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Using a Virtual National Park to Teach Workplace Skills in Conservation Management

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Teaching conservation management means more than just learning about solving complex and difficult environmental issues. Such learning must also consider the likely administrative context that students will end up working in. This article outlines the development of a role-play that uses online technology to teach several administrative processes associated with conservation management. As such, this paper shows how a role-play within a digital environment can be used to provide scenarios that are difficult to obtain through a work placement. In developing this role-play, a number of errors occurred most noticeably with insufficient consideration about how to facilitate the use of IT in the classroom. Having made some changes, evaluation now suggests that students find the role-play more stimulating that the traditional lecture-style format of the same material. An important lesson is that the use of role-plays within a digital environment is not simply about using technology, but about people and the way learning is supported.
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Keywords: Role-play; conservation management; ecotourism; work-integrated learning

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Environmental Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Australia

Publication date: 2011-02-01

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