Ceyda ÖZDEMİR – Project Officer for Design FILS
Innovations and changes brought about by technology give direction to education around the World. Our country follows these innovations and changes in order to increase the quality of education and raise better generations who have the 21st century skills. As a requirement of these changes, it is aimed that students will receive education by using information and communication technologies (ICT) in flexible learning environments with innovative pedagogical approaches.
Scenario-Based Learning (SBL) can be a good example of innovative pedagogical approaches because it coincides with the goal of “transforming knowledge into skills”, which is envisaged in the Turkey’s 2023 Education Vision, and supports the acquisition of the skills required by the 21st century. In this article, the general concepts of scenario-based learning, related approaches, difficulties and benefits, roles of teachers and students and principles of learning scenarios will be shared.
Scenario-Based Learning (SBL)
SBL is an effective approach to apply active learning strategies within the authentic context. In SBL, students are involved in interactive scenarios where they acquire and retain new knowledge and skills by internalizing different roles and responsibilities; and in their learning process, their decisions or choices alter subsequent events just like real life (Mariappan, Shih and Schrader, 2004). In this sense, it is similar to experiential learning.
SBL is based on the principles of situated learning theory which claims that learning occurs when students work on authentic tasks that take place in real-world setting (Winn, 1993). Learning does not take place in students’ mind; it is situated in an authentic context that involves students’ active participation and application to discover principles and develop critical competencies. Therefore, SBL improves students’ levels of motivation, attention and eagerness for participation.
Principles of project-based learning, problem-based learning, inquiry-based learning, case-based learning and role-playing are coherent with SBL in that scenarios are designed to engage students on the point of real world problem-solving and reflection, decision-making, critical thinking, independent learning, effective communication and collaboration, generating different perspectives, and acting creatively with respect to assumed roles, responsibilities and challenges of the professional culture (Errington, 2010).
According to Errington (2005), there are four types of scenarios: skills-based scenarios to demonstrate acquired knowledge and skills related to professions like medicine, law, field of education, etc.; problem-based scenarios to refine acquired skills, identify and pursue problems by enhancing critical thinking skill; issues-based scenarios to investigate and debate relevant professional issues; and speculative scenarios to apply knowledge to hypothetical professional situations (i.e. past events, future fictions, trends, etc.).
SBL is a student-centered approach that allows learners to apply theories and concepts in real-world situations.Students learn better by doing something in a meaningful context. In this point, SBL supports the constructivist view in which students are able to learn by constructing meaning from past experiences and activate prior knowledge (Mery and Blakiston, 2010; Iverson & Colky, 2004). Thus, they find an opportunity to develop and practice higher order thinking skills (analyzing, evaluating and creating) and real-life skills instead of their passive knowledge-taker role and simple memorization of new concepts.
Although scenarios give students an authentic learning experience which can both challenge and motivate, designing a scenario can be difficult and time consuming so teachers must enhance their pedagogical knowledge and they should be trained well. To develop a scenario, teachers should identify aims, trend topics, learning outcomes, responsibilities and roles of themselves and students, materials and resources, assessment tools and methods; then they should make plans in the process.
Roles of students and teachers in the classroom change in SBL. While students are getting more self-directed and autonomous, teachers serve as a facilitator and co-learner. Students take responsibilities for their learning and they participate in their learning process actively. Teachers are mediator who scaffolds information as necessary rather than instructor or knowledge transmitter. Other roles of teachers are as follows:
- They become more enthusiastic about their advanced pedagogical practices,
- They change their classroom management,
- They plan interactive and student-centered scenarios,
- They create democratic environment,
- They encourage students to be responsible and autonomous,
- They promote communication and collaborative learning,
- They foster critical thinking, higher order thinking and real-life skills,
- They follow innovations in education,
- They collaborate with their colleagues.
As with any constructivist approach, mistakes are natural and an inevitable part of the learning process (Mariappan, Shih and Schrader, 2004). In SBL, mistakes give students chances to correct and learn from them. Thus, students make better choices in the future. Assessment can be either formative or summative in SBL. When students complete the scenario, they can provide a written or oral reflection and self-assessment related to their experience in the process. Teachers also observe students’ performance and progress, they keep journals, and they get feedback from students so as to redesign scenarios and fulfill students’ need.
