Digital Simulation in Teaching and Learning

Digital Simulation in Teaching and Learning

Youngkyun Baek (Korea National University of Education, Korea)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-322-7.ch002
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This chapter expands upon the definition of a simulation with two categories: experiential and symbolic. It discusses the interactive, experiential trend in digital teaching and learning, and the educational merits of simulations. This chapter tries to locate digital simulation’s position in these trends. In doing so, it explores the educational merits of digital simulation, discusses the learning mode of digital simulation, and outlines what digital simulation conveys to deliver educational contents. In addition, it will look at the characteristics and functions of digital simulation. Mainly this chapter focuses on how simulation is used for teaching and learning. It highlights simulation’s features to be effective for teaching and learning. It also introduces challenges to simulation to overcome its disadvantages. Several examples of digital simulation in teaching and learning are explored: They are “Max Trax, Strategy CoPilot, Virtual School, simSchool, simClass, Krucible”, and “Starry Night”. Lastly, this chapter seeks to forecast the future of teaching and learning with a focus on information technology and simulation by finding simulation’s role and contribution in learning context.
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This section summarizes interactive and experiential trends in teaching and learning. It tries to locate digital simulation’s position in these trends. In doing so, it explores the educational merits of digital simulation, discusses the learning mode of digital simulation, and outlines what digital simulation conveys to deliver educational contents.

The Interactive, Experiential Trend in Digital Teaching and Learning

New ways of teaching and learning are arising, made possible by a variety of new technologies, online resources, and educational delivery methods. These new approaches induce teachers and students to perform different academic roles, share workloads in new ways, and acquire and utilize new skills and knowledge (Hovenga & Bricknell, 2004). The changes began to appear with the enormous increase in and effectiveness of information technology and computer use, but there is an even more significant change emerging now: digital games and simulations, artificial intelligence and virtual reality with immersive interactive technology. These new tools require teachers to devise new teaching methods for today’s students, who have grown up with such technologies. Students are comfortable being ubiquitously connected, wired “24/7” and multi-tasking, and accustomed to using technology as and when they wish for their daily lives, including learning. This trend toward self-directed, highly interactive, rich-media experiential environments, evident in sites like YouTube, online news media sites, and iTunes, challenges educators to examine the power of interactive digital environments. MacDonald (2008) notes that today’s students want, need, and expect the flexibility, convenience, interactivity, and animation afforded by the use of technology in their courses and programs.

The trend toward increased interactivity and personal experience is expected to continue into the future and to become more embedded in work and everyday life. For example, Dwerryhouse (2001) asserts that future learning is work-related learning, which involves learning embedded within the workday to promote higher levels of productivity. Self-directed learning, which is the most personalized kind of learning, is more prevalent nowadays in informal learning settings (e.g. museums and exhibits) than in the formal educational system, but with technology, could become embedded in the student’s “workday” to help them achieve higher levels of productivity. Experiential learning, a hallmark of the kind of learning that is embedded in games and simulations, is assumed to be the ideal learning method for self-directed learning. Besides the advantages gained when learners take responsibility for their own improvement and advancement, experiential learning is expected to increase and deepen understanding of a subject, and to increase self-efficacy and motivation. Experiential learning fosters in-depth information processing and elaboration, as it builds up learning skills and leads to higher motivation for learning initiated by a learner’s direct involvement.

According to Kolb (1984), experiential learning consists of four elements: concrete experience, observation and reflection, the formation of abstract concepts, and testing in new situations. It is suggested that the learning process begin with carrying out a particular action and then seeing the effect of the action in this situation. The second step is to understand these effects in the particular instance enough to understand what follows if the same action is taken in similar situations. The third step is to understand the general principle under which the particular instance falls. The last step is to transfer what is obtained into real life. Because experiential learning is often equated with high levels of learner activity, simulation-based learning is thought to be ideal especially for those who may be less motivated to learn with traditional materials. The contextual content of simulations allows the learner to “learn by doing” (Kluge, 2007).

With the advent of the computer age, digital simulation provides effective virtual learning experiences for learners in many fields, such as medicine, police training, engineering, physics, the military and aviation. Prensky (2001) notes that learning by doing is central to game and simulation based learning, because it turns out that “doing” is something that computer simulations are especially good at; they allow us to interact with them. Of course, there are many ways of learning by doing; drill and practice is one form of doing; exploring, discovery, and problem solving are other forms. What is essential is active participation by the learner. We thus expect to observe, research, measure and report on the impacts of active participation and learning by doing—interaction and experience—in simulation-based learning.

