Simulations allow us to interact with a physical model or abstract process. Common examples of simulations include mechanical bulls, flight simulators, and the digital simulation game SimCity.
As a method of communication and a tool for learning, simulations have been with us for a very long time. Popular examples include tactical simulations such as, simulated warfare in the tournaments and jousts of the Middle Ages and strategic simulations such as Kriegspiel and Chess (both also war simulations). (Gredler, 2004; Macedonia, 2002)
Several compelling features of simulations that make them powerful learning objects include:
- the ability to provide students with experiences that simulate those that may be too expensive, dangerous, or difficult to engage in for educational purposes
- providing learners an active role in the simulated system
- providing feedback embedded as changes in the states of the simulated environment (Gredler, 2004).
Because simulations are particularly adept at providing engaging, authentic experiences, we at eLearning Services design and develop custom digital simulations (from very simple to quite complex) to address the specific needs of the target audience. Our designers often include game elements within the simulation to take advantage of their inherent cognitive and motivational benefits.
Gredler, M. E. (2004). Games and simulations and their relationship to learning. In D. H. Jonassen (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology (2nd ed., pp. 571-582). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.