a good microlearning piece or nugget that addresses the above goals will have a good impact on the learners. In my experience, I have seen when microlearning was designed in certain formats, it helped in accomplishing these goals.

There are five formats that we recommend for a good microlearning intervention.

1. Videos

Videos are a great way to create maximum impact in microlearning. Short impactful videos with thought-provoking questions in the end, can help learners understand the concept well and apply it on their job. An impactful video with the right use of visuals can go a long way in helping learners recall the concept well and leave a lasting impression on the mind of the learner. We believe videos will continue to be the most preferred format of delivering microlearning content in 2020 also.

2. Gamification

Short games that can be finished within 10 minutes can create a great impact as a form of microlearning. Gamification makes learning interesting and absorbing. By adding interesting game elements, such as points, scores, levels, and badges, learning becomes enjoyable and memorable and provides very exciting experience for the learners.

3. Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way of imparting knowledge. If they are well made and done by a subject matter expert or an industry professional with vast experience, the learners pay more attention. In these times, learners’ time must be well spent, and also, they should not drift away. Podcasts offer flexibility for the learners. Learners can listen to podcasts anytime and anywhere. They can comfortably listen to podcasts while traveling to work or home, while having food, or even when they go for a stroll in the garden.

3. Quizzes

Short quizzes with not more than 10 questions can form a microlearning intervention in itself. Quizzes can create quick and high impact microlearning. These can be used as a great way to help learners learn new concepts, refresh their knowledge, or test their understanding of the concepts.

5.  Activity-based Nuggets

A microlearning course that is primarily driven through activities and diagnostic feedback or debrief helps learners learn concepts through the discovery mode. First, they perform the activity, then they get the feedback, and finally the content helps them reinforce the key concepts. Activity-based microlearning is a great way to create an impact in 2020 and is highly recommended.

Delivering Microlearning To Teams On The Move

The five formats that I mentioned will work especially well for sales teams or the workforce that are on the move or have little time for long drawn training programs. These formats of microlearning rather work well for the workforce that are dispersed geographically.

Thus, employees working in any industry and have little time for learning can reap benefits from impactful microlearning interventions.

Learners will certainly benefit from microlearning, as they get through the modules quickly and can repeat the learning many times as well. Retention is better and application on the job is better as well.

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Killer Examples of Gamification in eLearning (Updated in 2020)

While the usage of Gamification for serious learning has been there for nearly a decade, there is often a question mark on its impact and ROI. Gamification for learning (or, notably, serious learning) is all about using the principles and key elements of gaming to meet the required learning objectives.

As Gamification offers a learning journey to have fun as you learn, the learners welcome it. However, L&D teams who invest in it still have reservations on the value, impact, or the ROI of this spend. As we pitch for Gamification, we often come across the following questions on its value and impact:

  • Will Gamification truly help learners learn?
  • Gamification is all about having fun, but can it drive learner performance?
  • Does Gamification offer tangible gain and value to the learners and business?

However, the fact remains that the success of any learning strategy is determined by the effectiveness of its application.

Take a look at this video by EI Design as we share 6 examples that illustrate the value and the impact of Gamification for learning.

If you craft a Gamification concept that can capture and retain learners’ attention, challenge them, engage and ensure they complete the journey, plus teach them, you will have a high-impact training that will indeed deliver the desired impact. As a result, well-designed Gamification based trainings provide value to both organizations and learners at many levels.

As you have noted in the featured examples, Gamification is a great strategy to provide an immersive learning experience. It is an extremely versatile approach and its application will help you improve learning, application on the job, and the tougher mandate of behavioral change. We hope this video gives you cues to enhance the impact of your corporate training strategy by using Gamification.

Want more? Book a free consultation with us to see how we can help you use Gamification to create high-impact trainings.

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Examples Of Microlearning In Action

What is microlearning? That’s an interesting and often asked question. Is microlearning a simple text message? Is it a short video? Is it bound by time? Does microlearning need to include a quiz question? Many questions swirl and whirl around microlearning.

