Marketing & Management
Bringing leadership to life online: Animating Leadership Decision Making Learning and Assessments
Emma Sherry
Department of Marketing and Management
Benji Zorella
Learning Transformations Unit
This project introduces a radical overhaul of learning and assessment for SPO30001 Leading Sport Organisations.
This project has four key aims:
1. to bring classroom role play experiential learning to life on the screen with Adobe animated choose-you-own-adventure branching scenarios
2. replace an online test with a personal reflection on the animated interactive activity
3. translating a static case study report into an interactive, multi-media webpage and
4. developing a sustainable and adaptable learning and teaching technology that can be readily easily translated into the online environment for SOL delivery partners.
Resources
Shareable teaching and learning resources for this project coming soon!


Problem
SPO30001 Leading Sport Organisations is a final year unit that seeks to facilitate student learning about leadership and governance in the Australian sport sector. Learning about leading often requires "lived experience" and traditionally this has been undertaken in the classroom via role plays or other forms of experiential learning. However, for those students engaged in online or blended learning, or those unable to participate in person, the ability to engage in in-person activities is not possible. To address this problem we sought to provide students with an authentic, higher order thinking assessment focused on providing an "in-person" experience of a stakeholder board meeting via an animated decision making role play.

Project Overview
The development of an interactive decision making animation sought to replicate an in-class experiential learning experience for students in digital education settings. For the educator, this involved converting an existing leadership role play scenario (a word document) into a story-board, from which an animation could be built. Characters and their bios were developed, and key information and decision points were provided. At each key decision point additional resources were embedded to further facilitate student learning throughout the experience.
Overlaying the short animation were HP5 decision points, where students can interact with the animation to click for further detail or read more information, and to make their decisions. At then end of the animation, students are asked to reflect on their experience in the role play with four key reflective practice questions, which forms the assessable component of the activity.

Emergent Outcomes
The project sought to enhance the digital learning experience of the students by moving from a traditional in-class role play learning activity - that required students to attend class in person and be comfortable with a level of "performance and play" - to one that allows the learner to engage with the experiential learning of leadership decision making via an animation. The animation not only replicates the in-person learning activity - ensuring access and equity across different student groups, but also facilitates embedded, interactive learning materials throughout. Once the student has worked their way through the assessment, they are then assessed on their personal reflection of the experience, how they critically engaged with the decision making process, and how they drew on their learned and lived experience. Through this activity, students were provided with a space to engage in applied learning, using a real-life scenario, in a way that is inclusive and judgement free. Students noted in their reflections and informal feedback that they were surprised at how the activity facilitated deeper understanding of the role of leaders, and provided opportunity to consider how they may lead and engage in decision making in their own organisations and future careers.

Digital Literacies
The interactive decision making project focused primarily on information literacy and critical literacy in an interactive digital online learning experience. However, students were also encouraged to enhance their own digital literacy via their final assessment, which required them to develop an organisational case study using an Adobe CC Express webpage, to replace a traditional word document report. Student digital literacy was supported via both a session with the Adobe coaches, supported by a learning site (Canvas) module with resources and videos specific to the Adobe products and supports available. Skills were evidenced and assessed via the submitted task which required students to capture and convey (via a range of digital artifacts ) a cohesive and rich case study of their chosen sport organisation. Embedding the required detail within projects required careful consideration of the digital content chosen as well as consideration of how it could best be presented.

Key Learnings
Upon completing the project, the teaching and learning design team reflected on key learnings. First, we recognised that the power of the animated role play was not only in its accessibility for students across different teaching and learning settings, but that the use of the overlaid H5P text and decisions allows for simple and easy updating or changing of materials across teaching periods. Providing an interactive and scalable learning experience, that replicates some of the best interactive teaching and learning in a classroom setting into a digital online delivery, provides an opportunity for experiential learning of a complex process in a safe and inclusive mode. Students were surprised at their engagement in and with the role play, and how readily they were able to reconsider their role as leaders and team members in a decision making process. This digital learning experience provides authentic learning that cannot be readily completed via traditional modes of online delivery. We noted however areas for improvement, which is to be expected in this first iteration of this activity. The three decision points were relatively simple and straight forward, and some students wished for a more challenging experience. We also had to reframe and reinforce the assessment with the students that the interactive experience was the applied learning task, but the assessment was the reflections on that experience. Students appeared to assume that there were "right and wrong" answers in the role play, and focused on getting the decisions "right" more than reflecting on their role in the process - for example one student noted " Yeah I really enjoyed it. I think the length was perfect as it was easy to remember what had been said. I also think the structure was good, the only thing I would maybe change is making the decisions a little bit tougher or slightly different. They were all linked in the aspect that it was about diving deeper into a concept, however, I think the role play could maybe finish with a tougher question around a particular issue in particular."

Impact Data
Students were provided with a two-question survey immediately after the assessment was completed to ask qualitative feedback on the role play and the reflective assessment. Illustrative quotes from students are provided below:
I found it super intriguing and fun. It was cool to be able to be placed in a real life experience and the layout and animations were super cool.
I liked writing the reflection and referring back to the theory and a real life situation.
super fun assignment and was especially nice since this time of the semester is pretty busy with 2000 long word assignments for other units.
[I] liked how it gave feedback
Additionally, the student reflections of the assessment also provided insights into their experience of the interactive learning activity, for example:
Reflecting on my experience in the board role play I believe I can transfer this into future experiences and particularly, future experiences in the sport industry. When gaining a new role at a new sports organisation I think these specific decision-making skills in the role play that ultimately lead me to decide for the board to gain further information, ask more questions and schedule another meeting can be transferable as its important when first starting a new job to ask as many questions as possible and gain as much information as you can.
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