Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Importance of Using Real World Scenarios in E-Learning and In Corporate Training

Before I take you into the second half of the E-Learning Assessment event, I think it is important to recognize the value and importance of using real life scenarios and simulations as part of the instructional design of E-Learning courses. In truth, the use of such designed learning experiences are even of greater value to training departments within the business community as they are to personalized education as this post will indicate.


Ruth Colvin Clark, an author and training expert, in a research report titled:"Scenario based e-learning: Evidence-based Guidelines for Online Workforce Learning"(2012) summed up her research as supporting the following statements:

  1. Scenario based e-learning accelerates expertise. Those who have suggested that within the business environment there should be a separate track called a "Guru " track with its own process for advancement within the organization may just have an important key to fostering the development of a culture of innovation from the ground up.
  2. Learners are more motivated by scenario based e-learning than traditional instruction. What this suggests has ramifications for both training in business and professional development within education. The era of a trainer being the sage on the stage and reading PowerPoint presentation bullets to a captive audience is changing. A blended interactive scenario based form of learning will lead to greater engagement and deeper sustained learning and is on the rise and will impact organizations in ways that they have never dreamed of. Intrinsic motivation within the learner is key here and not negative extrinsic motivators that learners in the end try to subvert or completely disconnect from.
  3. "Guided discovery" learning methods, such as scenario based e-learning has been proven to be more effective. These methods are more effective because they provide guidance, structure and focused goals.
With regards to higher education research, an experiment was done by a group of professors at California State Polytechnic University to determine the level of effectiveness of scenario based learning. They evaluated scenario based learning approaches on: usability, engagement, learning outcomes and overall effectiveness.


In a paper published for the Journal of the American Society of Engineering Education, titled: "Use of Scenario Based Learning Approach in Teaching Statics" (2004) by Jawaharlal Mariappam, Angela Shih and Peter G. Schrader, they concluded that their efforts had clearly demonstrated increased learner interest in the subject and improved knowledge retention.

The key to the design of real world scenarios is that they must truly be real issues, relevant and recognizable to the learner and must not only provide the opportunity for immediate feedback but also an outlet for the creative solutions to be published in an online environment where they can be discussed, modified and to move into even greater and deeper understandings. Design thinking in  course development will help in accomplishing this.

Next... Real World Scenario---" They Can Run But They Can't Hide!"

Thursday, January 29, 2015

E-Learning Assessment--The Solution to the Location of the Emerald Key, and Feedback to Students

If the green artifacts are put in the correct order, they should look like the following:

170 E       44.5 S

Since the idea is to determine the location of the emerald key, this combination of numbers and letters refers to rough GPS coordinates. The students could collaboratively have put these coordinates into their wearable technology and come up with a country where the emerald key is found but there is a problem that they must deal with:

"How many different combinations are there of these numbers and letters and how do you know that you have the right combination?"

It is at this point they would review the possibility of other clues that they came across in their journey. First they recognize that the key is found in a country on the earth and that the directions:

S = South       and        E=East  must be part of the location.

Secondly, the clues found on Path C would also be of help. Examination of the facial characteristics of the man encountered by the student on Path C and especially the tattoo markings on the face are unique to one group of people. They are Maori in origin and they are a group of people who live in New Zealand.


When students announce that the emerald key is found in New Zealand, the glowing emerald key appears at the base of the nearby mountain, the outline of a door appears at the base of the mountain and the digital timer at the corner of their screen stops its countdown. The idea is for them to now insert the key in the door and open the door. When they enter through the door, they are met by the assessment team who now provide them with both group feedback and individual feedback.

