“Teaching is more than imparting knowledge; it is inspiring change. Learning is more than absorbing facts; it is acquiring understanding.” – William Arthur Ward
Teaching in today’s world seems a far cry from small children sitting in neat rows of desks while an educator delivers a formal lecture. Education is more about experiences, opportunities and collaboration; that learning is to be owned by the student.
UNICEF (2018) refers to this sense of agency as an integral part of the learning experience, that it is dependent upon recognizing children as capable to take initiative, make decisions and exercise self-choice. As educators, we must acknowledge and trust in their process as they learn through play.
What is scenario-based learning?
Based upon situated learning theory, it takes the idea that every action a human does, whether it be an interaction or physical movement can be adapted to the situation they are in. It sees knowledge as “dynamically constructed as we conceive of what is happening to us,” (Clancey, 1995) and amend our behaviours – the way we think, talk and move.
It takes that understanding of “knowledge” and places it in real-world contexts. For a child this may be an augmented reality, but because it is relatable and relevant, they “experience” the learning in a safe environment. Educators support this by offering extension opportunities, such as open-ended questions, that challenge learners to find creative solutions to the problems presented to them. As a result, this improves their decision-making and critical analysis skills since the focus on application of understanding, rather than facts alone.
As adults, it is possible that we have undertaken professional development in this way. Health and safety or compliance training, first aid/responder and leadership often utilise role-play as a tool for learning and applying knowledge.
For KneoWorld, this is presented as story based learning; taking students through a narrative and applying what they know to solve a problem. As they make choices and respond to the narrative, the scenario adapts, requiring a non-linear approach that may have several solutions.
“Narrative-based learning is a learning model grounded in research that shows that humans naturally learn within the context of narratives and stories. These… help provide a cognitive structure for knowledge and give people a common experience to communicate ideas and perceptions with each other.”
Explore how KneoWorld’s enrichment program implements this learning model with a demonstration for your school. Find out how you can support your learners to build their understanding of key concepts using stories as a way to create meaning and share experiences with each other, all while practicing and contextualizing language.
How Beneficial is the Scenario or Narrative-Based Learning Model?
It is well documented that when children feel safe and secure, they are more likely to have positive outcomes. This methodology creates a safe space for children to explore With no real-world repercussions to their responses, whether ‘right’ or ‘wrong, the open endedness of the scenarios invite children to consider the multiple possibilities to achieve the best outcome.
A study by Sorin (2012) explored how scenario-based learning was used to strengthen the relationships between early childhood teachers and their families resulting in better outcomes for the children. They refer to Errington (2008) who emphasizes the importance of being able to learn from real-world experiences in order to develop professionally. This notion is attributed to the reason education students not only learn about theories and knowledge, but also have to complete between 80 and 100 days of practical in-classroom experience.
“It is crucial that aspiring professionals are able to envision and explore alternative futures – to develop the kind of flexibility needed to tackle events and issues from a professional perspective.”
Essentially, scenario-based learning is as close to the real-world as you can get barring not being the real-world.
“Authenticity comes from making scenario contexts are realistic as possible (Akins & Crichton, 2003); to provide a vehicle for learners to engage with ‘real world’ problems (Damoenese, 2003) through collaborative learning teams, or “communities of practice.”” (Sorin, 2012)
Similarly, Tupe (2015) researched primary school students in India who were learning a second language. Just like KneoWorld, they use a multi-media scenario based approach, and this study was designed to ascertain the effectiveness of this instructional strategy.
Prior to the implementation of this program, learning was by a process of “drilling” the children and reciting second langauge content. Subsequently, students were bored and disengaged as they were not achieving or even comprehending what they were repeating. There were little to no opportunities for the children to practice and embed what they were attempting to learn. Tupe believed that the best way for children to learn was by doing, that the process be natural.
Again, these multi-media language lessons offered students an opportunity to learn through scenarios, or narratives that were reflective of relatable experiences. As a result, they learned how to use the second langauge in a practical way.
Tupe and Sorin both came to similar conclusions. Scenario and narrative-based learning, while involving much preparation, rewards the learner positively. They note there is less of a gap between theory and practice and the opportunity to practice skills in a safe, fun and engaging environment is key to success. Students expand and apply their knowledge giving rise to a deeper understanding, problem solving skills and authenticity.
Read more about how KneoWorld is reimagining education here.
(2018) Learning through play. rep. UNICEF. Available at: https://www.unicef.org/sites/default/files/2018-12/UNICEF-Lego-Foundation-Learning-through-Play.pdf (Accessed: 29 November 2023).
Clancey,W.J. (1995) A tutorial on situated learning. Proceedings of the International Conference on Computers and Education (Taiwan) Self, J. (Ed.) Charlottesville, VA: AACE. 49-70, 1995
Scenario-Based Learning (2020) Australian National University. Available at: https://staffeducation.weblogs.anu.edu.au/small-group-activities/scenario-based-learning/ (Accessed: 29 November 2023).
Sorin, R. (2012) ‘Exploring partnerships in early childhood teacher education through scenario-based learning’, World Journal of Education, 3(1). doi:10.5430/wje.v3n1p39.
Cited: Akins, M., & Crichton, S. (2003). Scenario Based Learning – Geography in the Field Using GIS / GPS for Curriculum Integration. Washington, USA: National Educational Computing Conference.
Cited: Errington, E. (ed). (2010). Preparing graduates for the professions using scenario-based learning. Brisbane: Post Pressed. Hunter, B. (2009).
Tupe, N. (2015) ‘Multimedia scenario based learning programme for enhancing the English language efficiency among primary school students’, International Journal of Instruction, 8(2), pp. 125–138. doi:10.12973/iji.2015.8210a.