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Scenario-based learning

Successful skills training

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Not every skill can be learned by reading books or via traditional online courses. In everyday work, we repeatedly encounter situations that require us to have methodological, social, and personal skills—whether they are internal discussions requiring sensitivity, requests for advice or sales conversations. To ensure the success of your company, and for the sake of your external image and long-term customer relationships, it is essential that you give your employees the best possible preparation for working with customers and partners—even in crisis situations. But how can you make training for such situations as efficient and realistic as possible? 

This article tells you how scenario-based learning helps train your employees to handle a wide range of conversations. Using practical examples, we show you which tools to use to simulate behaviors and conversations, and how effective they are at helping your employees learn from their own decisions and experiences.


Scenario-based learning explained

Scenario-based learning is an eLearning method that uses realistic and dynamic simulations to teach skills. New skills are learned directly through the flexible application of knowledge in authentic but simulated situations. Instead of delivering “inert knowledge”, which only exists in theory, this training process provides “active knowledge”, which is retained in the long term by being applied and reflected on in the moment.

Scenario-based learning takes participants through a specific situation for which they require training, such as a sale to a potential customer or a crisis meeting with an existing customer. The structure of the conversation is not fixed from the outset, but is determined by trainees’ reactions and responses. This means that a single situation can give rise to a range of scenarios, which are continually adjusted on the basis of learners’ reactions. Employees participating in this kind of coaching thus immediately recognize the pitfalls that can arise from an incorrect or not entirely appropriate response, and learn the best type of response: practical, realistic and authentic, but without detriment your company.  

This innovative way of learning can be delivered by the requisite simulation software that creates dynamic learning situations and teaches users the correct behavior by means of immediate, individualized feedback. Some software even uses VR goggles to create an even more authentic experience.


This means your employees can analyze errors without feeling pressurized and learn from their reflections. It also gives your company assurance—which is particularly important where errors with regard to everyday work can be costly or dangerous, or perhaps where there are only limited opportunities to apply skills in practice.


The realistic simulations involved with scenario-based learning enable learners to activate their knowledge before they encounter the situation in real life. It allows your employees to acquire new skills and abilities much faster than they could with a purely theoretical approach.


The associated flexibility and learners’ ability to self-direct increase motivation and makes training even more impactful.


And what content could be more relevant than an almost completely realistic simulation of a situation that your employees experience in their everyday work? Scenario-based learning also involves game‑based features such as direct feedback and dynamic, constantly changing situations, which have been proven to increase motivation.


In the long run, digital in-house training is also significantly cheaper than its analog equivalent, where you regularly incur costs for coaches, travel, and downtime. After all, once content has been created, it can be reused on a regular basis, to refresh knowledge or induct new employees rapidly, for example.


Typical applications for digital, scenario-based learning

Digital, scenario-based learning can be used whenever you need learners to practice particular lines of argument or strategic behaviors.

Sales pitch icon

Sales training

Advice icon

Product advice

Crisis communication icon

Crisis communications

Soft skills training icon

Soft skills training

Response icon

Reaction training

Conversation icon

Customer conversations

Emergency situation icon

Behavior in emergency situations

Feedback icon

Feedback discussions


Action-based and dialog-based scenarios

Scenario-based learning can be divided into multi-layered and action-based scenarios. With action-based scenarios, learning focuses on one scenario, consisting of a single scene, in which the person being coached participates. The scenario changes depending on the nature of the interaction. Interaction can take place through a drop-down menu from which participants select a reaction, for example.

With dialog-based (multi-layered) scenarios, participants move through various scenarios that arise out of the reactions they have previously selected. These scenarios make learning even easier, because they include visual depictions of changing scenes and the reactions of digital interlocutors , through images of facial expressions, for example. Have a look at our example with Katharina Grundmann:

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Scenario-based learning

Here’s how it works


It’s best to start by outlining your scenario. Think about whether you want to create a simple action-based scenario or a more complex, dialog-based scenario. Think of our example with Katharina Grundmann. If you want to train people to handle sales, go through the process bit by bit and work out potential situations and reactions.

Once you have created a rough outline of your scenario, you will already have a feeling for which media would be best suited to presenting the emotions involved so as to ensure the best possible learning outcomes. You will generally be able to choose from images, videos, and texts. Images and videos are of course the best way to create situations that are as realistic as possible. Videos also allow you not only to differentiate tone of voice, facial expressions, and gestures, but also to present the greatest range of emotions. They therefore enable you to depict highly complex scenarios, in which physical reactions that might otherwise go unnoticed—a lowered gaze, for example—also play a role.

For the final step, you need software that will allow you to put your scenario into practice and evaluate your employees’ learning processes. Knowledgeworker Coach has a drag and drop function that makes it easy to create your scenarios—regardless of whether they are simply action‑based or complex, dialog based, multi-layered scenarios. It allows you to embed texts, videos, images, and graphics. You can then roll out all your digital coaching sessions via your existing learning management system or integrate them into existing online courses or websites.

Knowledgeworker Coach also has a wide range of evaluation and reporting options: Live feedback promotes a positive learning experience, allowing learners to assess their abilities at any time and learn from their mistakes immediately. After they have completed a training session, learners also have access to extensive data to allow them to evaluate the skills they have acquired. They can view a matrix that depicts their strengths and weaknesses and gives a clear indication of any areas that require further work.


Try it out

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Train learners to handle conversations and conflict situations, promote social skills, and enhance soft skills. Realistic. Authentic. Sustainable.


The bottom line

Scenario-based learning is a highly successful personnel development tool. It is an innovative learning method that combines all the most successful aspects of coaching in one smart, holistic, and efficient solution. Tailor-made, one-to-one experiences help your employees to develop strong personalities, strengthen emotional resilience, and enable them to communicate more mindfully and authentically. No other learning method is able to provide such risk-free, cost-effective training in lines of argument, strategic behavior, soft skills, and other competencies.

Magda Lehnert | Blogger
Magda Lehnert

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