Thursday, February 5, 2015

Debriefing the Real World Scenario Assessment--Valued Learning in the Business Community and the Education Sector

There are a number of conclusions that may be drawn from such an assessment event where a real world scenario is used as the vehicle. These conclusions are important not only to the education sector but also to the training departments in the business communities.

 The first very important conclusion that we can draw from the event is the level of engagement in personal learning that students demonstrate. Engagement is extremely important because under the old systems of training within the business community and within the education sector, engagement of the learner leading to deeper sustained learning was a serious problem. Employees attending training sessions within companies may have been attentive at the time of the training but engagement and commitment to continue their learning after the training was over very often dropped off or was disconnected completely. In the education sector, the use of MOOCS in high education have not delivered the type of engagement by students that sees them through a quality course successfully to its completion.

Mrs Wendy Smith of  Yeppoon,  Queensland Australia produced the above mind map relating to Kearsley and Schneiderman's paper titled:"Engagement Theory: A framework for technology based teaching and learning" (1999)( Although this paper is dated and technology has advanced greatly since its publication, the three principles still hold true in the 21st century. These principles are:

  1. Relate
  2. Create
  3. Donate 
These principles are valid in relation to the use of real world scenarios in online education and also the use of real world scenarios within a training environment in the business community.

Online Education: To encourage students to develop deeper understandings and knowledge through higher order thinking skills they must be engaged in activities that occur in a group or collaborative context(relate); the activities should be problem based in the form of inquiry or investigation(create) and the learner identifies the link between them as an individual and the authentic use of their knowledge as a valuable contribution to a community whether it is local, national or global.(donate).

In the assessment event two of the skills that I emphasized that needed to be assessed is the ability to analyze a problem from a number of perspectives and then generate solutions that utilize the skill sets of these perspectives.  Marzano and Pickering et. al(1997) in a manual produced titled: "Dimensions of Learning" stated that:

"The transformation of information is when the students apply their higher order thinking skills to use their new knowledge meaningfully. This is done through problem solving (in the form of an investigation or inquiry), invention or analysis of the knowledge and what is required to apply the new knowledge. Students apply this knowledge and can use ‘digital tools’ to demonstrate their understanding."

Although Marzano and Pickering's work is dated, you will notice that these principles were used in the assessment event and I believe are still valid in the 21st century.

Irresistible engagement of the learner is one of the first steps to leading them on a path of deeper sustained learning in which they can contribute as agents of change in real and authentic ways.

But, what about the business community? How can they use these ideas in the training of employees? Next post will focus on engagement for employees in the business community and the benefits that lead to a culture of innovation and an increased level of ROI for the business in question.......

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