Nature of the Assessment and the Assessment Team: It is important to understand the following:

  1. The assessment team had a part with the educator in designing the assessment events. The events were designed to measure performance of the students from different points of view or perspectives. In the end what they have developed is a learning profile for each student. For example, the assessor whose discipline was mathematics would outline how the group and students individually performed in the use of mathematics in solving the challenges. He or she would also point out the global standard for his or her discipline of mathematics that they adhere to in order to meet the evolving changes in mathematics. They would also point out how far along each student is in reaching that standard.
  2. Each assessor would contribute their discipline's perspective on the performance of the students individually and as a group in solving the challenges that they faced. An important marker in regards to group performance is the degree of collaboration, leadership, intuitive thinking, and creative effort that was shown in meeting and dealing with challenges.
  3. Assessors would also privately note students who demonstrated above average ability in those cross disciplinary skill sets that are crucial to the continued evolution of their disciplines. An offer of a mentorship relationship would be offered to promising students. This is not only to the benefit the students but also the health of the disciplines involved.
For this meeting, it is possible to use fairly recent technology to conduct the meeting. For example, the new Microsoft Hololens might be very useful as a piece of augmented technology. It would also be useful in the next real world scenario that will be used in the second half of the assessment event.

After the assessment team has provided essential feedback on the performance of the team, students are asked to give their views on the challenges and what they thought were difficulties that they faced from their point of view. They are also asked about how they would modify the assessment event to make it better from the point of view as a participant. The educator then provides his or her point of view from the perspective of the principles of learning.

Next, the leader of the assessment team explains to the students that in the second half of the assessment event they will face a challenge that deals with a real world issue in which they will have to use many of the skills that they used in the first event in order to come up with possible solutions to the problem they will face. Now that they have received feedback, the students are now much more aware of their own strengths and also of their team members. The collaborative effort can now develop to be even stronger than when they first started the event. They will keep their wearable technology and also don the new prototype VR headgear by Microsoft called "Hololens" (if available). The key that the leader gives them opens a door that leads them into a secret government research laboratory.

Next.... A new and very real world challenge!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

E-Learning Assessment--Finding the Emerald Key, Feedback to Students, Introduction to the Final Assessment Event

As students gather at the statue which looks south out over the river, they notice that there seems to be a line of  three square slots and three circular slots. The slots look like something is meant to fit in the slots. The slots located in the chest are about the size of silver dollars. They have still not found the last glowing clue that would be enough for them to solve the location of the emerald key. Time on this part of the assessment event shows that they have only 30 minutes left to solve this task and decipher the clues. The big question is:

"What do the slots mean and what possibly could fit in them?"


At this point, students have to decide on what approach will yield the most information. For example would it be a good idea to use their wearable technology, take a picture of the statue and then use the web to see if it can be identified? Would it be better to concentrate on the finding out what would fit in the slots? Should they scavenge the immediate environment to see if there are any artifacts that might match the slots or should they take an inventory of what they have gathered on their journey to see if that solves the problem? Is a division of labour the best path to solving the problem?

What skill sets from what disciplines will be needed to solve the challenge?

Hopefully, the student who had taken Path A will remember the coins that he or she stored in his or her backpack from the exploration of the ruins at the start of his or her journey. If these are placed in the right order in the slots a small door opens on the right upper arm and in it is revealed a glowing green artifact with the following symbol on it:
You now have all the clues necessary to decode which country the emerald key is found in but the real question facing the students is what does the code mean? 

"What disciplines are needed to be considered in order to solve this code?"

Also, if you were paying attention there were some additional clues to the location found on Path C.
Go ahead and try to solve it. If you think that you know the answer, post a response on LinkedIn where you will find it posted in the E-Learning 2.0 forum and also in Christopher Pappas Instructional Design and E-Learning Professionals forum. Please include your reasoning for your choice. If you would rather not post to those forums, then you can post a comment in the blog.

In the next section, we will have the solution and the assessment team will be discussed along with an introduction to the new real world scenario.....

