Software Environments for Scenario-based Learning: a “snapshot” comparison of some available tools
Five software packages designed to support scenario-based learning were examined. This report compares their attributes against desirable features which support this paradigm.
Support for this work was provided by the Ako Aotearoa Regional Hub Project Funding scheme
In its broadest sense scenario-based learning refers to learning that occurs in a context, situation or social framework. It's based on the concept of situated cognition which is the idea that knowledge can't be known and fully understood independent of its context (Kindley, 2002). In this sense it is seen as an advanced learning paradigm and one that assists with both student motivation and the uptake of skills.
Another definition, more specific and focusing on the paradigm within an e-learning environment, is offered by The University of London (2009):…
“Scenario-based learning puts the student in a situation or context and exposes them to issues, challenges and dilemmas and asks them to apply knowledge and practice skills relevant to the situation. The student navigates through by choosing options and is given feedback based upon their choice.”
Typically, a lesson designed around an interactive problem-based scenario would involve some kind of narrative, story or “setting”, some kind of tutor guidance and feedback where appropriate, assessment components (quizzes etc,) and the ability for students to make decisions which may have consequences in their scenario.
Although scenario-based e-learning lessons can be authored and delivered using simple webpages, there are some software programs that have been designed specifically for this paradigm. The authors have a role in encouraging and supporting staff wishing to develop scenario-based lessons at Massey University. One of the motivations for this study was to enable the authors to choose the best “fit-to-purpose” package for scenario-based lessons staff may be interested in producing, and also for their own research purposes into this paradigm. It was also felt a comparison of this nature would be of interest to other tertiary teachers developing lessons of this nature.
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