Unpredictability as the key element of a rich experiential world.
Imagine how the zest for life and new ideas would fizzle out without
this key element!
The reality is that
we humans are unpredictable implementers of ideas and systems.
Do we try to manage chaos? What does this mean for generic skill development
and work-world competency?
is a learning strategy that can fully recreate a complex social dynamic
where the players must negotiate their solutions – other than being
placed in a real world environment where there may be no chance of mentoring,
common problem-solving goals or debriefing. In short, role-play enables
educationalists to set up a rehearsal for later real-world practitioner
contexts. In another frame, role-play is an intense laboratory dealing
with who we are right now and how we negotiate solutions.
power of a web-based role-play compared to face-to-face role-play is
that it does not have the time/sessional boundaries of f2f role-play
but is run over several weeks. The extended timeframe of virtual communities
more closely recreates the complexities of real-life negotiations and
changing agendas over time and between meetings where not all players
are cognisant of all the discussions or new agendas.
immersion and co-creation of the community and the solutions is a relational
experience and as such is a dynamic model of learning rather than a
distanced critical analysis.
findings of neuroscience support learning which engages both the emotional
and cognitive domains simultaneously. Learning is a whole person/whole
brain activity. The cortex (centre of thinking) is synaptically tied
to the limbic system (emotions).
Role-play finds its
place within constructivist learning theory. Constructivism relies on
cognitive disequilibrium as the learners construct their meanings in
an ill-defined scenario, and in the process must reconstruct their existing
schema or mental models.
Role-play allows each participant to make their own decisions based
on their values and research, and also to be confronted with negative
responses from others - and negative outcomes in terms of their goals,
just as in any work-world reality.
Dealing with such unpredictable responses
is the fulcrum of learning and somehow overshadows terms such as 'soft
skill development'. The structure and nature of web-based role-play
simulations (as opposed to computer-based simulations) are not bounded
by preset rules. The learning of web-based role-play is created by the
participants and they must accept responsibility for what, how and where
they lead themselves - as in the real world.