E-Learning Assessment-The Search for the Emerald Key- Solving Challenges Under Duress

Solving challenges collaboratively when faced by an emergency situation not only reveals critical thinking abilities when faced with an e-learning simulation but also in real life situations. How people respond to challenges involving an emergency depends on how many people are on the scene of the emergency. When there are trained responders on the scene, bystanders rely on them to take charge of the situation. However, if none of the people are official emergency responders then the group waits for someone to take charge and lead.

 What happens if no one takes charge?

 One of the classic cases where people did not respond to an emergency happened  in the 1960's in New York City where thirty eight people stood by and didn't respond while a man stabbed Kitty Genovese to death. All thirty eight people thought that someone else would call the police. As a result no one did.

In the last post, students on Path B and Path C receive an emergency notification on their wearable technology unit that the student on Path A was in trouble. Students use the GPS signal from the student on Path A to go to his or her aid. They arrive on the scene to find the following situation:
  1. An unidentified snake is seen a few feet from the Path A student.
  2. The student from Path A has received a bite on the right ankle. He or she is conscious but lying flat on the ground, Breathing is shallow.
The students are faced with a problem that they must come up with a solution for. Collaboratively, what steps must they take in order to come up with a solution. Think in terms of Bloom's Revised Taxonomy. One of the students needs to take charge. Adding to the pressure are three important facts:

  1. The assessment event requires that all of them get to the end together. They can't just leave him or her and go on.
  2. The clock in the corner of their screens shows that the first assessment scenario is ticking down. They still need to solve the clues that will lead them to the emerald key.
  3. There are bushes with berries on them and trees. The solution to this emergency might be close by.
Keep in mind that the assessors who are watching what unfolds also are gaining a recording of what is being said and the actions that are being taken.
Lets assume for a moment, that they exercise superb reasoning skills and demonstrate the highest levels of Bloom's Taxonomy and they are able to solve the emergency problem. What challenges lie ahead? Well they have to get to what looks like a huge statue that they can see in the distance which is directly north of their position. In their way are two problems:
  1. Just a few few feet away seems to be a narrow crevasse that is approximately 3 metres across. They need to find a way to get across it. Again, think about what they have available in the immediate environment and what they have in their backpacks. After that they have a short walk to the river which at this point has slowed down dramatically. The water is waist deep so they can probably wade across and come ashore in front of the statue.
  2. The second choice is to back track to the west to where they saw the remains of a bridge and solve the problem by completing the span. The needed addition to the bridge would need be about 2 metres. Then they could follow the river north east towards the statue. Time becomes an important factor.
To complicate the decision, the student from Path C remarked that when he or she was following the river, he or she noticed a glowing green object on the other side of the river halfway between the bridge and the statue. He thought he could make out the following symbol on it but they would need to retrieve it to be sure. If they misinterpret any symbol at the end, then the can't solve the location of the emerald key and going back would result in them running out of time.

Some important questions to ask yourselves are:

  1.  What disciplines are coming into play in this collaborative problem solving? Are skill sets dealing with mathematics, physics, geography, medicine, geology, linguistics, botany needed in the analysis and solution of the challenging tasks faced by the students? Is their ability to use the web for research an important factor in effectively solving the tasks?
  2. What can we learn from assessing collaboration in such challenging tasks?
I know that these situations seem contrived( gifted understatement!) but the point is to place problem solving, critical thinking and the ability to do innovative thinking under the microscope.

Next.. the final leg of this scenario, the final clue revealing the location and the introduction to an incredible follow up real world issue that will also challenge you  as well as the students dealing with the pressing problem of tracking terrorists and potentially innovative solutions to this problem.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

E-Learning Assessment--The Search For the Emerald Key--Path C--Human Contact & Challenges

With two subplots unfolding on Paths  A&B, we turn our attention to Path C and the challenges that await.

As the team member starts down Path C, the forests change from jungle to sparse trees and grassland. As he or she progresses into this area, he or she notices a pale yellow liquid dripping out of a hole in one of the tree trunks. It looks like honey but is it?