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Rhonda Christensen, Gerald Knezek
Chapter 1
A Simulation Primer  (pages 1-24)
Katrin Becker, James R. Parker
This chapter provides an introduction to digital simulations for those interested in using or designing them for instructional purposes. There has... Sample PDF
A Simulation Primer
Chapter 2
Youngkyun Baek
This chapter expands upon the definition of a simulation with two categories: experiential and symbolic. It discusses the interactive, experiential... Sample PDF
Digital Simulation in Teaching and Learning
Chapter 3
Peter R. Albion
Interaction is fundamental to the learning process and game-like 3D online spaces present opportunities for enhancing learning through supporting a... Sample PDF
Virtual Spaces for Teaching and Learning
Chapter 4
David Williamson Shaffer
Multiculturalism is an essential tool for democratic citizenship in a world made ever more closely interconnected by information technologies. In... Sample PDF
Computers and the End of Progressive Education
Chapter 5
Celina Byers
The desired outcome of instructional game design is to combine the powerful attraction of games and the proven effectiveness of instructional system... Sample PDF
Combining Instructional Design and Game Design
Chapter 6
Helyn Gould, Michael Hughes, Paul Maharg, Emma Nicol
Game-based learning and simulation is a powerful mode of learning, used by industries as diverse as aviation and health sciences. While there are... Sample PDF
The Narrative Event Diagram: A Tool for Designing Professional Simulations
Chapter 7
David Gibson
In order for a digital simulation to provide an artificial teaching environment there needs to be a computational model of the act of teaching... Sample PDF
Modeling Classroom Behaviors in Software Agents
Chapter 8
Sara Dexter
The new technology-enhanced conception of assessment stands in contrast to the traditional view of assessments as tests of a learner’s ability to... Sample PDF
Design Principles for Interactive Learning Environments with Embedded Formative Assessments
Chapter 9
Penny deByl
Three-dimensional virtual learning environments provide students with pedagogic experiences beyond traditional two-dimensional textbook and Web page... Sample PDF
Hybrid 2D/3D Development of Interactive Simulations
Chapter 10
Len Annetta, James Minogue, Shawn Holmes, Meng-Tzu Cheng, Elizabeth Folta, Marta Klesath
This chapter will provide concrete examples of how a research group at North Carolina State University is using case studies as the... Sample PDF
Using Case Studies as the Narrative to Game Design and Development
Chapter 11
Mark Girod
Teacher education is currently facing pressures to demonstrate efficacy in preparing teachers who can affect P-12 student learning gains. Teacher... Sample PDF
Exploring Teacher Problem Solving Using Simulation
Chapter 12
Donguk Cheong, Bokyeong Kim
A computer simulation for improving teaching is expected to remove the potential negative effects on real students while creating an environment... Sample PDF
A Simulation for Improving Teachers' Motivational Skills
Chapter 13
Damián Piccolo, Anna Oskorus
Nearly half of all new teachers leave the field of education within the first five years (Ingersoll, 2003; Alliance for Excellent Education, 2005).... Sample PDF
Designing Commercial Simulations for Teachers
Chapter 14
Scott J. Warren, Richard A. Stein
This chapter discusses the design and use of simulated teaching experiences contextualized through role-play in a multi-user virtual environment as... Sample PDF
Simulating Teaching Experience with Role-Play
Chapter 15
Bokyeong Kim, Donguk Cheong
This chapter presents the theory, structure, and development process used in designing a teaching simulation. simClass was designed to help teachers... Sample PDF
simClass: Simulate Your Class Before You Teach
Chapter 16
Karen Schrier, Charles K. Kinzer
Teacher education that emphasizes the understanding and assessment of ethics can support the creation of an ethically aware and critically engaged... Sample PDF
Using Digital Games to Develop Ethical Teachers
Chapter 17
Shelby P. Morge
Recently adopted 21st Century goals stress the importance of preparing students for a globally competitive society by providing them with... Sample PDF
Modeling in the Classroom Using Squeak Etoys
Chapter 18
Mary Jo Dondlinger, Scott Joseph Warren
This chapter discusses Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) as simulated experiences, and presents the conceptual framework that informed the design and... Sample PDF
Alternate Reality Games as Simulations
Chapter 19
Caitlin Kelleher
Self-directed, open-ended projects can enable students to pursue their own interests and lead to deep learning. However, it can be difficult to... Sample PDF
Supporting Open-Ended Programming Assignments
Chapter 20
Kay Kyeongju Seo, Aimee Byk, Chris Collins
How can one bring cognitive apprenticeship into the virtual world? This chapter addresses how to construct a 3D online digital environment that... Sample PDF
Cognitive Apprenticeship Inspired Simulations
Chapter 21
Jae Yeob Jung, Hyung Sung Park
The purpose of this chapter is to explore how learning, by making games, can provide opportunities for higher-order thinking such as problem... Sample PDF
Learning by Doing via Game Making
Chapter 22
Christian Sebastian Loh, Jae Hwan Byun
Game Modification, or Modding, is a unique and valuable way of learning with digital games as well as a means to earn beginners’ stripes in the game... Sample PDF
Modding Neverwinter Nights Into Serious Games
Chapter 23
Teresa Franklin, David Chelberg, Chang Liu
Virtual environments are a topic of discussion for many in the business and commerce fields. However, K-12 school systems have been slow to embrace... Sample PDF
Changing Middle School Science through STEAM
Chapter 24
David Gibson
This chapter discusses how a teaching simulation can embody core characteristics of a complex system. It employs examples of specific frameworks and... Sample PDF
Complex Systems Concepts in Simulations
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