Greetings from Moodle Moot Au 2010 where Aliya Steed (ANU) is talking about "Moving in- and out-of-role: Safe & unsafe spaces in online simulation learning". ANU uses a virtual legal practice to assist postgraduate law students to gain some practical experience. Students form simulated three person legal practices via the UK developed SIMulated Professional Learning Environment (SIMPLE). Real professional lawyers then set the students tasks and see how they perform. The students are placed under pressure to perform, but with the reassurance that real clients would not be harmed by mistakes made by the students. This is a powerful technique, which I use for my Green ICT course at ANU: in that case the students undertake real projects for their real employer (or if they do not have an employer a ANU IT manager acts as the employer).One interesting aspects of work place simulations for education is that these are becoming more real. Not only is the sophistication of the simulations improving, but real work is becoming more virtual as more use is made of online tools for communication. As an example, lawyers such as Philip Argy conduct international intellectual property arbitration online. Even aircraft pilots can do most of their training in a simulation and increasing numbers fly real aircraft remotely from a desktop computer.
It occurred to me that ANU's approach might be usefully combined with elements of USQ's use of Second Life to simulate a courtroom.