Goal-based scenarios, introduced by Roger Schank, are a model of constructivist learning that combines case-based learning with learning by doing. Goal-based scenarios teach a set so steps need to take in order to accomplish desired goal. According to Schank,
Schank starts from the assumption that
Learning in school is unsuccessful for children since it replaces natural learning goals which were fostered by curiosity and desire to learn the world by artificial goals assigned to them by someone else. Instead of learning to be able to do something, children at that time start to learn in order to please the teacher, get good grades, or in order get into a good college. Goal-based scenarios serve here as a mean of achieving educational purposes by attempting to achieve set of scenario goals which are more meaningful and motivating for the learners.
Essential elements of a goal-based scenario are3):
Proponents of goal-based scenarios emphasize the effect goal-based scenarios have on motivation and thereby enhance learning. One of the conducted studies4) for example found positive effects on learning of a hypertext presented information source embedded in a goal-based scenario compared to classical tutorial or just the hypertext.
A goal-based scenario described by Schank5):
“Develop a mutant bacterial strain capable of producing human insulin in sufficient quantity to meet the needs of a diabetic patient.”
“This GBS would be presented in the following terms. The human body contains a gland called the pancreas. Certain cells in the pancreas produce and secrete a hormone called insulin. Johnny's pancreas does not produce enough insulin, so Johnny has a dangerous condition called diabetes. To avoid the symptoms of diabetes, Johnny must take insulin every day. How can he get enough insulin? YOUR ASSIGNMENT is to develop a way to make bacteria produce insulin that you can give to Johnny. In the course of working through this GBS, students could learn the following skills:”
In 1991 Roger Schank created a goal-based scenario named “Broadcast News”. This multimedia environment including facilities for editing text and video, old newspapers articles and newscasts, reference works, a teleprompter, video camera, and a computer-controlled VCR enables students to work on a virtual newscast, develop story lines using information from a database (usually from a day before), and compare them with a real newscast for the same event. As the result, students have eventually developed adequate skills to deliver the news as professionals.
For an example of implementation of a computer implementation of goal-based scenarios see work of Qiu and Riesbeck6).
A recent study of goal-based scenarios7) indicated that users of this method of learning would benefit from worked examples, detailed positive or negative feedback and small-group discussions of open-ended questions. Yet these are mostly proven methods of guided cognitivist learning approaches which often contribute less to motivation but more to learning outcomes.
Schank, Roger C. Goal-Based Scenarios: Case-Based Reasoning Meets Learning by Doing. In: David Leake (ed) Case-Based Reasoning: Experiences, Lessons & Future Directions. AAAI Press/The MIT Press, p295-347. 1996.