Online Text-based Roleplay-Simulation: The Challenges Ahead

Simulation Industry Association of Australia (SIAA)
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Simulation - Fulfilling the Promise: Successes and Visions for the Road Ahead, Proceedings of SimTecT 2005 (Simulation Technology and Training Conference), 2005, pp. 1 - 4
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Online Roleplay-Simulation has widely been shown to be an effective teaching and learning tool based on participant feedback. Central to achieving the desired learning outcomes from these activities is the way communication media is used within them. The communication media within online roleplay-simulation environments often include email, text chat, discussion forums (using bulletin boards) as well as Internet search tools. It has been recognized that these different forms of communication delivery are not neutral-they invoke or evoke particular kinds of learning behaviour. While electronic dialogue can support interactions such as information exchange, opinion and suggestions which are integral to such simulations it is less suited for communicating agreement and disagreement and for socialemotional tasks involving conflict and negotiation. A key feature of role-based learning is their experiential nature and the reliance upon reflection of actions within the activity. This presents a challenge for educators to design activities that use communication media effectively. During various stages of an online roleplay-simulation challenges arise in relation to online dialogue management, online tools for reflection, online socialization and supporting persona development and participant interaction. Some strategies that have been found to address these issues include using features of the online roleplay-simulation software to monitor participant interaction, promoting groupwork interactions and learning designs that consider the limitations of the available communication media and Internet access, creating activities which develop participant information literacy skills, and the appropriate use of blended learning to support activities which are constrained by the available communication media.
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