What type of project should I have for the scenario design course?

The live  scenario design course is designed to be applied to a current project, so you're actively learning instead of just attending online classes. Reading and talking about scenario design is one thing; actually doing it is something else entirely.

 The ideal project meets the following criteria:

  • The goal is to change what adults do on the job, not to help them pass a knowledge exam or just "learn about X."
  • The subject matter expert (SME) is a separate person, not you, so you can practice the interview techniques.
  • The audience is a specific group, like "employees of Division Q," and not "anyone in the world who wants to do X better."
  • The client organization wants to see a measurable improvement in performance, or you can persuade them to care.
  • The tasks that people need to perform on the job require some judgement.

If you work in education, teaching students, the scenario design course probably doesn't apply to you

If your project doesn't meet all these criteria, or you don't have a current work project, the following alternatives could work. They've all been used by past course participants.

  • An off-the-shelf course or training package that teaches how to do something: If your employer will be selling the material to a wide or unknown audience, you'll face some unique challenges in the analysis. We often discuss this issue in the course, and you'll find ways to focus your materials on changing behavior. You might also consider contacting an organization that has happily bought your materials in the past and ask them to let you interview some of their staff so you can do a real-world needs analysis.
  • A project for which you're the SME and client: You won't get to practice persuading the client and interviewing the SME, but you'll still apply a new mindset and see how the SME needs to think differently. This could be a project for your job or for your own portfolio.
  • A project for a client that won't or can't measure anything: They probably do measure something, somewhere. You can try to find that thing, or you can volunteer a pseudo-measurable change to be used in the goal. It won't be the greatest goal but it will at least help focus people on changing behavior.
  • A volunteer project: If you don't have a current work project, you might consider finding a volunteer project that has a SME who's willing to work with you. The United Nations online volunteer site is one source of projects. Make sure the project is designed to help adults do something differently, not "learn about X."
  • A past project that needs to be overhauled: Some participants have re-worked a past project, usually without access to the SME. They often don't get to practice working in a different way with the SME, and it can be hard to drastically change the design of the material, since it's hard to apply a new mindset to something that's already been created. It's easiest to overhaul a past project if its creator has left and no one feels ownership of the current design.

If you don't have a project right now, please wait to register for the course until you find one. There are multiple sessions throughout the year.