Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Learning by doing

I came across this review on Educause recently of a book that glories in the pithy title of: Learning by Doing: A Comprehensive Guide to Simulations, Computer Games and Pedagogy in e-Learning and Other Educational Experiences. The author is Clark Aldrich, and the publisher John Wiley and Sons (2005). The review (by Deborah Keyek-Franssen - a new name to me) is well written to the point that I would like to get my hands on a copy of this book, but find the price tag a little prohibitive.

I have to say that I am already convinced of the pedagogical value of games and simulations. What I am currently looking into is their andragogical value (although I get the impression that the word is falling into disuse and that pedagogy is becoming the generic term covering both bases). I have been toying with the notion of inlcuding games/simulations in a blended learning solution for adults, but many of the simulations I have seen are somewhat trite (mind you, the same can be said for many of the quizzes on e-learning materials). I realise that any game/simulation will have to be both engaging and effective. At a recent conference, one of the speakers expressed the view that games and simulations should afford the opportunity to put the learning into practice or to assess learning, and should not attempt to teach. I thought this was an interesting viewpoint and one that may well have some validity for an adult audience. However, I'm still just at the exploring stage. Much remains to be seen.

In the meantime, I shall have to see if my library has seen fit to acquire a copy of Aldrich's book.


Harold Jarche said...

The military has been using games in training for years. Everything from in-box exercises to command post exercises. The British Army has a lot of expertise in this area and you may want to connect with someone there for some "andragogical" ideas.

BTW, I think that andragogy is not popular in the US because it was invented in Europe ;-)

Anonymous said...

Too true: both games and simulations, some of which are very expensive and very sophisticated. But there can be no question that we would rather they stumped that kind of cash so that a trainee pilot can plough into a virtual suburb in a simulator rather than the real thing!