Cognitive Load

Scenario-based Learning: Negotiating by Phone

A dialogue simulation is an interactive exercise that imitates a real conversation with a person: a customer, a staff member, or a colleague. It helps people master communication skills without any risk of scuttling a deal or damaging relations with a client. This simulation (Negotiating by Phone) teaches bank employees to manage conversations, ask questions correctly, overcome objections, and invite clients to an office meeting (iSpring, 2018).

The simulation authors provide this kind of learning to improve their employees’ skills with dialogue simulations. This simulation has three learner outcomes. The student will:
• negotiate with a client over the phone
• invite a client to a face to face meeting
• manage discussions with diverse types of clients

The Elements of the Instructional Material
• The simulation can be shared on the internet, as well as an intranet.
• Printing this activity would not be effective.
• Every page has some visual variety.
• Each character has several “emotions”. The characters have neutral faces, happy faces, and unhappy faces.
• The branching scenario uses the “3C’s – challenge, choices, consequences” method (Snegirev, 2016).
• The scenario is engaging.

Analysis of the Instructional Material
• The learner objectives/outcomes are stated at the beginning of the scenario.
• After a wrong answer, there is a “what could you have done instead?” prompt to more information on a “learning slide”. The learning slide explains that specific part of the scenario or customer question.
• After “unwise’ choices, the scenario “pauses” for questions from the “teacher” (e.g. What questions should you ask? What could you have done differently?). The scenario resumes after suggestions or hints.
• The material is broken into small chunks of information and questions.
• Color-blocking (shading behind text) helps the reader scan the material quickly.
• The scenario ends when the student invites the customer to the office for a meeting (successful resolution of the scenario).
• At the end, there is a choice for obtaining the correct answers on screen. In addition, answers can be printed.
• There was no audio. Audio would be an appropriate choice, especially for students who do not speak English as a first language.
• There is a small “gage’ in the top right side, that is “an emotion meter”. There was no explanation of the gage. It was not intuitive. The characters smile and thumbs up when they are pleased. The emotion meter was not necessary.

The scenario/simulation is an example of several principles of multi-media learning (Mayer, 2001). The principles that applied to this scenario are:

  1. Temporal Contiguity Principle – People learn better when corresponding words and pictures are presented simultaneously rather than successively. The scenario had text that corresponded with different characters.
  2. Segmenting Principle – People learn better from a multimedia lesson is presented in user-paced segments rather than as a continuous unit. The content was chunked. There were different sections:
    • Client reasons for opening a CD
    • Client experience with banking experiences
    • Client expectations of new bank
    It was possible to pause the scenario and come back to it at a later time.
    • Multimedia Principle – People learn better from words and pictures than from words alone. The scenario could have been done with no customer and bank officer, but having them “interact” made the scenario more realistic .
  3. Personalization Principle – People learn better from multimedia lessons when words are in conversational style rather than formal style. The scenario used every-day language.

REFERENCES (2005). Retrieved November 12, 2018, from

Mayer, R. E. (2001). 12 Principles of Multimedia Learning[Pdf]. Hartford: University of Hartford.

Posukhova, E. (2018, July 12). Black Belt In Negotiations: How to Improve Your Employees’ Skills with Dialogue Simulations. Retrieved November 12, 2018, from

Snegirev, S. (2017, December 27). The 3 Cs Of Branching Scenarios. Retrieved November 12, 2018, from