Ed’s reflection on scenario-based learning:
Scenario-based learning (SBL) founded on situated learning theory may provide one stratagem for getting students closer to the realities of their intended profession through the construction and deconstruction of authentic learning experiences. In scenario-based learning, students as aspiring professionals are presented with a scenario descriptor, (or set of realistic circumstances). This is accompanied by one or more focus questions and/or dilemmas designed to help them pursue lines of inquiry and fulfil specific learning intentions along possible pathways. Students often assume specific roles and/or at least consider perspectives that will allow them to explore the scenario from a range of vantage points. Through the crafting of the scenario and the educator’s discerning choice of focus questions, students may demonstrate a skill, procedure, pursue a problem, explore an issue, and/or speculate on knowledge. Scenario-based learning should be of interest to educators embarked on preparing graduates for the professions, or simply wanting to bridge subject theory with allied practice.
Reesa’s reflection on scenario based learning:
As a teacher-educator it has always been a challenge to connect university-based learning with classroom practice. It is so easy to get caught up in theoretical models without having the opportunity to see how they might actually play out in the classroom. This disconnect is also noted by pre-service teachers, who often feel that their 80 to 100 days of practicum is not enough to connect them with the professional lives of teachers. For me, SBL is a way to bridge this gap – presenting ‘real-life’ situations, placing the students as actors in these situations, and having them ‘practice’ working through issues in the safety of the university learning environment. I try to make the scenarios as close to real as possible, so design them in collaboration with practicing early childhood teachers and with the resources and information that might be available to teachers in the field.
Marie’s reflection on scenario-based learning:
Scenario-based learning is well-suited to the Psychology subjects I teach. For example, students can role play being the therapist in a counselling session and explore different approaches in client assessment and behaviour change within the supportive environment of the classroom setting. By varying hypothetical client psychopathology, client characteristics and behaviour, the possibilities for scenarios are endless. Scenarios bring the workplace into the classroom by creating a virtual psychotherapeutic encounter through role play.
Lyn’s reflections on scenario-based learning:
The value of SBL cannot firstly be underrated from a teaching perspective. It is the breath which connects the ‘activeness’ of learning to the theoretical pedagogy. It is a powerful, enabling strategy which allows learners to reflect upon and explore the contexts of discipline knowledge, skills and issues. I have personally witnessed the flexibility and effectiveness of SBL as a teaching methodology for a diverse array of students from differing cultural backgrounds, year levels (including bridging), and subject areas; and have never ceased to be amazed at how transformations on both individual and group levels can evolve. In particular, even students who are reticent to speak in front of the class are able to move beyond this and become actively and vocally engaged in the SBL act. It allows teaching to be explicit, transparent and open to all of our students. In essence, a necessary part of my teaching repertoire!
Amanda’s reflections on scenario-based learning (includes feedback from colleagues in Social Work and Community Welfare)
Scenario based learning offers students a more authentic and engaging learning experience and provides a great focus for a range of Teaching & Learning activities. Using scenarios is a very effective means of engaging students in the learning. Scenarios are a great way to facilitate the development of critical self awareness and reflexivity. The experiential element is very valuable to students.
Students can often relate to real life scenarios – either from parallels with their own life experience or that of someone else they know. Where as a scenario is totally beyond their own life experience, scenarios help open students’ eye to diversity and difference in human life experience and personal meanings. This is essential for would-be social workers who must learn to accept the human dignity and worth of all and avoid prejudice, lack of empathy, judgmentalism, racism excetra.
Scenario based learning enables students to attain graduate attributes. An example is the graduate attribute “The ability to speak and write clearly, coherently and creatively” In participating in lively class discussion of ethical dilemmas students learn how to argue a particular approach – both verbally and, through flow on into assignments, in writing. Scenario based learning is extremely useful in engaging students in learning the necessary skills (not just content) for professional practice. It enables all class members to be involved.