eLearning Show & Tell: Scenario Bookends

eLearning Show & Tell: Scenario Bookends. Includes screenshot from a comic-book style course called "Plain Language to the Rescue," Edition 3: Writing in the Active Voice.
This week I'm sharing a sample lesson that uses scenarios as bookends for traditional eLearning about avoiding the passive voice.

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In case you missed last week’s post, I talked about using eLearning scenarios as bookends. I described a couple of courses I developed in the past for which I used this technique.

For this post, I put together a brief sample to show you this technique in action. The lesson is based on a previous blog post about plain language—which I think is a pretty good use case for this type of design. It would be hard to teach plain language solely through scenarios, but dry as heck without any scenarios.

eLearning Sample

This sample is lesson 3 of a yet-to-be-developed course on instructional writing—something I’ve had in the back of my brain for a while. The previous lessons would have focused on using a conversational tone and reducing wordiness. This lesson is about using the active voice. It’s not necessarily finished at this point, but there’s enough here for you to get the idea of how to use scenarios to bookend traditional eLearning content.

Words of Advice

The bookend technique works well with content that wouldn’t be appropriate for branching scenarios, such as procedural or rule-based information. I like to use it for providing context and illustrating how learners will apply the information.

For this approach to work well, you need to stop the first part of the story on a cliffhanger. If you’re not familiar with the dramatic arc, I recommend reading this post to understand how to structure a story. You’l want to stop at or right before the climax of the story, and then pick up again with part 2 to present the resolution.


I’d love to know your thoughts about this technique and the sample lesson. Would you be interested in an instructional writing course like this? What other ways do you use scenarios? Let me know in the comments!

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