Like Someone You Know: Scenario-Based Simulation to Improve Academic and Life Skills

Like Someone You Know: Scenario-Based Simulation to Improve Academic and Life Skills

Peter Fadde (Southern Illinois University Carbondale, USA) and Lisa Peden (Southern Illinois University Carbondale, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3676-7.ch016

Abstract

The director of a university tutoring center collaborates with an Instructional Design and Technology professor and his students to develop an interactive multimedia format that presents at-risk college students with stories of people like them dealing with academic, financial, and personal issues. The scenario-based simulations (SBS) prompt students in a study skills course to openly, but safely, discuss the often sub-optimal decisions made by characters in the scenarios. This case takes readers inside the process of developing the SBS format from scratch. Transcribed interview comments from both the client (the tutoring center director) and the designer (the IDT professor) reveal an iterative and negotiated process rather than a systematic ADDIE process. The case highlights: 1) adapting corporate-style “soft skills” computer-based training (CBT) to higher education, 2) the role of CBT in a blended course, 3) rapid development of multimedia products, and 4) use testing of products with authentic learners.
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Setting The Stage

When the Chancellor declared State University’s commitment to addressing student retention she asked the tutoring center, under the direction of Ms. Lena Saunders, to pay special attention to incoming students who immediately experience academic difficulties. In response, Ms. Saunders developed a new course (UCOL-102) for the University College program that would be required of the 300-plus first-year students who typically earn grade-point averages between 1.0 and 2.0 in their initial semester. These students are put on academic probation and need to raise their GPA to 2.0 or above in their second semester in order to avoid academic suspension. The UCOL-102 course is not intended for extreme-risk students with a GPA below 1.0 in their first semester; these students are suspended per university policy.

Ms. Saunders wants UCOL-102 to be positive and supportive, and to provide opportunities for students to immediately apply what they learn to the other courses that they are taking. Indeed, many of the students in UCOL-102 will need to earn a GPA of nearly 3.0 in their second-semester courses in order to raise their overall GPA enough to remain academically eligible.

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