Our Approach

People learn best when they are pursuing goals that they really care about and when what they learn helps them attain their goals. The best means of learning has always been experience.

- Roger Schank -

Socratic Arts specializes in producing classroom-based, virtual-classroom-based, web-mentored, and pure e-learning simulations. The leaders of our team helped develop this approach to training in the early 1990s at The Institute for the Learning Sciences, at Northwestern University, where we developed e-learning simulations.

We have continued our work developing simulations for a variety of clients, to teach a range of skills, both hard and soft. We now call our simulations “Story-Centered Curricula” because each simulation centers on a rich, engaging story which is closely analogous to situations the learners experience or will soon experience in their real-world work. The learners play a central role in the story, where they work to achieve one or more significant objectives over a series of tasks.

Story-Centered Curriculum

The idea behind the Story-Centered Curriculum (SCC) is that a good curriculum should consist of a story in which students play a key role (for example, VP of Information Security at a financial services company). The roles are those that the graduate of such a program might actually take on in real life or might need to know about (because he or she will manage or collaborate with someone who performs that role). Students, working in groups, are given detailed information about the simulated company they are working for together with detailed and authentic projects. Supporting materials and resources are provided and experts and mentors are available to answer questions and point students in the right direction on an as-needed basis.

The effect of the SCC model is that as participants work to achieve the missions the story puts forth, they learn the critical skills needed to successfully accomplish their tasks. The SCC implements true learning-by-doing, integrating all aspects of real-world tasks, as opposed to teaching skills independently, without context.

An SCC can be delivered entirely online, in person, or as a live/online combination. Participants can meet as a group face-to-face or using the latest online collaboration tools. Similarly, interactions with mentors can take place in person or via synchronous or asynchronous on-line tools.

Download the full Story-Centered Curriculum white paper (44k PDF), which describes the SCC approach in the context of a university curriculum.