The Problem

Having been surrounded by educators at all levels throughout my life, the learning process has always been close to me and always peeked my interest. How people learn, how they use knowledge learned to inform the decisions and choices they make, and how they reflect on the outcomes that those decisions has always been fascinating. What if the knowledge had been interpreted wrongly or misunderstood? What if the knowledge gained through the learning process led to an incorrect decision? How would the learner ever know without being able to reflect on the knowledge, the decisions made using it, and the outcome that it resulted in?

Many learning processes rely on knowledge been interpreted correctly and using facts to build not he next unit of knowledge. Mechanisms such as the ‘pop quiz’ or ‘show of hands’ are often used to validate that knowledge, but therein lies a problem: it validates only that the facts have been retained and can be applied in isolation at some level. An ambulance technician can be taught all the knowledge he or she needs to do a job, but ultimately without the trial-and-error of experience on the job it is really impossible to understand the actions and decisions that the technician will take, and which conclusions will be reached. The use of learnt knowledge is implicit and only the actions and decisions that are taken can be measured. The foundation of all learning, however, is the knowledge and applying that knowledge correctly in the right situations.

Action Learning

Ultimately, learners need to be able to reflect on the knowledge that they believe they have learnt, and validate that their interpretation of it is correct. One such subarea of learning is Action Learning which applies problem solving skills to the learning process. It’s hard to validate that the facts you have memorised are correctly ‘filed’ in your head, let alone have been interpreted such that they will be applied in the right way in a given situation. As Reg Ravens said, “People had to be aware of their lack of relevant knowledge and be prepared to explore the area of their ignorance with suitable questions and help from other people in similar positions.”

Action learning leads to Action-based learning questions, which essentially is the approach of solving real problems based on taking actions, realising some outcome, and reflecting on the results. It’s that reflection that is critical to making sure that the knowledge learnt can be applied, re-enforced and is correct, and where it is not, the coach (the learning leader) can jump in and assist.

ALP: The Action Learning Process

The action learning process is at the heart of Resimion. The actual components of action learning vary from definition to definition, but generally it breaks down to 4 key areas:

  1. Having a real problem of importance and complexity, with appropriate constraints to solve: our simulated scenario
  2. A Problem Solver or a team of problem solvers: this is our learner
  3. A process to follow promoting inquiry and reflection: these are our actions and conclusions, with a continually changing state
  4. A motivation, or a commitment to the process. where we use gamification to drive participation through countdowns, budgets and points systems during the game.

More about each of those components over the next few months.

But wait… Re-sim-i-on?

Why the name? Well, it’s based on the term Research Simulation. We call a Resimion game a ‘Resim’, and each game has a unique Resim code. Each Resim represents a unique simulated scenario, with a set of facts, actions to be taken and conclusions (or ‘outcomes’). 

Following our work with several groups in some simulation large ‘public order’ and crime simulations, we had the idea to take it a step further – into the learning world properly. We came up with the name, and so Resimion was born out of a small multi-year project at GVI into it’s own product and company.

So, with that – I introduce Welcome to Action Learning with a twist!


Comments are closed