March 20, 2023



A context can be an exercise, scenario, case, etc., that provides an authentic setting for learners to demonstrate competence by applying course content. A series of carefully constructed contexts can be used to expose learners to a wide range of experiences in a relatively short length of time. In addition, contexts can also help learners prioritize course content, and perhaps even justify the time and effort required to learn it. In essence, contexts satisfy the BDSW factor for course content (Big Deal So What). Of course, this does not mean that all content that cannot be applied in a context should be removed from a course, though it should at least be scrutinized for its continued relevance given the ever increasing amount of information that learners must understand, and the rapidly changing demands for competence in the workplace.

One resource for authoring, sharing, and distributing contexts is the Applied Learning Platform, which is available at It is a product of Rick Mills Consulting LLC. Free and subscription versions are available.