Chapter one of the text A Guide to Authentic E-Learning by Herrington, Reeves, and Oliver (2010) covers the ways in which elements of authentic learning should be incorporated into e-learning. They argue that in order for authentic learning to be best utilized, it should be designed to incorporate the following features: authentic contexts, authentic activities, modelling by experts, multiple perspectives, opportunities for collaborative construction, opportunities for reflection, articulation, coaching and scaffolding, and authentic assessment.
The authors encourage the use of complex authentic problems in instruction; for my rescue volunteer program, I plan to have learners look at images of dogs and decide whether the images depict relaxed or stressed dogs. This activity may help volunteers recall dog body language that indicates stressed states so they will be prepared to remove their foster dogs from potentially dangerous situations.
Another important aspect of authenticity is modeling by experts. An important component of the volunteer training will be discussion among new volunteers and much more experienced volunteers so that the trainees can learn from how others have handled various situations. This is also important for ensuring that new volunteers are exposed to multiple perspectives; experienced volunteers will offer many options for dealing with similar situations, from dealing with prospective adopters to socializing foster dogs.
The authors recommend providing opportunities for learners to collaboratively construct knowledge. I plan to incorporate at least one activity in which volunteers work together to build a medical reference guide.
Herrington, J., Reeves, T.C., & Oliver, R. (2010). A guide to authentic e-learning. Retrieved from http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/1903/1/a_guide_to_authentic_learning.pdf