E-Simulations for Educating the Professions in Blended Learning Environments

E-Simulations for Educating the Professions in Blended Learning Environments

Dale Holt (Deakin University, Australia), Stephen Segrave (Deakin University, Australia) and Jacob L. Cybulski (Deakin University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2919-6.ch050
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Abstract

This chapter introduces digital, role-based simulations as an emerging and powerful educational approach for the professions and for broader workforce development purposes. It is acknowledged that simulations used for education, professional development, and training, have a long history of development and use. The focus is on digital simulations (e-simulations) situated in blended learning environments and the improved affordances of the newer digital media used via the web to enhance the value of their contribution to learning and teaching in professional and vocationally-oriented fields. This is an area which has received less attention in the whole “e-learning” literature compared with the voluminous body of knowledge and practice on computer-mediated communication, online community building, social networking, and various forms of online (usually automated) assessment. A framework of blended e-simulation design is outlined. The chapter concludes by examining what the future might hold for simulations in further and higher education, and ongoing work-based learning.
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The Changing Contexts Of Higher Education And Training

In the 21st century, higher education must meet a number of new (and continuing) challenges. External pressures have forced institutions to focus strongly on vocational courses at the expense of more scholarly classical studies. Reduced finances available from governments have led to the constant need to find alternative funding arrangements. Extra demands are placed on academic staff to do more with less in respect to their teaching and research. The nature of student cohorts has changed quite considerably, with respect to diversity in ability, cultural background, learning preferences, technology experience, levels of motivation, and the time they are able or willing to spend on their study (Biggs, 2003). The following are typical observations made by teachers of the newer generation of students:

  • They have less time for everything.

  • They pay less attention (often to authority).

  • They demonstrate less persistence and endurance.

  • They see less need for deep knowledge.

  • They have somewhat less fear of failure and are open to pursuing alternatives and new options.

  • They see their new wealth as buying results and act like pragmatic customers or consumers of (educational) services.

  • They undertake a critical rating of benefit for the effort they expend.

  • They consistently value friends and networks.

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