CYOA Real-World Scenarios Effectively Assess Comprehension of Complex Topics

When training content requires critical thinking and decision-making, choose-your-own-adventure (CYOA), real-world scenarios are highly effective assessment tools. 

Graphic that restates the title: CYOA Real-World Scenarios Effectively Assess Comprehension of Complex Topics

Overall Challenge

Adult learning topics often go beyond the type of information that can be memorized and regurgitated on an exam. While designing effective training for complex and multifaceted content is difficult, assessing a learner’s comprehension of that content post-training may be even more difficult! The typical multiple-choice test is not going to be sufficient. 

Designing an assessment that captures how the learner would use the new knowledge in their day-to-day role is an optimal solution (as close to the real thing as possible), but that’s more easily said than done.

There are AR and VR solutions for roles that require technical expertise (e.g., flight simulators), but that is usually beyond the budget of the typical Medical Affairs department. It’s worth mentioning though, that there are companies that offer simulations of activities like KOL conversations. 

Image of a patient and a physician in an interaction.


* Versant LS does not get any type of compensation for mentioning the above companies. 


A practical solution is to design an eLearning (or live) assessment that is as similar to the employee’s realworld situation as possible. Once the scenario is built, it’s time to populate it with thoughtful and thought-provoking questions that require critical thinking and decision-making. These scenarios provide you (the trainer or instructional designer) with the opportunity to ask “good-better-best” type questions rather than “right-wrong” questions. 

Graphic showing the branching that occurs in a CYOA training as the learner makes decisions

Compliance is a great example of a common Medical Affairs training topic that has many gray areas. For a nuanced topic like this, case-based scenarios with “good-better-best” branches, really help a learner understand the consequences of their decisions.  

Example of a branching scenario about adverse events of a drug

Click here to test your knowledge about adverse event (AE) reporting, a pharmacovigilance-related activity that everyone across the organization must be trained and proficient in. The company’s very ability to operate is at risk if AE reporting is not conducted correctly by a company’s employees


This project required intensive instructional design. The eLearning course included 5 different scenarios, each with unique branching patterns and outcomes. The course had to be complex and interactive enough to keep a learner engaged, but not so twisty and unpredictable that the learner left the assessment feeling confused or discouraged. 

First page of a module with green geometric shapes and text that says "Pharmacovigilance." This was built to walk MSLs through scenarios.












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