The instructional technology community is in the midst of a philosophical shift from a behaviorist to a constructivist framework, a move that may begin to address the growing rift between formal school learning and real-life learning. One theory of learning that has the capacity to promote authentic learning is that of situated learning.
The purpose of this three part study was firstly, to identify critical characteristics of a situated learning environment from the extensive literature base on the subject; secondly, to operationalise the critical characteristics of a situated learning environment by designing a multimedia program which incorporated the identified characteristics; and thirdly, to investigate students’ perceptions of their experiences using an multimedia package based on a situated learning framework.
The learning environment comprised a multimedia program for preservice teachers on assessment in mathematics, together with recommended implementation conditions in the classroom. Eight students were observed and interviewed to explore their perceptions of the situated learning environment. Findings suggest that the use of the situated learning framework appeared to provide effective instructional design guidelines for the design of an environment for the acquisition of advanced knowledge.