Exploring Real-world Scenarios as Vehicles for Authentic Learning

By Edward Peter Errington.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Arguments have been advanced over the past two decades about the need to embed authentic learning opportunities within higher education curricula. This paper posits the idea that real-world scenarios, explored via simulation, discussion and/or debate can provide excellent vehicles for helping students as would-be professionals bridge the gap between subject/discipline-based theory and professional practice. Such authenticity is advanced through scenarios which include emotional as well as cognitive learning dimensions, simulate complex workplace relationships, and invite students to participate in deep level learning tasks.

The author demonstrates by example, how students can singularly, or in groups/teams, explore real-world problems, investigate a range of human issues, and speculate on both past and present events.

The author reports that through direct exploration of scenarios, students come to realise that all human knowledge is interrelated, it is important to take an informed stand on significant issues, and the quality and direction of speculations on future events are invariably governed by who and what they are now. He concludes that singularly, and in combination, real-life scenarios can be used to render a true sense of authentic, relevant learning.

Keywords: Real-World Scenarios, Authentic Learning, Higher Education

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 3, Issue 5, pp.1-6. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 727.065KB).

Dr. Edward Peter Errington

Academic Development Adviser, Teaching & Learning Development, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Dr. Edward Errington is an academic development adviser based in the Teaching and Learning Development section of James Cook University (JCU). He has a background as a primary & secondary drama teacher, arts educator, teacher educator, and academic development adviser in the UK, New Zealand and Australia. At JCU, he works with teachers from all disciplines to help them provide authentic and relevant learning opportunities for their students. He has presented scenario- based work in 12 countries so far, and has published six non-fiction books and numerous book chapters and articles on drama education and the efficacy of scenario-based learning approaches in higher education. He is also a fiction writer and has written one comedic novel shortlisted in the UK, and had one radio play broadcast by National Radio New Zealand.


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