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Developing professional identity through the potential of scenario-based learning

Page history last edited by Norman Jackson 13 years, 2 months ago



As close as it gets: Developing professional identity through the potential of scenario-based learning

Edward Errington James Cook University Queensland, Australia


Scenario-based learning (SBL) predicated on situated learning theory and the valuing of contextual knowledge, may provide one stratagem for getting students ,as would-be professionals, nearer to the realities of their chosen profession via the construction and deconstruction of scenarios. Within SBL processes, students have opportunities to engage with realistic sets of circumstances, experience true-to-life tasks, accept authentic challenges and assume work-oriented roles - all mediated through the language and communication styles found in real-life settings. 

This chapter focuses on the potential of scenario-based learning to supplement/enrich work placements, internships and field work in the professions - so contributing to shaping and sustaining of professional identity and enhancing employability skills.  A survey of the literature suggests four main scenario approaches are used by tertiary educators to foster professional identity: each approach is designed to supplement rather than substitute lived work experience.  Errington (2003) has labelled these approaches: skills-based; problem-based; issues-based; and, speculative-based scenarios respectively. Each approach may be used singularly or in combination to facilitate/reveal understandings of workplace identity at specific stages of the would-be professional’s journey.


The chapter is in two parts: The first locates attributes of scenario-based learning that lend themselves to the (de)construction of students’ professional identity.  The second part discusses specific scenario approaches that may be employed singularly, or in combination, to target particular aspects of professionalism including identity.  The chapter concludes by noting the importance of teacher knowledge in determining the likely success of SBL in advancing students’ notions of professional identity.



























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