Challenge #1:  The team member is hungry but is this yellow liquid safe to eat or could it cause him or her serious harm or even death? Uncertain, the first step is to use a small sample bottle that he or she has in his or her backpack and fill it up with a sample of the liquid.

Challenge #2: As the team member continues on the path, he or she comes into a clearing and is amazed at what he or she sees. In the clearing is a grave with a cross marking it, an old wooden chest and a tall man standing next to a campfire. Behind the man, a few feet away, is a cave set inside a mountain. As you cautiously approach the man, you notice that he is tall and has tattoos on his face.


You notice that in his hand he has a walking stick that has symbols etched into it similar to the ones on the gate that you came through.

As you approach him, he becomes agitated and starts to make bird sounds that are similar to some of the birds that you have come across on your journey. There are other odd things about the clearing. What is the connection of the grave site which has a cross to this man who appears to be a primitive man in nature and behavior? There are two challenges here. The first is to find a way to communicate with him and the second is to try to gain his trust enough that you can deduce what the artifacts mean and especially the symbols that are carved on his walking stick.

Question: "What skill sets are required to analyze the problems presented and where will the solutions be drawn from?"

As the man calms and looks at you intently, he uses his walking stick to draw something in the dirt. It looks like the wooden chest but beside it he draws the following symbol:

His eyes grow wide with fear as he points to the chest and he starts to make a variety of bird sounds. There seems to be a pattern to variation in the sounds he makes.

How do you find out what the pattern means? 

As you try to get close to the chest he beats his stick and makes the sound that resembles that of a hawk.


You decide to try and get his reaction to the other artifacts in the clearing, so you start to draw a picture of the grave marker. Upon seeing it, he starts to make a sound that resembles the sound of a dove. Then you remember the liquid you found in the tree and you take it out and place some on a piece of bark. The man makes the sound of a dove again and places his finger in it and puts his finger in his mouth. Next you draw a picture of the cave behind him, he looks surprised and makes a sweeping motion with his left arm in a direction from west to east. He then bends down and draws a curving line from west to east.

You feel that you are finally getting somewhere with him when all of a sudden the emergency beacon goes off indicating that your team mate on Path A is in trouble.

Challenge: What do you do? You take a picture of the symbol that the man drew in the dirt because you think that it might be important. You have just discovered this man and these artifacts that have a story to them but if you respond to the emergency then you might lose what you have found. Perhaps now is a good time to check in with your team mate who is on Path B for advice?

As you leave, the man once again makes a sweeping motion with his arm and points to the cave. You decide to go into the cave and what you find is a back entrance that leads to a path that runs from west to east along a ravine that has a fast moving river. You start running along the path to your team mate on Path A who is in trouble.....

Next.....Together again to meet new challenges

Friday, January 16, 2015

E-Learning Assessment--The Search For the Emerald Key--Path B--Artifacts and Challenges

One aspect of this assessment event that I would like to make clearer is the fact that what I have described so far is based on the decision that the students decided to split up and each take a different path. It is the most likely option that they would choose but it does not mean that each team will choose this option. They could choose to decide to stay together and develop a plan on how to cover all three paths and still meet their time deadline. We are able to see their reasoning on their first decision at the very start of the event. Collaboration is required right from the start.

Another point to remember is that they access the following aids in solving challenging tasks:

  1. They have their wearable mobile devices which connect them to the web and also each other so that collaboration can take place. They also have information gathering utilities in the form of a camera and sound recorder as well as other useful functions.
  2. They have access to their mentor, the educator or trainer(in a business organization) who they may call upon three times during the event to help them clarify their reasoning.
  3. Collaboration is possible on different levels for different reasons. Collaboration has a host of benefits to the learner. You will notice that the tasks are ones that students can understand and relate to because many of them have been exposed to similar challenges in video games that they may have played. Even for students who don't play video games, the tasks involve recognizable objects and ideas that they would have come across in story books or during their early education.
Credit: Reeves, Herrington & Oliver (2004)

