The power of role-based e-learning: selected content, tables and figures
Chapter 5 Designing the rules and roles
- Design Glitches – Not Everything Goes According to Plan
Fidelity is an important issue for good design so once the decisions are made about the nature of the Problem (the story, setting and stakeholders) the focus shifts to design of the details that add shape and dimension to learners’ enactment of a role play. These are identified as the Roles and Rules in the Design Space framework (Figure 4.1 in the previous chapter). Design considerations under Rules include:
• time in all its dimensions
• rules of participation
• modes of communication among participants
• where and how participants meet – virtually and/or face to face.
Design considerations for Roles include:
• allocation and use of power
• division of labour amongst participants
• relationships among roles
• how roles make decisions.
These all contribute to the realism of the final design. Since each separate consideration has many possible permutations the focus in this chapter is on introducing and exploring the basics with examples of how these are worked out for specific designs. Design, by its nature, is varied and multi-faceted with endless choices, so what follows are suggested starting points not imperatives.
Table 5.1 Duration of example online role plays
Every new online role play is a unique creation, using the design considerations included in Figure 4.1. Even re-purposing an existing design creates a unique new contribution to the learning repertoire of educators. This chapter has touched on key elements involved in the design process. Time factors, power, relationships, meetings, divisions of labour and decision making must all be accounted for.
While design may seem a daunting task, experienced designers agree that beginning with small events and accepting that some mistakes are inevitable makes the process easier to sustain. The adventure of doing something new and different is appealing and the fact that learners become engaged in creating the action rather than merely passive recipients of new data can also be appealing. There are risks and challenges but as Oliver Wendell Holmes (2007) noted “A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimension”,3 a concept that applies as much to educators as to learners.