Active Learning Examples: Lost at Sea II | On Effective Instruction

Active Learning Examples: Lost at Sea II

Lost at Sea


Name of Activity: Lost at Sea, Extreme Human Resources


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 on individual slips of paper:

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.  You have already decided which items you are bringing with you.  As the water is creeping into the hull and the fire is raging out of control you notice a problem with the raft.  It can only carry two more people…  There are 10 people on the boat.  You now have to decide which two people are going to live, and which 8 people are going to eventually die.  The boat is quickly sinking and you must make your choice quickly. 

Next to random names on the paper is a small black mark. This indicates, to the student, the person they are “representing” on the boat. If their person is picked to be one of the last two people on the boat they receive extra credit.

As a group they must decide who is thrown off the boat and who stays. Each decision must be made as a “motion”, seconded by another castaway and then voted upon. A simple majority vote wins the motion.

The students work together as a group to complete the task as they discuss and debate the merits of each person.


Result of Activity:

Human Resources can be an interesting subject. In this assignment students must complete a job analysis, job description, and perform a candidate evaluation and selection. By making the scenario outlandish the students can see all the interesting aspects that go into hiring for a specific job.


General Thoughts of Activity:

Giving the students difficult choices always gets them talking and interested in the material. By making them personally vested in the success of someone on the boat makes them even more so. I find that being the devil’s advocate and inserting ideas into the conversation can help these large groups function more efficiently and keep the process moving.

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