Designing Authentic Cybersecurity Learning Experiences: Lessons from the Cybermatics Playable Case Study

AbstractThis paper reports our work on an educational simulation that we call the Playable Case Study (PCS). A PCS is characterized by a fictitious narrative integrated with real-world learning activities, helping students learn skills, knowledge, and dispositions relevant to a professional career. We describe a recent pilot test of a PCS focused on the discipline of cybersecurity, emphasizing the kinds of tensions and difficulties that can arise during the development of immersive, experiential learning experiences: a) challenges accompanying the work of interdisciplinary PCS teams, particularly maintaining technical accuracy while still developing an authentic and engaging narrative; b) reconciling the opportunities provided by the philosophy of the simulation with the need to scaffold educational experiences to support students’ capabilities; and c) integrating the PCS into the classroom environment. We also provide design recommendations, in the form of questions that others can consider if they are attempting to create similar educational experiences.

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