Scenario- based learning stages a context, within which learners live and work in their everyday life. It’s based on the concept of situated cognition, which is the idea that knowledge can not be developed and fully understood independent of its context(Randall 2002). Scenario-based learning puts the student in a situation or context and exposes them to issues, challenges and dilemmas and asks them to apply knowledge and practice skills relevant to the situation (

Scenario- based learning has particular advantages for practice- based discipline areas where the experience of practitioners is especially relevant to what constitutes knowledge and understanding in the field. Using scenario-based learning in the field of Healthcare has brought forward many such advantages to learners that count on practical experience in everyday activities.

Let us consider a case where Indira Gandhi National Open University conducted such a scenario-based learning project. 10 academic programs were chosen to be included into this project.

The following frame work was given to develop the scenarios:
1. Define critical competencies for graduates of the program
2. Identify learning outcomes for students in the program
3. Identify learning context and develop suitable learning scenarios that reflect the events in life and work of persons who have acquired these competencies
4. Define learning activities assessable and non assessable tasks.
5. Identify all learning resources and instructional opportunities
6. Identify and define cooperative and collaborative learning opportunities using technologies.
7. Identification and definition of opportunities for feedback and remediation.

Let us study a sample scenario as an example:

Discipline: Civil Engineering

Topic: Structural Analysis

Learning Objectives:

1) To distinguish between static and dynamic loads
2) To conceptualize the influence lines
3) To differentiate between Influence Line Diagram (ILD) and Bending Moment Diagram (BMD)


It was a shining morning of October. All students of your class are in cheerful mood traveling to Roorkee in Jan- Shatabdi Express for educational trip with Prof. Dutta.
Suddenly, you feel a shock as train stops abruptly. While waiting for the train to re- start, it is leant that due to some accident on the bridge ahead, the train will not move at least for next 5 hrs.
Out of curiosity you all move to the accident site with Prof Datta. You observe that there is a lot of distortion of the track and even the rails have gone out of place. While discussing the reasons of track failure, Amit points out the presence of visible cracks in the side beam
of the bridge. Suresh asks Prof. Datta whether the bridge failure is due to excess loading.

In turn, Prof. Datta asks the students, whether they remember different types of loading on the structures. You all start naming the different types of loading, you have seen earlier.

Learning Activity 1:

a) List out the different types of loading on structures.
b) Categorize the above list into static and dynamic loads.

After going through the list, Prof. Dutta asks you that why the live loads are not considered as dynamic load when the movement of goods and human beings are considered in the live load.

Learning Activity 2:

Identify the characteristics of static loads and dynamic loads.

Prof. Datta asks the learners to tie a rope across two poles tightly. He then asks Suresh to hang four bricks at four different places and observe the deflected shape of the rope.

Simulation 1: Prof Datta asks you to remove the three bricks from the rope starting from the right pole and observe the deflection of rope at mid point.

simulation activity

Simulation 2: The he asks to repeat the same exercise by moving the brick at points B, C , D and E subsequently and observe the deflection at mid point each time.

simulation activity

Conclusion: The whole scenario-based learning program was developed to be very challenging and was able to completely immerse the learners into the learning cycle.