Path B--Artifacts and Challenging Tasks

For the student(s) who takes Path B, here are the tasks that they will face:

  1. Jungle Food and Unstable Rock Slides: One of the physical requirements ,besides water, is food. Hanging from the trees appears to be fruit that looks a lot like Mangoes and at the base of the trees are plant life that looks a lot like mushrooms. How do we go about deciding what they really are, whether they are alright to eat, and will they maintain the strength of the student as they continue on? Another interesting event is what appears to be rock slides that come off the mountains to the jungle floor. There seems to be moments of calm between the rock slides. You notice an object that is glowing green that is partially buried in the rock slide closest to you. It could be another clue to solving the location of the emerald key. Looking around at the jungle floor all you see are rocks and some large tree branches that were brought down by a slide that hit a dead tree. How do you solve these two challenging tasks?(Hint: take an inventory of what is in your backpacks) .If the student is able to retrieve the green glowing object, he or she will discover it has the following symbols etched in it:

     2. Raging River, Broken Bridge and a Distress Call: If the student makes it through the above tasks he or she comes to a deep ravine in which there is a swift moving river. In ancient time there was a wooden bridge that spanned the river but half of the bridge is gone. The remnant of the bridge is still attached. Just before the student is about to figure out how to solve this task, the emergency beacon goes off stating that the student on Path A has been bitten by an unidentified snake and needs help. He or she wonders if  his or her team member on Path C also got the distress call. How does he or she deal with this unexpected event? What steps should he or she take?

You will find out in the next segment. Are you starting to draw any conclusions about the actual location of the emerald key? I will give you one clue: It is in a real world location.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

E-Learning Assessment--The Search for the Emerald Key--Path A--Artifacts and Challenging Tasks

If we refer back to the map in the last post and continue to look at the characteristics of Path A, there are a few items that should be examined in the clearing where the first set of ruins are. The items outside the ruins are:

  1.  Odd shaped coins
  2.  A old sword
  3.  Long vines hanging down from the surrounding trees
  4.  A well of water that is traveling counter clockwise in a vortex but does not drop in quantity
I also suggested to you that in the darkness of the open door to the tower there is an object glowing green. There is a good chance that it might be an artifact that will help to put together the location of the emerald key. Since you can see it glowing in the darkness and it seems to look near, you walk towards it and enter through the tower door. It seems to get closer but then as you walk towards it, you walk into a wall. You find an old torch attached to a wall and you use a match , the only match that you have, and you light it. You are amazed at what you see! The object that seems to be in front of your eyes is really a reflection and seems to be still at a distance.

What gives??

Challenge #1: You have just walked into your first challenging task! It turns out that what you are seeing is a reflection of the object. The walls inside the tower have a mirror like quality and what you are seeing is actually a reflection of an object that is further into the tower. As you turn to your right, you see the object or is it a reflection? You also notice that their is more than one corridor.

Question:"In order to find the object and retrieve it, what do you need to do?"

Higher order thinking skills require that you analyze the problem. You need to determine what kind of skill sets will be required in order to find a solution to this problem. In this instance, you might need mathematical skills to determine angles and distances. You might also need to know something about optics and the physics of light.

Question: "If you venture further into the tower, through a maze of corridors, how do you keep from getting lost?"(Hint--Think about the artifacts available in the clearing which includes all that are listed above.)

The following are possible options that the student may come up with

Option #1: Go back outside, use the old sword to cut down some of the long vines, tie them together, tie one end to a tree trunk and tie the other end around your waist. However, if you leave the torch it will go out . What do you do?

Option #2: Go back outside, gather up the coins and use them as "bread crumbs" that you drop as you go further into the tower. When you find the artifact, you can then follow the coins back out, picking the coins up as you return to the entrance of the tower.

When the student makes it back to the entrance, he or she determines, after consulting with team members using their wearable technology, that he or she should collect all the artifacts in the clearing and store them in the backpack for future use.

