Experiential Learning through Virtual Scenarios

Experiential Learning through Virtual Scenarios

Rossignol Karen Le (Deakin University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-874-1.ch019
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With workplaces potentially including four generations, the differing motivations and learning styles provide new challenges to educators, as well as managers and leaders of these workforces. The Net Generation learner of the twenty first century, born after 1980 and digital media fluent, brings potentially greater collaboration and connection to knowledge and learning as a collective, rather than individual, learning process. A postgraduate Masters in Communication course explored immersive learning in two collaborative virtual and workplace-oriented environments. The Net Generation learners were able to identify the connective and experiential nature of their engagement in the virtual scenario and experiential collaborative project as being both transforming and transferable to the workplaces they were targeting through their coursework programs. The case studies explored the neomillennial learning styles as a media-based framework for designing learning tools and environments appropriate for the twenty first century learner.
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The learner of the twenty first century may be prepared to take control of their learning, but this learner is best resourced or facilitated by educational designers and teachers whose perspective comes from the point of view of the learner. This approach has arisen from a tradition of constructivist learning theory as developed from the findings and conclusions of Dewey (1916), Piaget (as described by Atherton 2005) and others. According to constructivist theory, learners did not see knowledge as independent of the meaning they constructed for it from their own experiences (Hein, 1991). This has led to a focus on the learner, more than the knowledge to be taught, and has been strongly aligned with experiential learning principles (Dede, 2005a). Active involvement of the learner, emphasized by social constructivists such as Von Glasersfeld (1989), has assisted learners in finding their own explanations of their environment, moving them from a passive to an active role. As Dede (2005a) has recommended, it is therefore useful to start the exploration of experiential learning approaches with a profile of the learner. To achieve this, we shall begin our exploration with a review of Net Generation and neomillennial learners.

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