It will come as no surprise that everyone learns differently and has a preferred learning style. It can be challenging for educators to cater to the learning needs of each student or employee. One learning process that is universally tried and tested by most is ‘learning by doing’ and consequently learning from mistakes that are made in the process of ‘doing’. This method proves to be an effective way of learning particularly when mistakes are made as it tends to lead to better knowledge retention. Although this learning method is effective, without the right technology it’s easily facilitated in a teaching environment. For effective, risk-free scenario-based learning, an e-learning platform is ideal.
Why is risk-free training important?
Of course, most learners would like to get everything right the first time, however, this is rarely the case. Within a training or education situation, we expect employees/learners to make mistakes; they are unlikely to always achieve full marks or consistently provide the right answers. However, there are situations where employees or learners simply cannot afford to make mistakes. For example, if an employee in the healthcare sector is learning a new patient care technique, they may inadvertently put the patient in a harmful situation due to inexperience.
So how can learners and employees learn practically in a risk-free environment? Using an e-learning platform like a learning management system (LMS), allows you to create a ‘risk-free’ and much less stressful learning environment. Here are some great examples of how you can achieve this.
One of the most effective ways you can facilitate practical, risk-free training is by using your e-learning platform to create scenario-based lessons. Scenario-based learning takes real-life situations and places them in a virtual teaching environment in which learners work their way through a problem by making decisions or answering questions. With this approach, you can also create branching opportunities where the choices a learner makes determine the content they see next and will drive the overall outcome of their scenario.
Scenario-based learning tests the critical thinking and analytical skills of a learner as they are expected to find a solution to the problem they are presented with. The content of scenario-based learning typically resonates better with learners as it’s relatable and relevant. They are presented with situations that they will come across in real life - meaning this type of learning is more engaging and better prepares the learner for their eventual roles or tasks. Most importantly, creating real-life scenarios for students or employees in a virtual learning environment removes any physical risks.
Initially, the aforementioned healthcare professional might learn a new method by reading/watching a video within an LMS. Next, they may be asked to apply that knowledge in a ‘real-life’ setting by completing a scenario-based lesson. If the learner makes mistakes, they will be presented with real-life consequences, such as causing harm to the patient or putting the patient at unnecessary risk, but with no real risk involved.
Creating real-life scenarios for students or employees to learn from not only gives them the breathing space to learn without fear of making a mistake, but it also takes the pressure off a business or organisation that cannot afford to allow their employees to make costly errors. For example, when learners have completed mandatory health and safety training using scenario-based training, any dangerous errors in judgement when completing training will be done so in a risk-free setting.
Scenario-based learning doesn’t necessarily have to involve high-risk training scenarios, it can be used by any sector for a wide range of topic areas. The fundamental purpose of this type of training is to encourage your learners to transfer the practical learning they have completed over to the applicable real-life scenario. Creating scenarios for learners to problem-solve their way through is far more engaging and memorable than theoretical, classroom-based learning. Learners are not only gaining new skills but learning how to practically apply them in a real-life setting without having to wait for the situation to eventually present itself in reality.
Informal gamification-style tests and quizzes
If your L&D strategy includes end-of-course assessments which are used to determine whether a learner needs further training, your learners may feel a great deal of pressure to pass their assessment. To relieve them of associated stress, you could include some fun gamification-style quizzes throughout the course to help test their knowledge and prepare them for the final assessment. With the option to make these informal with no limit on the number of attempts, you can encourage users to learn from their mistakes and continue their training.
With an LMS, you can use the built-in analytics and reporting tools to view the results of these informal quizzes. If you spot that a learner is struggling to pass the quiz or are struggling with certain topic areas, then you can use this data to offer additional support.
Allowing learners to test their knowledge base and skill level prior to the final assessment is not only beneficial for them but also for a business or organisation. For example, regulatory compliance training that requires all relevant employees to meet the standard may ask them to complete an assessment to serve as evidence. If employees are allowed to complete informal testing prior to the final assessment, this will reduce the risk of high fail rates – a situation that any business would look to avoid.
Creating a safe environment to ask questions
With a learning experience platform (LXP) such as Totara Engage, you can facilitate social learning by creating discussion boards, forums or chat rooms to allow users to learn from one another. When learning is being carried out remotely, learners may feel isolated if they don’t understand the subject matter. Using an LXP can dissolve this feeling of isolation as learners are encouraged to openly discuss content and if struggling, they can freely ask questions. If a business or organisation creates a culture in which users feel like they will be supported regardless of their questions, learners will feel safe in a stress-free environment where they can lean on peers for guidance when necessary.
Building the right LMS to deliver risk-free training
To deliver a well-rounded L&D programme with a variety of content types, you’ll need a robust e-learning platform with broad functionality. If you’re looking to create the interactive content required in scenario-based learning, you may need to look at incorporating some integrations. If you’re looking to implement an LMS that is capable of delivering your desired strategy but you’re not sure what you’ll need, download our step-by-step guide to building the perfect LMS for your organisation here.