Work-based simulations: using text messaging and the role of the virtual context

Sarah Catharine Cornelius, Philip Giles Marston

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Simulations provide learning experiences which help to prepare learners for work-related tasks and real world experiences and allow the application of theoretical knowledge to practical situations. This chapter outlines the design of alternate reality simulations that make use of SMS text messaging to provide authentic learning experiences. The design of the first SMS simulation to be developed – for a flood disaster scenario for an undergraduate course in applied geomorphology – is discussed. Details are also provided of a contrasting simulation for a mentoring experience developed for work-based learners. Findings from mixed methods studies informed by activity theory which aimed to evaluate learners’ experiences of both simulations are presented. These findings raise issues which may influence successful implementation of SMS simulations, in particular the need for careful consideration of contextual issues and sensitive implementation of real-time mobile learning with work-based learners. The chapter also introduces the ‘virtual context’ – a persistent, consistent, realistic and engaging physical and social scenario which is distinct from the physical and social context in which the learner is located. Finally, the chapter proposes guidelines for the successful implementation of similar alternate reality simulations using SMS.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWork-based mobile learning
Subtitle of host publicationconcepts and cases
EditorsNorbert Pachler, Christoph Primmer, Judith Seipold
PublisherPeter Lang Pub.
ISBN (Print)3039119826, 978-3039119820
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2011


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