SkillQuests: bringing real life to the classroom with a collaborative computerbased instructional tool
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This paper explores the development and implementation of a structured computer-based learning tool, named a "SkillQuest", for undergraduate students studying introductory project management at Bond University. This SkillQuest, "Making sense of all the dollars" was developed as an alternative to a lecture on project budgeting. Students are placed in a real-life working environment via a project scenario relevant to their chosen degree. In alignment with the theories of Gestalt, Constructivism and Experiential Learning, the SkillQuest provides a collaborative, student-centred approach where the lecturer acts a facilitator to the learning process. Student survey responses indicate the SkillQuest was a useful learning tool, interesting and a pleasant change from lectures. Statistical analyses of exam results support the use of the SkillQuest as a teaching tool. Use of the SkillQuest to actively engage students in the learning process was deemed a success. It is the belief of the authors that this type of computer-based, collaborative learning can allow students to learn more interactively and in an environment that more closely aligns with their learning preferences. Such a tool can be used in any university discipline in place of the traditional lecture-style approach or as a complement. SkillQuests can be undertaken with the instructor present in a classroom setting or as homework, making them also useful for online studies. This was a small pilot study in a single application. The authors hope that others will adapt this tool for use in their classrooms.