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Building Online Scenarios for Library Instruction

Online scenario based instruction can provide a way for librarians to access the critical thinking skills and user thought processes of students by having them "choose their own adventure" as they navigate through an information need. Similar to simulatio

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Shannon Johnson
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What are scenarios?

Scenarios are a way of walking someone through a practice situation with cause and effect in place.  Scenarios are similar to simulations, in that they are typically "real world" focused, and allow the participant to make decisions that affect the outcome of the situation.  The main difference between the two is that usually simulations are done real-time and scenarios are more scripted, often with multiple choice options for each decision.  Scenarios are therefor easier to craft for online learning and can be done asynchronously. 

Book cover for The Magic of the Unicorn.  Choose your own adventure

One type of scenario is a "Chose your own adventure" model.  The name is derived from the style of role playing book popular in the 1980s, that gave the reader the chance to pick from a selection of options that would move the story along any one of a number of paths. 

These books were fun ways to explore cause and effect in a storyline, and the model can be easily applied to scenario building for information literacy.


How are scenarios used?

Scenarios are a common method of staff training in many industries, often focused on customer service or other soft skills.  In education, scenarios and simulations are frequently employed by health and medical faculty to test comprehension and critical thinking skills.  Below are links to articles that demonstrate the use of scenarios and simulations for information literacy specifically.