Interactive scenario design: The value of flowcharts and schemas in developing scenario-based lessons for online and flexible learning contexts


  • Terry M Stewart Massey University
  • Mark Brown Massey University
  • Anna Weatherstone Massey University


A web-delivered problem-based scenario was designed for use in a distance education professional development workshop for academics, and also as a stand-alone module. Early scenario design and development was assisted with flowcharts and iterative table-based schemas, which formalised and
documented the process before authoring in the e-tool, SBL Interactive. It is well established that such planning techniques can scaffold the course development process. While the flowcharts and schemas described in this paper are designed for use with this tool, the methodology described for their use as planning tools applies generally to the design of interactive
electronically-delivered problem-based scenarios. They also allow scenario descriptions and content to be archived and shared in an easily accessible form. The paper illustrates the basic principle that, when designing a course, there are many choices about what, when, where, and how to teach. It provides an account of how conventional design techniques can be
used alongside new e-tools to systematically select and optimise the most appropriate instructional blend for a particular learning context.

Author Biographies

Terry M Stewart, Massey University

Terry Stewart has used and developed tools for scenariobased learning within his own discipline of plant protection for over 21 years. This activity won him a New
Zealand Tertiary Teaching Award for Innovation in 2003 and a DEANZ award in 2008. He is currently seconded
from his home institute (Institute of Natural Resources) on a part-time e-learning fellowship to facilitate and
promote scenario-based learning at Massey University.

Mark Brown, Massey University

Mark Brown is the Director of Distance Education at Massey University. He is a member of the New Zealand Academy of Tertiary Teaching Excellence and is past
recipient of a National Award for Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching. Associate Professor Brown currently chairs the University’s Teaching and Learning Committee.

Anna Weatherstone, Massey University

Anna Weatherstone has worked in distance education for 20 years. Her activity in this time has included designing, writing, and teaching distance courses. She is currently a teaching consultant at Massey University, providing
academic development in the area of instructional design for teaching and learning at a distance.