25. Solving a Mystery / Investigating a Scenario

Here’s the Solving a Mystery / Investigating a Scenario learning interaction from my eBook, Engaging Interactions For eLearning:

Description: Place the learner in a story as a character that must investigate or do research to solve a puzzle or problem. Have them obtain information from several sources and then decide upon a final conclusion.

The learner should have to obtain clues found in pseudo-real-world sources. For example, show images of file cabinets that the learner must open to find clues; show people that the learner must interview; show documents that they must read for more information, etc.

Use examples of information sources that the learner would encounter on-the-job.

Example: Consider these scenarios:

You are a doctor evaluating a new patient. Use the available resources to make your diagnosis.

You are a police officer investigating a robbery. Use the available resources to build your case and find the criminal.

Level(s) of Interaction: 3, 4
Knowledge Type(s): Factual
Conceptual
Procedural
Metacognitive

24. Virtual Products / Virtual Labs

Here’s the Virtual Products / Virtual Labs learning interaction from my eBook, Engaging Interactions For eLearning:

Description: Virtual products and virtual labs offer the learner a simulated environment where they can safely interact with a product or setting. The learner should be able to attempt different actions and the product’s (or environment’s) response should mimic real-life as closely as possible. This is a much cheaper way to train learners, especially in scenarios where the real products/environments are expensive or difficult to obtain.

Read Learning By Doing, by Clark Aldrich, for more information on virtual products and virtual labs.

Example: Consider:

  • A chemistry lab where you can test chemical reactions without worrying about injuries, explosions, etc.,
  • A simulation where you can try out a new cell phone, or
  • A software simulation in a sandboxed environment (so real data is not affected).
Level(s) of Interaction: 3, 4
Knowledge Type(s): Factual
Conceptual
Procedural
Metacognitive

23. Interactive Spreadsheets

Here’s the Interactive Spreadsheets learning interaction from my eBook, Engaging Interactions For eLearning:

Description: Interactive spreadsheets are exercises that allow the learner to plug-in figures or information into a system and see the direct results of their actions. Consider using interactive spreadsheets when it is important to show the effects of actions over time, or when you need to emphasize cause-and-effect relationships.

Read Learning By Doing, by Clark Aldrich, for more information on interactive spreadsheets.

Example: The classic example of this type of interaction is a lemonade stand:

You must operate a lemonade stand and determine how and when to spend your money. After making your decisions, you will be able to watch how your lemonade stand performs over (simulated) time.

Example questions:

How much will you charge for lemonade? (If you price it too high, people will not buy it. If you price it too low, you will not make money.)

Next weekend will be very hot. Do you think you will sell more lemonade than usual? If so, should you buy extra supplies?

Level(s) of Interaction: 3, 4
Knowledge Type(s): Factual
Conceptual
Procedural
Metacognitive

22. Challenge and Response

Here’s the Challenge and Response learning interaction from my eBook, Engaging Interactions For eLearning:

Description: Simulate an interview or interrogation scenario where the learner is being questioned by another individual.

A pseudo-real context should be used. The key to this activity is use a scenario that could actually happen (without scaring or intimidating the learner too much!).

Example: Consider this scenario:

Your boss asks: Why did you fire Bob Jones? Do you think this was the right decision? Shouldn’t you have just coached him through the situation?

Level(s) of Interaction: 2, 3, 4
Knowledge Type(s): Factual
Conceptual
Procedural
Metacognitive

21. Branching Stories

Here’s the Branching Stories learning interaction from my eBook, Engaging Interactions For eLearning:

Description: Branching stories allow the learner to participate in a "Choose Your Own Adventure" scenario. In this type of scenario, the learner reads about a situation and then chooses which way the story will proceed (ex. "Click here if you would discuss the issue with your boss. Otherwise, click here to ignore the issue."). A story will consist of several questions that lead the learner to different endings, depending on their decisions. If the learner makes the correct decisions, they will successfully complete the adventure/story. If they do not make the correct decisions, they will not complete it successfully and will see the (negative) results of their actions.

Feedback can be provided after each question or at the end of the scenario, depending on preference.

Read Learning By Doing, by Clark Aldrich, for more information on branching stories.

Example: Consider this scenario:

You are interviewing candidates for a sales position. Ask the candidates questions and respond to their answers in a way that helps you determine if they are qualified for the position.

Several responses would be available to the learner. The next screen of the story would be based on the answer provided by the learner, and so on.

Level(s) of Interaction: 2, 3, 4
Knowledge Type(s): Factual
Conceptual
Procedural
Metacognitive

20. Story-based Adventure

Here’s the Story-based Adventure learning interaction from my eBook, Engaging Interactions For eLearning:

Description: Challenge the learner to work through a storyline, quest, or toward an ultimate goal in an eLearning course. Have them complete a series of tasks, challenges, puzzles, etc., to reach the end and reveal the end of the story. Each exercise in a course could be a step toward achieving the final goal. Add gaming elements to increase the level of engagement, while staying instructionally relevant.
Example: Use a storyline where the learner tries to reach a castle, save all of the customers in a neighborhood, or prevent an environmental disaster. Let them progress slowly toward their goal by achieving milestones along their journey (for example, allow them the opportunity to save one customer at a time in each exercise, with their overall goal being to save the entire the neighborhood).
Level(s) of Interaction: 2, 3, 4
Knowledge Type(s): Factual
Conceptual
Procedural
Metacognitive

19. Did I Do This Correctly?

Here’s the Did I Do This Correctly? learning interaction from my eBook, Engaging Interactions For eLearning:

Description: Have the learner watch a task (either a video or sequence of images) and determine if the task was done correctly. Show both good and bad examples. Ask: "Was the task done correctly? Why or why not?" Have them respond using multiple choice questions or via an open text area.

After the learner responds, identify misconceptions and discuss them so that they clearly understand the correct method. Have a summary at the end, and use plenty of feedback to reinforce the correct way to perform the task.

Example: Show the installation of a faucet, dishwasher, or other appliance. Then ask the learner to identify if it was done correctly. If it wasn’t done correctly, have them explain what was incorrect.
Level(s) of Interaction: 2, 3, 4
Knowledge Type(s): Factual
Conceptual
Procedural
Metacognitive


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