Mission Possible: Using Near-World Scenarios to Prepare Graduates for the Professions

Edward Peter Errington
James Cook University

A recent UK survey found many graduates unprepared for employment while employers placed greater value on transferable, employability skills rather than on specific ones. Increased student entry into professional-oriented programs, and subsequent pressures on work placements, have educators looking to alternative ways of providing safe, reproducible, authentic work experience, (Eland et al. 2010).Scenario-based learning (SBL), founded on the valuing of contextual knowledge, may provide one strategy for getting students closer to the realities of their intended profession through guided reflection on learning experiences designed to supplement rather than replace work placements. This paper has three main aims: The first is to clarify scenario-based learning as a learning strategy. The second is to note why and how some university teachers use it to prepare students for the professions. The final aim is to illuminate some ways by which teachers might optimize the learning potential to foster and sustain professional development.

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