To help answer those questions, many different folks in the learning and development field have postulated definition. The goal is to define and corral the term. For example, in our book, “Microlearning: Short and Sweet,” Robyn Defelice and I have defined microlearning as “an instructional unit that provides a short engagement in an activity intentionally designed to elicit a specific outcome from the participant.” However, no matter how elegant or academic the definition, we find that most people only fully understand the term microlearning after they have seen some examples of microlearning. Once they see the examples, it helps put the entire concept of microlearning into perspective.

Examples Of Microlearning

In that spirit of defining microlearning, let’s explore the concept by looking at three examples of microlearning and determining how they are be used by organizations to achieve success.

First Example of Microlearning

In this example, microlearning is used to help fight the disease of diabetes. While diabetes is a serious disease, it many pre-diabetic individuals, type 2 diabetes can be prevented lifestyle modifications. These modifications can include exercises, cutting down on sugary foods and beverages and generally behaving in a healthy manner. To that point, researchers studied the effective of microlearning’s ability to alter the lifestyles of Indian men with impaired glucose tolerance which is another way to say “pre-diabetic.”

The participants were randomly assigned to either a control group or a mobile phone messaging program which was a basic form of microlearning. The test group received two text messages a day encouraging them to eat right and exercise. The control group received the standard educational intervention of attending training to learn how to have a healthy lifestyle and to live better. This was traditional, stand up instruction.

After two years, the cumulative incidence of diabetes was lower in those who received the text messages than those in the control group. The results were statistically significant. In fact, the microlearning presented to the men twice daily resulted in a relative risk reduction of 36%.

This shows that microlearning doesn’t need to be fancy to be effective, it just needs to be consistent and focused. The messages the men received where behaviorally focused. Specific message sent included information such as “take the steps instead of the elevator” or “don’t snack while watching TV.” This shows that microlearning does not have to contain fancy graphics, interactive questions or even interactivity to be effective.

However, a word of caution. If you have pre-diabetes, you are intrinsically or internally motivated to eat right and be healthy so the motivation is already present. This example of microlearning shows that if a person is motivated, the microlearning can be simple.

What if the audience is not as motivated? If that’s the case, what should microlearning look like. Here is an example of microlearning that includes a highly gamified approach.

Second Example of Microlearning

In this example, the goal is to teach about processed foods and their impact on organizations and on individuals. The game encourages you to choose and avatar and then you go on a mission to go around the world to get your products certified and, in the process, you learn about the processed food industry.

This type of microlearning is an example of gamified, primary microlearning. In the previous article in this series, we defined and discussed the concept of primary microlearning.  The goal of this primary microlearning is to provide the learner with instruction about processed foods so they better understand the importance of processed food and why inspection and certification are so critical to the safety of the food supply chain.

In the microlearning game, the learner takes part in a number of game activities such as identifying the types of animals typically used in processed meat, the countries were processed meet is preferred and other relevant activities.

The players of the game only need a few moments to engage with the content, learn about processed foods and continue. In this case, the microlearning is much more involved than receiving a couple of text messages a day. The microlearning includes an interactive story, game activities and specific, overt actions that the learner need to take to interact with the content. This microlearning example shows the other end of the development spectrum and sheds some light on why microlearning is so hard to define. Each of these microlearning examples are effective for the desired goals, each take a relatively short amount of time and each are considered a form of microlearning.

Third Example of Microlearning

In this example, we look at an example of microlearning designed to be a quick technical tip. In this case, the developer of the microlearning wanted to quickly teach people how to share one screen in PowerPoint and still have up the notes so the learners can only see the PowerPoint slide and not the notes.

This is a microlearning example of technical training. The video provides step-by-step instruction for performing a software procedure. The instruction guides the learner to the correct area of the software, indicate which element so the software should be inactivated and which should be activated and demonstrates the results of each step of the process. The video also demonstrates the final outcome which is the ability to share a slide show while keeping your notes hidden from view of the learners.

This example of microlearning shows yet another type of training and method of providing microlearning that can be used within an organization. Microlearning is a valuable tool for helping people to both learn how to use microlearning but also how to use software.

