Interactive & Instructional Design  > Designing Meaningful Clinical Scenario Questions for eLearning

Designing Meaningful Clinical Scenario Questions for eLearning

Published by de Souza Institute

I wrote this design guide for the University Health Network’s Health Care Education Conference, Convergence 2021, to help instructional designers and educators at the hospital write better clinical scenario questions for eLearning that encourage application of clinical reasoning.

The design guide is intended to help other instructional designers and educators write effective clinical scenario questions for eLearning practice activities. It includes instructional design tips for designing the stem, options, and feedback. The guide also includes a step-by-step template to help you get started.

Download Design Guide 

Anatomy of a Clinical Scenario Question

With many in-person workshops moving online in 2020, the loss of immediate instructor feedback makes it important to incorporate effectively designed practice activities in eLearning modules. Many eLearning modules include practice questions that ask learners to simply recall facts, while not giving learners the opportunity to practice practical clinical reasoning. Clinical scenario questions are multiple-choice questions that present an authentic clinical task or problem, and then ask the learners to respond in a clinically-realistic way. After choosing their response, learners are provided with immediate and meaningful feedback that is based on the learner’s specific response. With effectively designed feedback, learners are more able to see the consequences of their simulated clinical choices and revise their choices based on the consequences presented.


Interactive Examples

Try some examples of clinical scenario practice activities below.  These examples are taken from a recent palliative care course series I worked on at the de Souza Institute. These examples were created using H5P.

Icon citations: Icons are derivatives of “Checklist” , “human brain”, “Stethoscope”, and “Stomach” by Laymik from the Noun Project (, Used under CC BY 3.0 (