Interactive Case Study
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“Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand.” There's not a teacher, trainer or educator past their first year in service who has not heard this well worn Chinese proverb. So why is it then that our global education system has become so entrenched in 'tell'? Why is it that with such an immense capacity for learning, wonder and insight, our brains are subjected to an often inanimate and unconscious individual speaking at around 150 words per minute for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week for 12 years. We call this education, and we know no better way. Or do we?
In the last 10 years, there has been a remarkable change in how we learn. We are in the midst of a fundamental revolution in how we find, absorb, share, utilise and retain information. eLearning has been largely marginalised and relegated to become a sort of carob of the chocolate world. For some, it cannot and will never replace face to face interactions. However with the advent of web 2.0 technologies, will instructional designers, teachers and trainers be able to create a truly lasting and memorable learning experience without the 'tell'?
This module seeks to utilise a rapid eLearning software interaction to demonstrate just how interactive it can be made to be. Often, the subject of templates and interactions in eLearning is met with derisory sniggers and dismissive gesturing, and perhaps there is good reason for that. The word 'interactive' is usually a euphemism for 'has buttons'.
In this case, however the learner is not dictated to as to the content they may use to solve the learning problem. There are no right or wrong answers in the assessment, and they are free to roam PDF documents, relevant video interviews, government websites and advisory services in order to prepare for the case study. In short, they are provided with a sandpit in which to play with no consequences save a bruised ego.
The question is "Can the 'show me' and 'involve me' experience be successfully created using eLearning?"
Andragogy is changing rapidly to accommodate the way we now communicate and learn. The exponential rise in popularity of technologies such as social media platforms, video based web resources and smart phones had led to more traditional forms of 'push' education being challenged by 'pull' approaches which allow a freedom hitherto unknown to us.
This module explores the 'pull' based technologies and assesses their value in creating a truly engaging and interactive learning experience.
Our 24/7 wired world now allows for a colossal volume of information to be simply available within seconds. The answers that used to be accessed through years and years of study, experience and absorption in books is now rendered obsolete as it can now be assessed almost immediately. This changes things. A world that has for thousands of years revered knowledge above all, must now adjust to the fact of its diminishing importance.
According to Nilan (2001), students find their experiences in traditional academic environments has almost nothing to do with their real lives. Their lives revolve around the dynamic and enticing world of an information flow that never shuts down. At any moment they can find out what their 300 friends are doing right now, watch their favourite show from anywhere and hear what has happened to that celebrity they despise on the red carpet within minutes. How can traditional education possibly hope to hold their attention for more than a few seconds, let alone compete?
Dede (2005) talks of "neomillennial learning styles", referring to Web 2.0, multiuser virtual environments, and smart phones. He argues for five new learning styles involving fluency in multiple media, communal learning, expression through non-linear associational webs, co-design of learning experiences and experiential learning. If these are now the preferred or default learning styles of our youth, then we need to explore exactly how these can be incorporated into our existing eLearning technologies as quickly as possible.
This project uses rapid eLearning software to attempt to challenge and engage learners using video, sound, images, and interactive touch points. The project features the Engage software from Articulate. It incorporates:
- slide transitions
- Questions and Answers
- music / Audio
This module employs the model of 'experiential eLearning, as described by Carver et al in 2007. It ensures that the learner is engaged in those activities which will directly reflect their experiences in the real world. This module follows this model in providing the learner with several scenarios for which they are required to research before answering.
At the beginning of the module, the learner is asked to prepare for a meeting with three different parties, all of whom may be interested in learning more about the services of a mortgage brokers. Under their newly imposed regulatory requirements, the learner must then respond to the parties in alignment with the guidelines provided by ASIC, the industry regulator.
To achieve this, the learner is provided with a number of opportunities to prepare. They may immediately access the attachments function within the module and find an Information Guide produced by the Australian Government and the Regulatory Guide itself. They are also able to access an online video of a senior trainer talking about the regulations, the ASIC website, along with a web hosted PDF document citing case studies for reference. They are by no means limited to only these, and will be encouraged to network with other colleagues, visit online forums or to simply "phone a friend".
In this way, the learner is empowered to find their own answers and draw their own conclusions. This is helpful as a huge challenge of this topic is that ASIC provide no clear answer as to what is compliant and what is not. The broker will always have to go through this process when dealing with clients. This is the power of the interactions. They exactly replicate the process brokers will go through in dealing with clients in their daily lives.
Advantages of Case Studies in eLearning
- Brings a real life scenario to a foreign environment
- Learners may relate more readily to a given situation
- Increases learning and attention span (Hannafin, 1985)
- Meets the needs of adult learners in providing context
- Creates a compelling and vicarious learning environment
- Provides a problem to solve
This module, within the confines of the technology has provided an additional level of engagement and interactivity to a very rudimentary flash interaction. The base template is simply a point and click "what is this?" interaction, however with creative use it has become something much deeper. The interaction demands that the learner assess a case study and profile their customer, decide the best course of action in engaging them, reflect on what that interaction may have resulted in, and receive non-imposing feedback on how they might re-phrase or approach the customer int he future. This level of cognitive processing is usually reserved for face to face role plays, and is the closest thing to it within the confines of an asynchronous module.
Learners will apply their declarative and procedural knowledge gained from accessing the resources, then be challenged to demonstrate higher order conceptual and meta-cognitive knowledge in interacting with the case studies. There are many more possibilities that have arisen during the creation of this module, however given the limited resources available this interaction achieves its aim of challenging the learner to demonstrate their understanding, rather than a simple re-expression of factual data.
Carver, R., King, R., Hannum, W. H., & Fowler, B. (2007). Toward a model of experiential e-learning. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 3, 247-256.
Dede, C. (2005), "Planning for Neomillennial Learning Styles", EDUCAUSE Quarterly 7 (1), 7-12, date of access: 24 September 2011, http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/EQM0511.pdf
Nilan, P. (2001), "From 'Sesame Street' to the 'Soapies': Classroom Politics and popular culture" in Sociology of Education: Possibilities and Practices, ed Jennifer Allen (Katoomba: Social Science Press)
media rich learning, instructional design, articulate engage, e learning, eLearning, web 2.0, interactive case studies, scenario based learning