Scenario Design Toolkit – Initial Takeaways

I purchased the Scenario Design Toolkit by Cathy Moore a little while ago; it’s been something I’ve been dipping in and out of alongside reading Instructional Story Design by Rance Greene and Scenario-Based eLearning by Ruth Clark. I’ve finally completed the toolkit and wanted to share some of my initial thoughts.

So I finally completed the toolkit and received my badge. The toolkit has definitely given me a lot to think about. I’ve been looking back at some of my previous scenario-based learning work in an attempt to reflect and apply what I learnt in the toolkit to these experiences. Some key takeaways for me have been:

  • Not to treat adult learners like children – the examples in the toolkit really highlight how a lot of elearning has been (in some cases) unknowingly targetted toward children
  • Get to know your audience – If you want to create a good scenario, really get to know your audience
  • Imagery is not essential – if the story is good imagery isn’t always needed
  • Getting the story right takes practice, subject knowledge and creativity

I’ve created several scenarios in the past so have some experience designing them, but this toolkit really gave me a fresh perspective. I think this toolkit would be really valuable to someone who has no experience and no idea where to start as it really guides you through the whole process from beginning to end. Cathy Moore’s training is tailored toward an L&D environment whereas most of my work is HE focused, but there was still a lot of valuable information that I could use and apply.

Cathy has a very “straight to the point” approach, which means the video content is succinct and direct. I’ve sat through so many YouTube videos thinking “when am I going to see the content I actually need….” and the way that Cathy talks about creating scenario-based learning also follows this mindset. I also like how there is an emphasis on “it’s okay to just use Twine” and “it’s okay not to use images” there have been so many projects where I’ve felt pressured or been asked to use cheesy stock imagery or company branded nonsense. Most of these times it’s been greatly received by the stakeholders, but inside I am just cringing thinking “thank god I don’t have to do this training.”

Reflecting on this toolkit has really made me think about the projects I have worked on in the past, and I really think that there are three types; the projects where you are asked to deliver something exactly as the client wants it, no questions asks, the project you’re asked to consult on completely (as the stakeholders aren’t sure about what they want) and the project that is somewhere in the middle of the two. I recently carried out a small research project for a module at university that highlighted the struggles learning designers feel when working on projects and there is a fine balance between the two and everyone needs to really be on board and work together. Anyway, enough about projects!

The practise activities in this toolkit have been really well thought out and really do get you thinking (as you can probably tell from this post). As I mentioned in the introduction, I’ve also been reading other books on this topic as it is a big area of interest for me and I want to write up a post which talks about all three resources and the knowledge I’ve learnt from the combination.

I’m really happy to have completed the toolkit and am looking forward to using what I’ve learnt in future scenario-based learning activities.

2 thoughts on “Scenario Design Toolkit – Initial Takeaways

  1. Clare says:

    Hi Amy, would you recommend this, or would reading Cathy Moore’s Action Mapping book, and potentially other scenario focused books be enough? I can’t seem to find many reviews on this toolkit! Thanks 🙂

    • Amy Gottler says:

      Cathy Moore’s book focuses more on Action Mapping rather than scenario design, so I don’t think the book alone is good enough to get a good grasp of the topic. However there are lots of other free resources available on the internet. You could take a look at Rance Greene and his Instructional Story Design book, he also hosts some really good workshops (some free and some paid) you can find out more information here:

      Alternatively you could also check out resources from Christy Tucker, she specializes in story design and has a library of free resources available on her website:

      I would perhaps take a look at these free resources first. Cathy Moore’s course is great if you need a badge/certificate of achievement for CPD purposes and it has been designed as a course so it feels like a one stop shop that includes everything you need and really guides you through creating a scenario. However, there are a lot of free resources available out there on the internet so you might not feel you need something so comprehensive after checking out the other materials.

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