Being There: Closing the Gap between Learners and Contextual Knowledge Using Near-World Scenarios

By Edward Peter Errington.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The use of near-world scenarios by university teachers to deliver relevant and authentic adult learning opportunities is becoming increasingly popular as the pressure to bridge perceived gaps between subject theory and professional practice comes to the fore.

This paper proffers the idea that near-world scenarios, explored via role-play, mental projection, discussion and/or debate, can provide an excellent experiential vehicle for tertiary students to align subject/disciplinary knowledge with professional practice. Such scenarios can also provide a base for critical thinking, decision-making, and the testing out of ideas.

The author points out a range of factors that likely determine the success, or otherwise of near-world scenarios in intended educational outcomes: In particular, he focuses on the social construction of scenarios, the ways that tutor-facilitator language adjusts by design or default the depth of engagement; the need for a 'willing suspension of disbelief' by learners and tutors; learner perceptions of relevance; and, the (professional) authenticity of assessment and learning.

The author uses several in-depth near-world scenario examples to demonstrate how these factors may work singularly or in combination to engage or alienate student involvement.

Keywords: Near-world Scenarios, Experiential Learning, Contextual Knowledge, Student Engagement, Critical Thinking

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 8, pp.585-594. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.255MB).

Dr. Edward Peter Errington

Academic Development Adviser, Teaching & Learning Development, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Dr. Edward Errington is an academic development adviser based in the Teaching and Learning Development section of James Cook University (JCU). He has a background as a primary & secondary drama teacher, arts educator, teacher educator, and academic development adviser in the UK, New Zealand and Australia. At JCU, he works with teachers from all disciplines to help them provide authentic and relevant learning opportunities for their students. He has presented scenario- based work in 12 countries so far, and has published six non-fiction books and numerous book chapters and articles on drama education and the efficacy of scenario-based learning approaches in higher education.


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