“The Proffer”: Using Scenarios for Instructional Technology Planning

“The Proffer”: Using Scenarios for Instructional Technology Planning

Shalin Hai-Jew (Kansas State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-198-6.ch013
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Most tools for instructional technology research, design, and development are specific and short-term. They are non-fictional (real) or based fully in facts and realities. One tool, however, allows for a long-term visioning: the use of fictional scenarios. Scenarios purposefully are non-linear. They are not simply trend-lines that project into the future. Rather, scenarios emulate the unpredictability of the world—with unintended consequences, accidents, surprise discoveries, and punctuated equilibrium-types of leaps in progress. They use the human imagination—to play out fictional possibilities with the understanding that elements of the scenario may well be real in the future. This allows for broadbased planning, particularly for endeavors that make take many years to actualize; this type of planning also allows the complex integration of multiple technologies simultaneously and to understand the potential interplay between these—in the human realm. This chapter focuses on the use of a fictional scenario about a future e-learning space to depict how a scenario might work in the instructional technology research, design, and development realm, and particularly in application to instructional development and practice. This scenario strategy draws from other fields like disaster planning and management, policy-making, security studies, and military studies.
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About The Scenario

This scenario is focused on J4, who has a time-critical challenge. As a government agent, he is trying to meet up with an elusive researcher whose brilliant and shadowy work is threatening to the present social order. This scenario tracks with real-world realities of nation-states constantly assessing each other’s capabilities—including those of their respective populations. In this world view, ideas are dangerous; ideas are salvation. This confrontation has the potential for long-term implications—none of them fully predictable.

This short story then is debriefed factually given the extant research information of where the online learning environments technologies are headed. With the disappearing of computers being built into the lived, carpentered environment, the artificiality of virtual immersiveness has seeped into augmented reality spaces. Objects in this space have become metameric (different essential objects that share similar stimuli signals and so misleading perceivers as to their actual natures)—with experienced mixes of the real and the coded. The real seems digital; the digital seems real. Information is pervasive and atmospheric and delivered and interchanged within the system as part of the lifeblood of the mixed environment. The learning is moment-to-moment, fast, and occasionally high-value and high-risk. “The Proffer” plays on the idea of transactional exchanges (with people trading strategic information and benefits with each other), in an asymmetrical data environment, with known and unknown effects.

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