Case-based authentic scenarios: Print, video, or audio OR all of the above

Posted on: January 30, 2008

From the course evaluation feedback we have analysed, it is clear that students appreciate the blurring of theory to practice – a position which is also shared by Harrington and Oliver (2000). As such, one of the critical elements of the new learning design for the auditing course is that knowledge must be learned in context in which such knowledge will be used in real life. Business cases provide effective business contexts that can mediate authentic learning opportunities (McLellan, 1994). In its written form, however, business cases are often difficult to understand, particularly if they include large amounts of accounting data coupled with lengthy narratives to describe complex business situations. We are mindful that a large proportion (more than 70%) of the student cohorts in the auditing course are non native speakers of the English language and may find it difficult to deal with complex business situations by simply reading about them. Muldoon, Pawsey & Palm (2007) indeed found in their study that business cases became more accessible to students by combining print and pictorial representations, which made complex accounting problem solving more manageable. Equally important for this redesign, however, is recognising different learning styles and preferences.We are aware of possible authentic contexts that environments like Second Life and Alive 3D can provide in terms of reenacting authentic accounting practices that combine textual, aural and visual approaches in the delivery of business cases. However, we are also critically mindful of students and teaching staff readiness to a new learning environment and any radical transformation of delivery methods. It was these dilemmas that facilitated CDDU staff to brainstorm strategies that meet design goals for the auditing course, with the aim of overcoming identified user difficulties in rich environments like Second Life and Alive Web 3D technologies. Our design solution interestingly fitted the description of “machinima” – at the time we didn’t know that such concept existed!My next blogs will talk about our experiences in the development of The Audit Practice, which makes use of machinimas. I will share other key elements of the learning design, the idea of constructive alignment, critical design questions we have identified thus far and where we are at in the course redesign.In the meantime though, it would be great to hear ideas/experiences out there with these types of projects and/or thinking about embarking on a similar project to transform courses… care to share them with us?


Herrington, J., and Oliver, R. (2000), An instructional design framework for authentic learning environments, Educational Technology Research and Development, 48(3), pp.23-48.

McLellan, H. (1994), Situated learning: Continuing conversation, Educational Technology, 33(3), pp.39-45.

Muldoon, N., Pawsey, N. & Palm, C. (2007). An investigation into the use of a blended model of learning in a first year accounting subject. Paper presented at AFAANZ Conference, Gold Coast, Australia, July 1-3.


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