Active Learning Examples: Lost at Sea | On Effective Instruction

Active Learning Examples: Lost at Sea

Lost at Sea

Name of Activity: Lost at Sea, Decision Making


Sam Vegter



BUS 110


Description of Activity:

Students must make decisions based on information provided in the case.

Procedure for Activity:

Students are given the following information:

You are on a sinking boat in the middle of the sea.  The ship is on fire and you don’t have much time left.

Placed on the smoldering deck before you are fifteen items.  As the water is creeping into the hull and the fire is raging out of control you need to figure out what the most important items would be for your survival in the water.

You have already inflated the life raft; you just need to choose what items you would bring with you, in the order of their importance.  Some may be able to join you on the raft, some might not…

The nearest island is 400 miles away……..      

They are then given a handout of the items available to them and a chart in which to mark their rankings.

I first require students to rank the items individually. I note the time it takes to complete.
I then make the students pair up and re-rank their items. I again note the time it takes to complete.
Finally the class is split into only two groups and they must come to a consensus on their rankings and I note the time taken to finish. Once they are complete I have them write their answers on the board and I compare their ranks to the “answers” I’ve received from a Navy Seal. The group that comes closest to the official ranks wins extra credit.
Result of Activity:

Students learn the various methods of managerial decision making. Individual decision making is fast, but comes at a cost of good information. As you add people into the process you start to see that it takes longer to complete, but are also receiving much more information on the decision.


General Thoughts of Activity:

This is one of my favorite activities because it tricks the students into learning the material. I can cover decision making processes, cultural decision making, and managerial decision making all in one lecture. They “experience” what it takes in each level and come out with a better understanding of all these theoretical differences.

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