It is easy to see how many different microlearning modules can be created to help people within an organization use a specific piece of software effectively. Software training is one area where microlearning is having a large impact.


It’s easy to see from these examples of microlearning that microlearning is not one thing. It’s not an easy concept to put into a box. It can be as simple as a text message or as engaging as a interactive game.

The value of microlearning is that it provides quick, short and concentrated moments of learning. The important thing is not to measure microlearning by time or by whether or not it has a video or a multiple-choice question or even a game. No, the way to determine if something is microlearning is to look to see if it’s focused on solving a learning or performance problem. If it solves the problem quickly with minimal interruption to the workflow of the leaner, then it’s a successful piece of microlearning

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Gamification Examples to Enhance the Impact of Your Corporate Training

Gamification in corporate training is the amalgamation of principles along with key gaming elements to deliver the requisite learning objectives, thus delivering a highly engaging approach to training.

Through Gamification, L&D teams are able to expedite the learning process.

  • As learners tend to achieve learning outcomes more effectively via an engaging journey rather than a traditional training approach.
  • An efficient Gamification strategy offers higher completion rates as well an improved recall and retention.
  • It can also be used to successfully help learners enhance the application of learning on the job as well as help them upskill.

Take a look at this video by EI Design as we share 5 killer Gamification examples that illustrate the value and the impact of Gamification for corporate training.

Practically speaking, you can use Gamification to enhance the impact of your corporate training strategy and evoke the best response in the following ways:

  • Enable learners to have fun while learning.
  • Apply their learning on the job (By offering practice zones featuring real-life scenarios, learners can perform exercises and develop their skills in a safe environment).
  • Bring about a change in behavior through a longer-term implementation of Gamification techniques.

We hope this video gives you cues to enhance the impact of your corporate training strategy by using Gamification.

Want more? Book a free consultation with us to see how we can help you use Gamification to create high-impact trainings.

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24 Virtual Training Best Practices to Follow When Shifting to Remote Learning


If this is the first time you are moving to Virtual Training or you are looking at rapid acceleration of your ILT to a virtual mode, read on! In this article, I share 24 best practices as you shift from classroom training to a remote learning mode.


With travel restrictions and social distancing in play, Virtual Training is the most sought-after solution today for remote learning.

If this is the first time you are moving to Virtual Training or you are looking at rapid acceleration of your classroom training to the remote learning mode, designing and delivering a high-impact Virtual Training for remote learners is a tall order.

To help you manage this transition to remote learning, I share several Virtual Training best practices you can adopt as you gradually transform your classroom/ILT training to:

  1. Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) mode – Delivered in the Synchronous or Asynchronous mode.
  2. Blended mode.
  3. Fully Self-paced/Online (eLearning/Mobile Learning) mode.

Virtual Training Best Practices – For a Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) Mode

Virtual Instructor-Led Training sessions or VILT refers to training delivered in a virtual or simulated environment where the trainer and learner are at two different locations.

In the changed workplace dynamics triggered by COVID-19, VILT is the first option to consider to handle your classroom/ILT sessions. This can be done in two modes:

  • Synchronous mode – Features connects or live sessions.
  • Asynchronous mode – Features connects via online access to VILT recordings and supporting collateral (prep material and hand-outs).

However, it is crucial to note that the ILT sessions, which held learners’ interest and generated highly interactive and high-impact trainings, cannot be mapped directly to a VILT mode. For instance, the remote learners are not likely to sit through a 7-hour long VILT session – even when it is from the same trainer who was delivering the ILT session.

Instead, you need to plan as follows:

  • Schedule multiple sessions (not exceeding 30-45 mins) offered via a learning path.
  • Interject the learning journey with interactions, group exercises, peer interactions, and one-on-one interactions with the trainer to match the ILT session.
  • Move some of the ILT content to online resources.

Here are some Virtual Training best practices to make your VILT work.

