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Real and Virtual Experiential Learning on the Mekong: Field Schools, e-Sims and Cultural Challenge

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This paper describes two innovative and linked approaches to teaching and student learning in the environmental and development geography of the Mekong region, a region remote from students' normal experiential options. The first approach is field-based learning through Field Schools carried out in Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. The second approach is a structured role-playing web-based simulation exercise (e-Sim) on Mekong Basin environmental management challenges. This paper discusses the complementarities of these approaches and considers the degree to which these two experiential approaches to teaching and learning have contributed to key competences, namely cross-cultural communication and understanding, multi-disciplinary approaches to environment and development, and regional knowledge of Southeast Asia.

Keywords: Asia-Pacific geography; Mekong; development; environment; experiential learning; field school

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03098260500290892

Affiliations: 1: University of Sydney, School of Geosciences, Australia 2: Macquarie University, Department of Human Geography, Australia

Publication date: November 1, 2005

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