Framework for Scenario-Based Learning
Scenario Based Learning (SBL) is an effective approach that provides an excellent framework
for active learning. Similar to case-based instruction, SBL utilizes an authentic context in which
the problems are presented in certain sequence and choices offered that enable the learner to
reach an outcome. As with any constructivist approach, mistakes are an integral part of the learning
process. In SBL mistakes inform the system which adapts thereby prompting the learner to make
better choices in the future.

SBL is based on the understanding that in order for a learner to acquire and retain skills &
knowledge, the learner must be placed in a scenario where his/her decisions affect, or alter
subsequent events leading to new events, just like in real life. In real life, we are presented with
choices everyday; some good, some bad, some ok, and some irrelevant. Choices we make
improve, deteriorate our current situation, or, make no difference. In this way, SBL is a form of
experiential learning.


In the SBL context, a scenario is a realistic situation where a sequence of events is presented and
possible choices allow the learner to reach an outcome. Learning occurs when the user goes
through the scenario and is guided to discover principles and develop critical competencies.

Mistakes can be made and the resulting scenario will allow the user to make subsequent
decisions. Learning still occurs if a user takes a wrong path all the way through. Thus learning
becomes an experience and not blindly following a set of rules, or learning by rote.


Our premises for using SBL area as follow:
• Reality is the ultimate and best learning experience.
• Learning must be fun and enjoyable like playing a favorite sport just as in real life.
• Learning must allow for mistakes. No one has ever learned anything without doing
mistakes. However, the current teaching methodologies do not allow for any mistakes
and look for one correct answer. This popular approach is too simplistic and doesn’t
reflect the reality. The better approach is to let the students make mistakes and learn from
them.
• Real learning occurs when we can immerse ourselves in a situation in which we are
forced to perform, get feedback from our environment, and given chances to correct or
adjust our responses.


Adapted from: Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright 2004, American Society for Engineering Education





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