The glowing artifact has symbols engraved on it as follows:

Still there is the very curious well in which the water forms a vortex that is moving in a counter clockwise direction.

Challenge #2: You are getting thirsty but you do not know if the water is safe to drink. Use your skills to try and find out. You need to perhaps contact your team members but how will you show them what you are looking at?
Also, you want to talk to them about the strange movement of the water.You remember something about a scientific phenomenon called the "Coriolis Effect" and that it has something to do with locating places on the Earth.

Other Challenges on Path A
As the team member moves further north, he or she comes to the following challenges:

  1. Must determine a way around an active lava flow.
  2. Comes across an unidentified snake that strikes his or her leg.
  3. Comes to the Great Fissure and notices that there are two ledges down in the fissure and that the first one has a glowing green artifact as shown below

It is becoming obvious that you can not deal with challenges #2 & #3 under "other challenges" alone. It is time to check the progress of your team member on Path B.
Next......Path B

Monday, January 12, 2015

E-Learning Assessment--The Search for the Emerald Key--Map Walk Through--Path A

One of the questions that I posed in Part I was:

"What would E-Learning assessment look like if Peter Jackson (writer and director of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy) was on the design team?"

Mr. Jackson is a marvelous story teller and story telling in E-Learning design, including assessment, is a powerful tool for engaging the learner in an irresistible manner that can lead to a deeper and sustained level of learning. Under such circumstances extrinsic motivation for the learner gives way to a rapid growth of intrinsic motivation which is extremely important in learning that lasts.

The Map of the Journey
 The map below was created by me as a walk through guide. You might have to magnify it to make out its details.

Map : K. Turner(via Auto Realm)
After the team has their gear, they receive last instructions from the educator. They are as follows:

  1. You will notice that as you look north of our location, three paths appear that proceed West, East and North. Each path has its own artifacts and challenges that you must meet in order to decode the necessary clue that reveals the location of the key.
  2. Remember! I can be called upon a total of three times as a mentor on the journey. I can only aid you by asking you questions to help clarify your collaborative discussion with team members and your reasoning in dealing with challenges. I can not answer questions. You have other means for collecting data or information.
  3. You will also notice that there is other life in this world. You must decide collaboratively how to deal with it.
  4. Always pay attention to the digital clock that appears on your mobile device in the corner of the screen. Its count down at first tells you how much time is left to finish the first scenario. It will blink red when you have 5 minutes left in the first scenario.
The choice that students have to make is similar to the idea of "choose your own adventure" in which whatever path that is chosen, it will have its own subplot complete with artifacts and tasks. The first decision that the team needs to make is to answer the following question:

"Do we each split up and take a path or do we stay together?"

The answer to the above question will require the team to collaboratively discuss the pros and cons of each choice. One of the team members will emerge from the discussion as team leader. If they separate, a plan will need to be decided on how and under what circumstances they will be in contact with each other. This should include what to do in case of an emergency. Remember that one of the functions of their wearable device deals with emergency situations.

Path A

The artifacts and tasks that the team would encounter on this path can be modified according to the discretion of the instructor using this scenario. The artifacts that are crucial to finding the emerald key are found on all three paths which means that at some point collaborative discussion is needed to revise the previous plan. No one path contains all of the emerald key artifacts that glow green.The following artifacts and tasks are found on this path:
  1.  As they take this path through a jungle area, they emerge into a clearing where they see some old ruins that have a fairly large structure which has a tower. Around the tower, on the ground they see some scattered odd shaped coins, a sword, a strange well that contains water that forms a blue vortex and is moving but not draining. The water is moving in a counter-clockwise direction. The door to the tower is open but they notice a faint green glowing object in the darkness that consumes the space inside.
  2. Directly north of their location is a series of mountains some of which are volcanic in nature. When they move on from the ruins, they will be faced with the dilemma of figuring out the lava flow, how to avoid potential rock slides...etc. This will require the use of mathematical skills, Volcanology concepts , meteorology measurements...etc. Using collaborative discussion and division of labour based upon individual aptitudes and talents, they will decide on a plan on how to deal with getting around this area without costing them more time than necessary.
 More details on Path A in next post.....

