UNE educator wins learning award with reality gaming platform

Published 21 February 2014

photoAn educational alternate reality gaming platform has won an academic from the University of New England a coveted award in the International Conference on Open and Flexible Education (ICOFE).

Dr Leopold Bayerlein from the UNE Business School was awarded first place in the Best Practices in Flexible Learning Competition for his online teaching platform, Balancing Life, which embeds learning activities into the social setting in which students are expected to apply their skills after leaving university study.

Dr Bayerlein said that Balancing Life is a gaming platform that allows students to interact with academic materials through a custom produced online TV-show.

Balancing Life relies on TV-show style storytelling to create a virtual social setting that mimics a graduate workplace.

“Students study academic materials by assisting the show’s main character in his work and life challenges.”

The ICOFE Best Practices of Flexible Learning competition was comprised of an international field of high-quality learning platforms designed to provide flexible online learning experiences to distance education students.

In its decision to award the 1st place to the “Balancing Life” platform, the selection committee highlighted that Balancing Life outperformed all other entries in terms of flexibility, student engagement and innovation. In its decision, the committee also highlighted that Balancing Life enables students to develop critically important soft skills through engaging social settings, rather than traditional instruction.

The Balancing Life platform has previously been awarded a position as finalist in the 2013 LearnX Awards (Asia Pacific).

Dr Leopold Bayerlein has previously received a Platinum Award for Online Facilitation in the 2013 LearnX (Asia Pacific) awards, as well as UNE Business School Excellence in Teaching awards in 2012 and 2013.