ENHANCING THE STUDENT LEARNING JOURNEY THROUGH THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY
A research team developed an educational game to teach the research findings of an investigation into the application of lean principles to the design process. The game runs on a global scale, is fully scalable and can be taught in many different levels of experience. Currently the programme reaches over 400 students per year worldwide but there is potential to exceed this via a number of innovative e-learning and online teaching methods.
Working as part of multi-disciplinary teams, participants with differing skill sets can experience key elements of a business operations environment. By playing the game repeatedly, both participants and instructors have the benefit of improving performance by refining techniques, learning from past mistakes and collaborating with others. A critical element of review is incorporated as part of a feedback loop in order to allow for reflection and improvement.
Whilst the game has been running successfully for many years there is now an opportunity to take the learning journey one step further, by developing creative opportunities using current technology to increase both the range and the depth of the learning experiences for the participants and the facilitators.
Technology plays a critical role in business operations; its incorporation into the game can become a vital enabler of the learning journey.
The use of current technology provides the capability of creating realistic scenarios regarding interactions between participants and facilitators. Such initiatives will increase both the range and the depth of participants and facilitators, who will be in a position to recognise the challenges of developing new products in either physical or virtual teams.
The use of established pedagogical theories has been employed to guide the development of the project in order to achieve key objectives.
Possibilities of using software technologies will be explored, in an attempt to simulate a real world experience for participants and facilitators. The Problem Based Learning basis of the game can continue through the use of these technologies.
Collaborative software tools, such as video conferencing, web-based technologies and document sharing tools; will be tested to find different ways team members can interact, both locally and remotely, with the supplier, customer and each other.
The ‘social network’ of the workplace is considered an important area for efficient collaborative working, and the ability to demonstrate this through the use of collaborative software will add to the learning experience.
Visual tools will be examined to discover how they can be utilised by teams to enable a more structured project management process.
Finally, the potential of using social media to enrich student learning journey will be investigated for their effectiveness as an enhancement to learning.
As an initial scope the following technologies and opportunities were selected to be studied:
• SharePoint and Google Docs for document sharing tools
• WebEx and Skype for video conferencing
• Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as social media sites
• Online Ordering, Feedback Forum, Glossary and Wikis as websites opportunities, and
• Mind Map as a visual tool.
It is anticipated that, through the incorporation of these technologies, the learning experience of the game will be enriched.