BRINGING LIFE TO LEARNING: IMMERSIVE EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING SIMULATIONS FOR ONLINE AND BLENDED COURSES

Michael Watkins, John M. Beckem II

Abstract


In order to keep pace with today’s networked society, Higher Education instructors face the daunting challenge of integrating new technologies into their courses. This imperative is driven by the need to create engaging content for today’s learner and to better prepare students with the skills that they will need after graduation to achieve success in the 21st Century workplace. At the same time, these online learning tools must both support the needs of instructors and help institutions to achieve greater long term sustainability.
Of the emerging online social tools, rich media immersive learning simulations that enable “learning by doing” have achieved widespread adoption in a relatively short period of time and are now demonstrating exciting results. Building upon the ancient Confucian wisdom, “What I hear, I forget; What I see, I remember; What I do, I understand,” these experiential learning tools have become an important asset within a growing number of online and blended learning courses.
In this paper, we will share results of a pilot deployment of experiential immersive simulations within the course, "Diversity in the Workplace,” as part of the business program at the State University of New York (SUNY) Empire State College. This course, completed in March 2012, was taught by Dr. John Beckem and taken by two cohorts of undergraduate students. Results show this approach was effective in achieving improved subject matter retention and student success as demonstrated by outcomes of the in-class assignments and Exit Surveys.

Keywords


Simulations/immersive learning environments; Workforce readiness; Experiential learning; Blended learning; Student engagement and retention; Innovation; Decision making Constructivism; Asynchronous learning



DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v16i5.287