Choose your own adventure

Choose your own adventure

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Remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books that allowed us to take stories into our own hands and decide the fate of the characters? I guess, I am a child of the 80’s, so I guess I was fortunate to own a few. Even though the outcomes were predetermined, this made me as a reader feel more invested and interested in the story. Well, at work recently, I have been working with some Subject Matter Experts (SME) on how to better engage with the students with some of their content I am helping develop with them. By using online learning and use of things like videos and interactive diagrams it has been shown that it improves the students learning and retention through the application of knowledge by enhancing the relevance of their learning and promoting their understanding of concepts. I reviewed and educated my SMEs on key educational theories and simple teaching principles to help inform the development of a Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) approach for one of the units of competency.

I did a literature and framework exploration process, and identified that both cognitive constructs (adult learning theory, information process model, cognitive load), and noncognitive constructs (distributed cognition, situated learning and control value theory) worked well in this modality. The workshop I did focused on maximal interaction with limited pathways in order to encourage active engagement but at the same time encouraging a bit of flexibility. I found that after this, the SME’s identified multiple ways to approach what they perceived as boring or standard topics through new methodologies. Tom Kuhlmann a well known Instructional Designer in USA, came up with the 3C model for this sort of thing.

  • Challenge: The goal is to engage the learner and challenge her understanding. Present a situation, get her to process some information, reflect, and then let her make a decision.
  • Choices: Once the learner is challenged, she needs to make a decision (or series of decisions). Provide some choices to work through the challenge. The choices should all be viable and realistic options. Don’t waste time on meaningless choices.
  • Consequences: Each choice produces a consequence. Sometimes the consequence may lead to immediate feedback; and sometimes it may lead to additional challenges that compound the situation.
  • In the end, offering multiple options may actually be less work than offering one, especially if it means enhancing the student engagement. What do you all think?

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