Creating the Best Possible Learning Environment

Broadcast News is based on the simple precept that students' interests should drive their learning. Converting this precept into working software, however, is difficult. It requires programs like Broadcast News to include several teaching architectures so that the program can provide a well-rounded environment to its users.

Broadcast News contains four of these architectures: incidental learning, learning by exploring, case-based teaching, and failure-driven learning.

While students are engaged in creating effective new stories, they are also learning historical facts, political science, and current events through incidental learning. When students decide to investigate to improve their stories, they employ the learning by exploring architecture to get answers for their questions. When they make questionable decisions about how to structure their stories, experts provide them with case-based teaching. Finally, these experts only offer advice after the student has taken action and even then only offer guidance instead of giving dictates. This approach supports failure-driven learning, allowing students to make their own decisions, take risks, and make their own mistakes.

By applying these teaching architectures to an intrinsically interesting problem, Broadcast News satisfies a crucially important requisite for what education should be: fun. Teaching students in this way transforms a traditionally boring subject like social studies into an active, exciting, and enjoyable experience.

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