  1. Ensure you have a feature-rich modern platform for your Virtual Classroom or VILT. An ideal one would support easy access, screen share, integration of different learning assets, polling, hand raising, breakout areas, and so on. You can also integrate highly immersive interactions like Whiteboarding, Design Thinking, and Game-based activities.
  2. Limit your session to a maximum of 45 mins (preferably for 30 mins) with a break planned in between. Keep some buffer to cover any unprecedented time loss during the session.
  3. Use open polls, status options, chat boxes, breakout areas, and similar features to make the session interactive and engaging.
  4. Have the session rules laid out in simple and clear sentences. This may include directions for breakout rooms, use of whiteboards, chats, and audio and video devices.
  5. Encourage all participants to dial in even if they are connected through VoIP. This will help avoid any complications that may occur due to poor Internet connection. Provide the pre and post session resources online along with the recording of the session that learners can peruse.
  6. Use a good microphone or headset. Encourage learners to use audio options.
  7. Do not overload your slides with excess information. Use minimal text on the screen and spell out the rest yourself, so that they stay hooked.
  8. Keep animations to a minimum as they can be tricky during the online presentation.

Virtual Training Best Practices or a Blended Mode

Blended Learning combines the best of two modes, that is, VILT sessions with Self-paced as well as Self-Directed Online Learning. A median offering of the two modes, Blended Learning is often considered the optimal mode for Virtual Training.

Here are some Virtual Training best practices to help you build an effective Blended Learning Solution.

  1. Begin by creating the overall learning journey first – Identify which training components should be handled in the facilitated mode and which should be converted to Self-paced and Self-Directed Online Training (Mobile Learning) mode.
  2. Remember that you cannot map the duration of the ILT components one-on-one to VILT. You need to break them down into shorter online sessions and interweave online assets in the overall Virtual Learning
  3. Enrich the VILT sessions with similar interactions that were part of the classroom/ILT mode.
  4. Personalize the learning journey.
  5. Factor for online access of the VILT sessions and, additionally, plan for re-purposing each session into a Microlearning format – add Intros, Outros, and Assessments to each. This will encourage virtual consumption and help learners clear each learning outcome at their own pace.
  6. Determine optimal assessment strategies that will help evaluate the overall learner performance as well as provide adequate participation hooks throughout the training.
  7. Provide online resources, including useful tips, references, and job aids they can refer to on the go post the training sessions.
  8. Plan to leverage the learning with others (Social Learning) – with peers as well as with facilitators/experts. You can use techniques like forums, threaded discussions (including moderated ones), sharing and commenting, and so on.

Virtual Training Best Practices or a Fully Self-paced/Online (eLearning/Mobile Learning) Mode

Self-paced Learning today includes both eLearning and Mobile Learning.

Here are some Virtual Training best practices that will create the difference by matching the delivery to what the learners want.

  1. Go Micro – Chunk the content into smaller bite-sized pieces.
  2. Leverage Microlearning-based learning paths and adopt immersive, high-impact strategies ranging from AR/VR, Gamification, Scenario Based Learning, and Interactive Story Based Learning. In particular, invest in Video and Interactive Video Based Learning.
  3. Tailor the learning journey to suit your learners’ specific needs – keep it relevant and personalized.
  4. Make sure that the learning journey has a combination of Formal learning courses as well as resources that they can use at the time of their need.
  5. Plan the learning journey to have Microlearning nuggets that enable learners to:
    • Learn.
    • Apply.
    • Practice.
    • Challenge them to review/refresh or move up the proficiency level.
  6. Factor for just-in-time learning aids that they can access when they are stuck/need help in solving a problem.
  7. Create learning journeys that map the learners’ interests, aspirations, and can help them as “career pathways.”
  8. Leverage curation to keep them connected, enabling continuous learning.

I hope my article gives you the required cues on how you can use the featured Virtual Training best practices as you shift from classroom training to remote learning and make your Virtual Training delivery a success.


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6 Smart Approaches to Bring in Real-world Experiences in Online Training with Scenario Based Learning


Scenario Based Learning is an absolute staple in online training. In this article, I share 6 approaches you can leverage real-world experiences to put the learner at the center stage, amp-up knowledge retention, and jumpstart engagement dramatically.

