It’s hard to teach behavioral topics such as conflict management, negotiation, or leadership. It is also expensive to create (or re-create) a setup to enable people to practice these important managerial skills. Most companies let the natural course of time and experience hone these skills. A little intro theory mixed with some time hopefully creates the right outcomes. In today’s business environment, this is expensive! But how do you create scenarios without the time or expense (or all the resources)?
How to Create Scenario Based Learning That Sticks!
Lets assume you have a scenario based training topic that needs to be practiced by a lot of people. Go with a branching story! Branching stories are easy to create and are more engaging than people give them credit for. Here’s how a branching story works:
User logs into the computer and starts the ‘game’. As a result, the user reads something like: You walk into the company break room and two of your employees are having an argument. Do you a) turn around and walk out? b) Ask them politely to find a conference room and work it out? or c) Ask them to join you in a conference room in order to settle the issue?
Once someone selects an option, the computer adapts and changes the story depending on the option chosen. Let’s say you chose C. The computer then responds and says, Ok, you are in a conference room and the two employees refuse to talk. What do you do? a) Tell them to work it out or they will both be suspended without pay. b) Ask that one of them explains what happened. c) Tell them to go back to work and work it out after hours.
As you can see, there are “right” answers and “not so great answers”. They are all viable choices, but some are just better than others. Once the participants go through a series of choices, they will come to an ending. From this, they will learn what works and doesn’t work. They then have the option to try again in order to be better.
Voila! You just created an action learning module. These can easily be done in powerpoint or MS word. Very very easy!
Branching stories are a type of business simulation and are sometimes used as a leadership development simulation. Very easy to get started and you can find many resources on the web.