The mission of a goal-based scenario states the goal students are trying to accomplish. It is the component that most immediately sets the tone, and captures the nature of what they are attempting to accomplish. It is concerned with what students achieve, not how they achieve it. A number of GBSs may share the same mission, each using different cover stories, focuses, or operations to pursue it. For example, the mission of "build a house" may involve drawing up a set of blueprints, putting together a set of specifications, or actually assembling a house.
When creating a mission, the designer must realize that students need to be able to clearly judge when they have achieved the mission: to be able to recognize what achieving that goal will mean. A mission of "becoming honest" is not concrete enough to be meaningful. On the other hand, "creating a news broadcast" is a meaningful mission.
Further, students must understand that success in accomplishing the mission means they will be able to accomplish a general class of goals outside of the bounds of the specific GBS. This helps make clear the utility of the target skills. The mission must be one which allows the student to say, "If I can do this, I can also do all these other things," as opposed to, "OK, I did this and it was fun, but so what?." Learning how to drive by delivering packages in Manhattan, for example, allows a student to say, "If I can drive here, I can drive anywhere!" Navigating around cones in a parking lot might involve many of the same skills, but does not convince students of the utility and robustness of their skills.
The Cover Story of a GBS
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