Scenarios describe the broader framework and the general ideas in about 10 sentences. They are not lesson plans, but teachers can create lesson plans for different learning activities that fit into the needs of the students in a scenario. General principles of scenarios are as follows:
- They should be unique.
- They should inspire interest and be motivating for students.
- They should be authentic and real-life oriented.
- They should focus on learning outcomes, and they must develop students’ problem solving skills, discussion skills and creativity.
- They should be suitable for students’ readiness level to apply past knowledge to new situations and synthesize in a meaningful context.
- Language of scenario should be impartial and objective. The language should not lead to any solution or technique.
- They should contain different stimulus like visual, aural, video-film, etc. for multiple students who have different learning styles.
Ministry of National Education [MoNE] has supported scenario-based learning approach with the projects: Innovative Technologies for Engaging Classrooms [iTEC] (https://itecturkey.eba.gov.tr/), Future Classroom Lab [FCL] (https://fclturkiye.eba.gov.tr/) and Designing Future Innovative Learning Spaces [Design FILS] (https://designfils.eba.gov.tr/ ) in order to strengthen innovative pedagogies in flexible learning environments. In iTEC, European Schoolnet worked with education ministries, technology providers and research organizations to transform the way that technology is used and redesign teaching and learning in schools as educational reform between the years 2010-2014. In FCL, school leaders, education policy makers, teachers and ICT suppliers create and implement Future Classroom Scenarios which provide a clear vision of innovative teaching and learning practices by introducing innovative use of ICT in a school and support learner acquisition of 21st Century skills. The purpose of the Design FILS project is to contribute to the professional development of teachers in the fields of technology, innovative pedagogy, interdisciplinary learning scenarios in flexible learning environments at EU level, and to support studies carried out at national and international level. This project, which is carried out by the MoNE and is implemented with the contributions of 7 European member partners, has largely the same objectives as the practices of innovative and flexible learning environments supported by the European Schoolnet.
MoNE supports learning scenarios that bring an innovative vision to the educational environment with iTEC, FCL and Design FILS projects to provide quality education. These projects aim to strengthen technology-supported innovative pedagogies in flexible learning environments, and highlight the scenario-based learning approach in this context.
In accordance with the 2023 Education Vision document, which was created to increase the quality of education, scenarios support students to acquire 21st century skills by transforming knowledge into skills. Students take an active role in their learning process through scenarios that they may encounter in real life or that are close to real life. Skills of the students’ problem solving, creative and critical thinking, effective communication, cooperation and taking responsibility develop.
To create a scenario, teachers should identify goals, trend topics, learning outcomes, their own and students’ responsibilities and roles, materials and resources, assessment tools and methods; then they should make plans actively in the process. The scenarios should be unique, authentic, motivating, appropriate for educational purposes and students’ readiness levels. You can find the sample scenarios majorly prepared and implemented by the European School Network on the following links:
Errington, E. (2005). Creating Learning Scenarios. Palmerston North, New Zealand: Cool Books.
Errington, E. (ed). (2010). Preparing Graduates for the Professions Using Scenario-Based Learning. Mount Gravatt, Queensland: Post Pressed.
Iverson, K.&Colky, D. (2004). Scenario-based e-learning design. Performance Improvement, 43(1), 16-22. Retrieved from ERIC database.
Mariappan, J., Shih, A. and Schrader, PG. (2004). Use of Scenario-Based Learning Approach in Teaching Statics. Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition, Utah, June.
Mery, Y. andBlakiston, R. (2010). Scenario-Based E-Learning: Putting the student in the Driver’s Seat. 26th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning. 4-6 August, 2010. 1-5
Winn, W. (1993). A constructivist critique of the assumptions of instructional design. In T. M. Duffy, J. Lowyck, & D. H. Jonassen (Eds.), Designing environments for constructive learning (pp. 189-212). Berlin: Springer-Verlag
To cite this report:
Ministry of National Education [MoNE]. (2020). Learning Scenarios. Ministry of National Education – General Directorate of Innovation and Educational Technologies, Ankara, Turkey. Retrieved from https://edusimsteam.eba.gov.tr/?p=232&lang=en