The Power of Role-based e-Learning

The Power of Role-Based e-Learning: designing and moderating online role play is a new book out that talks about simple methods to get powerful learning outcomes from collaborative games.  Written by Sandra Wills, Elyssebeth Leigh, and Albert Ip, esteemed Aussie colleagues all with lots of experience in this area, it’s a thoughtful presentation of why, and how, you should use these techniques to get valuable outcomes.

Here’s the publisher’s blurb:

Written for educators seeking to engage students in collaboration and communication about authentic scenarios, the power of role-based e- learning offers helpful, accessible advice on the practice and research needed to design online role play. Drawing on the experiences of world- leading practitioners and citing an array of worldwide examples, it is a readable, non-technical, and comprehensive guide to the design, implementation, and evaluation of this exciting teaching approach.
Issues discussed include:

  • designing effective online role plays
  • defining games, simulations and role plays
  • moderating engaging and authentic role-based e-learning activities
  • assessment and evaluation

The power of role-based e-learning offers a careful analysis of the strengths and learning opportunities of online role play, and is realistic about possible difficulties. Providing guidance for both newcomers and experienced professionals who are developing their online teaching repertoire, it is an invaluable resource for teachers, trainers, academics, and educational support staff involved in e-learning.

Also note that it’s designed for education, but the lessons are valuable for organizational application as well.

As I state in the foreword:

This book stakes out important ground for e-learning, demonstrating how clever design trumps the miracles of flashy technology in achieving just such a practical approach.  While the power of gaming for learning has been the topic of a number of books, the particular, er, role of role-playing has been insufficiently explored and exploited.  Yet, as this book makes manifestly clear, there are powerful outcomes available, using simple mechanisms but capitalizing on deep understanding of learning.

The book also looks forward, talking about virtual worlds and, yes, mobile learning. Alternate Reality Games are a really interesting opportunity here.

Allow me to strongly encourage you to check out this book, and see for yourself how thoughtful understanding of learning trumps technological finesse when it comes to creating meaningful  experiences.  We need more good learning design, and as much help as we can get.

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