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Acumen: An interactive multimedia simulation based on situated learning theory

Standen, P. and Herrington, J.ORCID: 0000-0002-9960-4677 (1997) Acumen: An interactive multimedia simulation based on situated learning theory. In: ASCILITE 1997: What works and why, 7 - 10 December 1997, Curtin University, Perth pp. 568-573.

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This paper describes the development and evaluation of a multimedia simulation for teaching research skills to business students. Graphics, sound and video are used to create semi- realistic ' microworlds' which students explore in order to solve a relatively unstructured problem, a process quite different to learning from textbooks, lectures or videos. One advantage of microworlds is that students construct meaning by actively and selectively working through a variety of information sources, a process which mimics real-world learning and enhances higher- order learning outcomes. We describe the theoretical principles used in designing the simulation, particularly situated learning theory which claims a number of advantages for teaching that is 'situated' in the context of real world problems. There is also evidence that the 'immersive' quality of microworlds may be more motivating than other teaching/ learning modes, at least to some students. As the technology for creating media- rich simulations is still new, we discuss the issue of how realistic simulations should be. Our multimedia package can be related to a long tradition of teaching methods in business that attempt to put theoretical principles into life-like contexts, via case studies, experiential learning, internships, or real-world projects. The advantages and disadvantages of computer microworlds over such methods are explored.

Item Type: Conference Paper
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Notes: Appears In: What works and why : reflections on learning with technology : ASCILITE, 1997
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