Friday, January 9, 2015

E-Learning Assessment- The Search for the Emerald Key--Part V--The Walk Through--Preparing

 The Walk Through--Making It to the Other Side!

Upon entering through the portal, the portal closes behind them and they notice that this side of the portal has some sort of symbols on the frame. Could these symbols be important for the journey?

They turn around and they see that their teacher has been transformed into an avatar and that they too now appear in a generated avatar form.

 Next to their teacher is some form of walk in tent. As they look around they see an unusual world before them with mountains on the far horizon and mountains with an active volcano to the east.

This world can be effectively created through the use of Unity3D software. This type of software also has the ability to link up with Oculus Rift virtual reality technology as a future potential option. Another potential software for creating virtual worlds might be Open Sim or Unreal Technology.

The students are then interrupted by their teacher's attempt to get their attention. The teacher then begins to give them their instructions. They are as follows:


"Welcome to your assessment event. As you were told before entering the portal, how well you all do in this assessment event will depend upon how well you collaborate with each other in solving the tasks and challenges that you will face on your journey. As you travel you will be required to collect artifacts that you find along the way. The artifacts that glow green are important clues that when all collected will help you find the emerald key.The other type of artifacts that you will find scattered throughout the journey will help you overcome challenges that you will need to solve before you can continue forward. 
Before you can get started, you need to be equipped for the journey. If you will come with me into the tent I will point out your gear and explain to you what it does.

First, you will each be given wearable technology that will serve many functions on your journey. You have a choice between two different types. Both types have the same functions so that the choice you will make will depend upon what you are comfortable with.

Choice #1: The Slip On Sensor Glove


Choice #2: The Wrist Data System


The capabilities of the wearable tech are as follows:
  1. You will have full unlimited access to the Internet and special disciplines forums for the whole time you are on the journey providing nothing unexpected happens.
  2. You have full texting capabilities to communicate with your partners.
  3. You have GPS tracking that will display a grid showing where your partners are at all time.
  4. You have a camera function that will allow you to take pictures and share them with your partners in real time.
  5. You have an emergency sensor that monitors your vital signs and also can be linked up with your partners to show their vital signs.
It is important to note that if you remove your wearable tech, the functions will cease to operate as long as it is not on your person.

Other items that you are taking with you are these backpacks which you will use to gather artifacts and store where necessary, a rock hammer and last but not least, you will be given a Swiss army knife to help you in unusual circumstances.



Next: ...Map Walk Through


Thursday, January 8, 2015

E-Learning Assessment--The Search For the Emerald Key--Part IV--Nature of Artifacts and the Second Scenario

In the previous post I described to you the nature of the assessment event and the goal of the first scenario. Instrumental to the first scenario is the ability of student teams to gather information in the form of artifacts or objects that they find in their environment.

The Nature of the Artifacts

One obvious conclusion that should have occurred to you is that this assessment event makes use of gamification elements. I would like to stress that although it uses these elements, this event is still about assessment and the needs of the learner.

The artifacts in the assessment event are of two types:

  1. The primary artifacts are objects that will help them discover the location of the emerald key at the end of their journey. These artifacts when assembled will give them direction as to the location of the key and the door where the key fits. The key when inserted in the proper lock will open the door to an important discovery. These artifacts are distinguished from other artifacts by their green glow.
  2. The second type of artifacts are objects that help to solve problems faced by the team on their journey. Throughout the journey they will be faced with challenging tasks where they will need to collaborate with each other and use each other talents to solve the problem and arrive at a solution. These artifacts are scattered throughout the environment. More on this in the walk through.

