For quite a while I couldn’t really talk about any of the many eLearning and other instructional design projects I was working on because they were covered by either a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) or other restrictions. I really wanted to start building my portfolio so I embarked on journey to create a fictitious company with a fictitious performance problem.

The company’s name is Gas Eight. You can read the company profile I created here.

In short, the fictitious company was having challenges with employees not following the dress code. The end result was that employees needed a refresher on the dress code and managers needed new ways to discuss infractions with their employees.

In another post I’ll go into more about some of the reasons why I chose the performance improvement plan that I did. For now, I’d like to let you see the demonstration of the simple, scenario-based course I designed to relaunch the dress code to Gas Eight’s employees. The course isn’t complete in the demo but I’m sure you’ll get the idea.

Why did I choose scenarios?

In this case, scenarios would allow employees to explore various situations that were common dress code violations at Gas Eight. By presenting employees with choices and then asking employees to back up those choices with further choices, it allowed employees to demonstrate and practice.

Why not just make them sign off on the policy and review key points? Wouldn’t that be faster?

In cases like these, employees often have been asked previously to read the policy (doesn’t just apply to dress code; this can apply to any policy) but they aren’t necessarily asked to demonstrate understanding. Even if an eLearning course “forces” employees to “read” each key point by presenting it on the screen, that still isn’t helping employees apply that learning. Scenarios enable the employee to explore the policy. Scenarios by no means guarantee that employees will adhere to or fully understand a policy, they have proven to engage more employees since they can’t just click past the scenario. As for speed, the dress code course’s full five scenarios was designed to take employees only 15 minutes to complete. At 2.5-3 minutes per scenario, it doesn’t get much faster than that to present five key points of a policy.

But how do you know they READ the policy?

I don’t. Really. It’s that simple. I can’t force someone to read something. However, throughout the course employees are given multiple reminders to read the policy and the scenarios cover the major points of the policy. I’ll reiterate my previous point – making someone read something, doesn’t mean they understood it or learned anything.

Building Scenarios

I’ll do another proper post on how to build scenarios, or you can look at the many excellent resources out there (like Tom Kuhlmann’s take, or Cathy Moore’s)

For now, go ahead and take a look at the simple demo I created. The scenario in this demo is by no means complicated and I could have added more branches and choices to it but I wanted to keep it simple and focused on the key take away for that scenario. Also, keeping it simple meant the scenario could stay in the allotted time frame while still being useful.

Oh, and for those who are interested, the design for this demo (excluding creating the company profile), took just a few hours of time.

Go ahead and look at the demo here. When you’re finished, don’t forget to come back here and leave a comment with your tips for creating great scenarios.

Demo created in Articulate Storyline 2 with images from and Pixabay.