We accelerate expertise using scenario-driven training.

ShadowBox is unlike other training.

We develop challenging, thought provoking scenarios that accelerate expertise. The goal is for trainees, who lack years of domain experience, to make decisions more like those individuals who have expertise in their field.

ShadowBox training consists of four core components: the scenario, decision points, expert feedback, and trainee insights.

ShadowBox Method

These are the core components of ShadowBox. Our method is based on over 30 years of experience in studying decision making in complex, high-stress situations.

01 Scenarios

First, trainees experience a true-to-life scenario that encompasses complex issues they may encounter in their work. Scenarios provide engaging stories in multi-media formats – including video, images, and text.

02 Decision

Within each scenario, trainees encounter realistic decision points, generated with the help of experts. Decision points challenge the trainee to make a decision involving ranking or categorizing multiple options. Most importantly, they must provide their reasons for their decision by articulating a rationale statement that explains their perspective.

03 Feedback

After each decision point, trainees compare their decision with rankings and rationale from a panel of experts. Trainees see the scenario through the eyes of the experts by reading targeted feedback for each decision.

04 Insights

During and after each scenario, trainees reflect on how their perspective compares to their peers and to the experts. This reflection fosters the development of insights that will aid in the evolution from novice to expert thinking.

Implementing ShadowBox

We offer a range of strategies to meet a client’s specific objectives. We partner with our clients to create solutions to their toughest problems.

Goal Identification

We work with our client partners to understand their organization’s unique goals and challenges. We collaborate to build a training plan to address those needs.

Cognitive Interviews

We help our clients identify experts in their organization and elicit their expertise during cognitive interviews. Our team is highly experienced in a variety of techniques designed to extract key information that experts often find difficult to articulate.

Scenario Development

We build realistic and challenging scenarios that incorporate findings from our cognitive interviews. Our scenarios incorporate challenging decisions and insights from experts in your organization and can be presented in a variety of formats, including videos, images, and text. 

Training Delivery

ShadowBox training delivery is flexible and can be modified to fit your organization’s specific needs. We offer web-based training, small group training led by a skilled facilitator, and text-based scenarios. ShadowBox can be used in face-to-face training sessions or for distance learning.


We employ a variety of strategies for evaluating the impact of ShadowBox. We work with your organization to identify the most appropriate metrics and outcomes for measuring success.

Ongoing Support

We support clients in developing a sustainable ShadowBox training program. We offer ‘train the trainer’ courses for developing facilitation skills and scenario writing skills so that ShadowBox can address future challenges.

ShadowBox is not about training people to follow procedures.

We focus on deeper components of expertise, such as:

Critical Thinking

Does your staff struggle to recognize when procedures are not enough? Are they able to notice anomalies and recognize when something just isn’t right? Are they able to anticipate potential problems?


Is your staff faced with diagnosing problems and determining how to overcome technological and system malfunctions before they become catastrophic?

Decision Making

Does your staff understand organizational goals and legal and safety constraints well enough to make good decisions in the moment when they can have the strongest impact?


Does your staff struggle with managing people in high-pressure situations and using the right “people” skills to move the needle toward trust?


Does your organization struggle with helping junior staff get the experience they need to quickly and accurately size up a situation? Is your staff uncomfortable when required to go beyond “checking the boxes” to determine appropriate courses of action?

Changing Mindsets

Do some of your staff get locked into non-productive mindsets like rigid rule-following or adopting an authoritarian stance when interacting with others?

Approach FAQs

In-depth Cognitive Task Analysis can take months. At ShadowBox, we are continually working out ways to make the front-end work more efficient so that more resources can be devoted to training. Given access to skilled practitioners, we are able to generate cognitive training requirements in as little as one week. These requirements are the foundation of scenario design.

ShadowBox offers workshops designed to help your staff develop scenario writing skills. See our Services page for more information.

The term ‘expert’ can be loaded. We are looking for the skilled practitioners in your organization. These are the people others turn to when they have a tough problem or are unsure how to proceed. We like to work with 3-5 of these individuals to incorporate their insights into our scenarios.

The first step is to send us an email. Please include information about the organizational challenges your company is facing.