The Second Scenario

The second scenario is only entered into after the team has received feedback on their performance from the assessment team and their instructor. They now use the emerald key to open a new scenario which is a novel real world issue scenario that has been pre-chosen. It is here that they will also get a chance to put their acquired skills and collaborative expertise to the test.

Next...the Walk Through

E-Learning Assessment--The Search for the Emerald Key--Part III--Scenarios and the Nature of the Event

The Nature of the Assessment Event

The assessment event that the teams are going to enter into through the portal is made up of two scenarios that incorporate the ideas of problem based learning linked to an emphasis on the high end thinking skills as described by Bloom's Revised Taxonomy. The nature of the collaboration that occurs among the three member team will be the focus of the first scenario. It is also important to point out the special roles that the assessment team and the educator have in this event. 

The assessment team has already been described in a previous post. They will be able to see, read and hear (if audio is implemented in the event) everything that is happening during the event much like an invisible audience. They will be gathering data on how well challenging tasks are analyzed by the student teams, the collaborative reasoning going on and creative solutions to the tasks encountered. Each assessor will be able to offer his or her perspective on student performance based upon the perspective of their own discipline. This happens with the understanding that when we are confronted with solving a problem, we need cross disciplinary skill sets to analyze the problem and arrive at a viable solution.

Scenario #1
The first scenario involves a journey in which effective collaboration is the key to success. In fact it is stated in instructions to students that it is imperative that all three team members make it through the assessment event together in the time allotted. For a team member not to make it through has an effect on the collaborative score in the assessment event. 

The role of the teacher in the event is unusual. When the students come through the portal, the teacher is there to give preliminary instructions and point them to their wearable technology devices. These will be explained in the walk through part in a future post. After that preliminary appearance, the educator disappears from the scene. The team can call up the educator only three times during the event in which he or she appears before them. The team can call him or her up but the educator will not give them answers to anything that is happening. His or her role when called upon is to ask the team questions with the goal of helping them clarify their reasoning during challenges. When he or she appears, it is the team's responsibility to keep track of time and to dismiss him or her when they feel the need to continue.

The first goal as a collaborative group is to gather information from the environment in the form of artifacts or objects that they come across and are able to examine.

Next....Description of Artifacts  and Nature of the Second Scenario(a short post before the walk through)

E-Learning Assessment-The Search for the Emerald Key---Part II--The Assessment Event Portal

In the previous post I suggested to you that assessment need not be a fearful event for the learner but could actually be an exciting, engaging and truly a revealing journey for the learner.
In this post I will describe to you a potential assessment event that might fit the above description. As I mentioned before, this event is keyed to E-Learning and the skill sets germane to that environment.

The Portal to the Assessment Event


To begin this assessment event, qualified students are directed via a link to what may be described as "the assessment waiting room". It is at this point that students are made aware of other qualifying students arriving at the waiting room. Students are divided into teams of three. In the corner of their screens next to the portal they see a digital clock which counts down until to the time that they may enter the portal into the assessment event. They have 15 minutes before the portal is made active and a team may enter through it.



 While in the waiting room, they are given a pre-assessment task. The directions are as follows:

Directions: "Welcome to your assessment event! You have entered the pre-assessment waiting room. You will notice that two other students have entered with you. Your task, using the messaging tool made available on your screen is to interview each other since your success in this assessment event will be determined by how well you know the aptitudes and talents of the people you will be collaborating with. You need to find out the following:

1. Who are your partners and where are they from?
2. What areas of study are they good at? For example, some may be very good at mathematical reasoning, some may be very good at geographical and spatial reasoning, some may be good at linguistics...etc. One person may have stronger leadership skills than the other.

 You have 15 minutes to find out as much as you can about the other person. All conversations are being over heard and recorded by the team of assessors who will provide you with feedback in your final assessment at the end of the assessment event. The clock counts down starting now!"

Next......Scenarios and the Nature of the Assessment Event