Simulations: Experiential Learning Tools

Prateeksha Dutt January 31, 2020
Have you heard of learning to drive using simulators? Simulations as you know allow us to imitate real-world activities and processes in a safe environment. They provide an experience as close to real activity with the added advantage of unlimited practice. With the reset option learner can approach a situation with different strategies. The use  of simulation in education and training  started in aviation training and medical field due to safety and cost considerations. The medical field is one of the fastest growing area for usage of simulations Survey by the Association of American Medical Colleges found that more than 80% of medical colleges use simulations during the 4 years of studies. Today simulations are used  in almost every discipline.  
Simulations as Learning Tools
Instructional simulations have the potential to engage students in deep learning. Deep learning empowers understanding as opposed to surface learning which deals with memorization.  Through simulations, a learner learns to reflect on and extend knowledge by active exploration and by using problem solving approach. In a simulated environment, the learner is compelled to react to a situation or a problem. As a result the user: 
  • garners higher interest through engaging participation
  • develops critical thinking, imagination, and creativity
  • connects real-life phenomena to underlying concepts
  • tests decision-making skills in “Cause and Effect” type of simulations  (Learning from mistakes)
  • builds proficiency in “Try Yourself” type of simulations
Instructional Theory behind simulations
It is based Edgar Dale’s Cone of Experience. Edgar Dale’s Cone of Experience is a model that incorporates several theories related to instructional design and learning processes. During the 1960s, Edgar Dale theorized that learners retain more information by what theydo as opposed to what theyhear, read, or observe. Today, thislearning by doing is known asexperiential learning. Edger Dales cone of experience list 10 learning activities, categorized under headings: reading , hearing, watching, speaking ,writing and doing , in the form of a triangle in the hierarchical order. These activities are also clubbed for learning outcomes such as: Define, Describe, Explain, Demonstrate, Apply, Analyze Evaluate in the same order. This cone states people remember 10% of what they read 20% of they hear 30% of what they see, 50% of what they see and hear 70% of what they say and write and 90% of what they do.
Steps to create a simulation
Apply ADDIE Model to create 
  • Analysis Phase: Select the concepts 
Analyze learning objectives for the simulation  Identify one or more scenarios that can be explored by the users to complete the desired learning objectives. 
  • Design Phase Describe the logic to be used for working of the control 
Design which is responsive and devise agnostic 
  • Development: Create a sb, wireframe, Develop 
  • Evaluation: Test out on real students 
  Simulations are recommended to be used by a learner as self-learning tools to bridge learning gaps and reinforce concepts. . The free-play simulations can also be used by teachers as teaching aids for effective guided learning, scenario-based learning and reinforcement sessions.    

Prateeksha Dutt

As a Lead Instructional Designer with Magic Edtech, Prateeksha is actively engaged in conceptualizing and designing various digital learning objects and immersive offerings.