Exploring Real-World Scenarios as Vehicles for Authentic Learning
Arguments have been advanced over the past two decades about the need to embed authentic learning opportunities within higher education curricula. This paper posits the idea that real-world scenarios, explored via simulation, discussion and/or debate can provide excellent vehicles for helping students as would-be professionals bridge the gap between subject/discipline-based theory and professional practice. Such authenticity is advanced through scenarios which include emotional as well as cognitive learning dimensions, simulate complex workplace relationships, and invite students to participate in deep level learning tasks. The author discusses four kinds of scenario that may be used to achieve specific authentic learning intentions. He demonstrates, by example, how students can singularly, or in groups/teams, explore real-world problems, investigate a range of human issues, and speculate on both past and present events. The author reports that through direct exploration of scenarios, students come to realize that all human knowledge is interrelated, it is important to take an informed stand on significant issues, and the quality and direction of speculations on future events are invariably governed by who and what they are now. He concludes that singularly, and in combination, real-life scenarios can be used to render a true sense of authentic, relevant learning.
Keywords: Real-World Scenarios, Authentic Learning, Higher Education
Dr. Edward Peter Errington
Academic Development Adviser, Teaching & Learning Development, James Cook University