How Does Bringing in Real-world Experiences Increase the Effectiveness of Scenario Based Learning (SBL) Even Further?

Powerful scenarios are more than interactive and engaging. When executed properly, they can influence thinking, add tremendous value to online trainings, and even drive behavioral change.

For Scenario Based Learning to be effective however, especially in corporate trainings, they must help your audience mesh the virtual world with on-the-job applications. There is no better way to do this than to bring in real-world experiences to the online learning world you create.

The result is a carefully crafted scenario that parallels the learning objectives necessitated in your online trainings, whether they be for Compliance, Sales, Leadership, or any other corporate trainings that could value from increased engagement and comprehension.

How Can We Bring Real-world Experiences to Online Training Using Scenario Based Learning?

Here are 6 approaches to bring in real-world experiences to online training using Scenario Based Learning:

  1. Make it realistic and specific to the learner

If you’re trying to bring the real world into the learning world, it has to be designed with complete specificity to the audience.

Do a little research first, to get a firm grasp on who your learners are. For example, creating a scenario to train C-level executives in leadership principles is going to have very different characters than a compliance training explaining the importance of fall prevention.

Your characters must be relatable to the learner!


Also, ensure the learning environment matches the work environment closely. Include real-world experiences, such as actual on-the-job photos, paste win/fail instances they may be familiar with, or utilize industry jargon they’d hear in everyday life.

  1. Rely on Branching Scenarios

By placing the learner in the driver’s seat and allowing them to take control of the scenario, you’re mimicking the same decisions that must be performed on-the-job.

Progressively build the problem by starting with a few slow pitches, where the learner can gain confidence in making the right decisions before throwing them fast curve balls that are hard to figure out.


Focus on actions. The Scenario Based Learning should be centered on the cause and effect of the learner’s decisions. Lean your online training content heavily toward the if/then relationship with a best/worst/neutral case outcome.

  1. Explicitly state the real-world value to the learner

This is an absolute must if you want the learner to care about the content. If there’s not a clear value that can be applied from the “fake” world you’re presenting to the real world, then the engagement will immediately drop to nil.

What problem is going to be solved? State the problem and explain that at the end of the learner’s scenario, he or she will have the tools to solve that problem.


If the core value of your topic isn’t immediately apparent, use compelling statistics to demonstrate relevancy.

  1. Incorporate work-related tools

By bringing in the tools of the trade, you’re placing on-the-job elements right in your learner’s hands. This is only a good fit, however, if the tool can be simulated accurately enough.

For example, if you’ve created a scenario for a Wilderness First Aid Course with an outcome of splinting, compression wrapping, or simply elevating an injury – inform the learner that a finger splint and roll of bandaging are required in the preface of the course.


Try bringing in real-life tools as relevant job aids in the learning design. Highlight the do’s and don’ts, and through practice sessions, help them gain proficiency. Also, help them understand the implications of the errors or omissions through formative feedback. This will ensure an effective application on the job.

  1. Create conflict/problem-solving simulations

Creating a simulation of a well-defined problem or task is a great way to duplicate a resolution on the job.

Solving problems in real life can be hard! You should duplicate these difficulties in your simulations, but make sure to gradually increase the level of difficulty. To mimic the stressors of a real-life conflict, try adding a sense of urgency with a time limit.

Finally, allow for lots of failures. It is a crucial part of memory retention that should be built into your simulations. Just make sure to provide the necessary corrective feedback along the way.


If you’re using avatars, give them names, uniforms, and personalities that match the audience in question. This is much more convincing than cartoon characters.

  1. Include personal anecdotes

Strike the right balance of enough personal touch and emotion without being so specific or dramatic that your audience can no longer relate.


Try adding videos, images, screen captures of emails, recorded dialogues of customer service interactions, and whatever you can bring to the story that makes it closer to the real-world experience.

I hope my article demonstrates just how valuable real-world experiences are to Scenario Based Learning and gives you several ideas on how to take them to a whole new level in your online trainings!

Meanwhile, if you have any specific queries, do contact me or leave a comment below.

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