The Bar Scenario is a branching simulation addressing professional boundaries in a case management situation. It was created in BranchTrack in collaboration with a Subject Matter Expert. The goal was to provide a realistic, yet fun, simulation of a time when a case manager may react in the moment and not maintain a correct professional boundary with a consumer of services.
To get the most out of the simulation, I wanted to play with the learner’s cognitive load. In the real situation, the case manager would make a series of seemingly inconsequential decisions. Among those, they would make a choice may lead to breaching professional boundaries. In simulation, it was important to not highlight these decisions, so that the learner would be less likely to think critically about a choice.
Then, the correct way to present the simulation is a mirror; the learner should not be presented with the most important choice as if it were such, instead they should be presented with choices that all feel the same. This allows the learner to feel like they are “caught up” in the simulation, and increases the chances they would make the same type of decision they would in real life.
This simulation is quite short, with only two important decisions that create branches. It is used in combination with other scenarios to allow learners to explore complex and nebulous topics in an environment that is safe for failure.