Designing a Simulator for Teaching Ethical Decision-making

Designing a Simulator for Teaching Ethical Decision-making

Michael Power (Laval University, Canada) and Lyse Langlois (Laval University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-731-2.ch010
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Abstract

This chapter deals with a simulation-based learning environment called Ethical Advisor (EA). This case-based tool is aimed at immersing learners in a computer-generated, open learning environment in which they are challenged to identify relevant information using embedded clues and to analyze them in light of several theoretical models provided. Users resolve ethical dilemmas and moral problems related to everyday events as they learn how to manage information flow and select relevant items. The simulated environment reflects everyday situations drawn from a databank of over 200 case studies in educational administration. In our view, this learning environment is enabling development of a high level of competency in ethical decision-making and, as such, represents an excellent means of linking learning theory to technological advancement.
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Introduction

The film The Matrix and its sequels introduced an old idea to a new crowd: what if life, as we know it, isn’t? Of what can one be sure? Descartes was so preoccupied with this idea that his original thinking launched a scientific revolution (Burnham & Fieser, 2006). On the Internet you can listen to Oxford University philosopher Nick Bostrom (http://www.nickbostrom.com/) positing that we do indeed live in a matrix of sorts, but far less sexy than Neo and Trinity’s (and did I mention Persephone’s?). So, is there any sure way of knowing? Click on Hume, no, go back to Descartes…

So, thinking about reality and about whether we can know it is not new. Indeed, thinking about alternate realities and about simulating reality has become relatively commonplace, receiving huge twentieth- and twenty-first-century impetus from the entertainment world. In training and education, computer-generated simulation is entering its heyday as a viable means of providing learners with new ways of interacting with real-world realities in a threat-free, error-leveraged environment. Indeed, in the military, you don’t do it until you’ve simulated it, over and over again.

This chapter deals with a modest simulation-building initiative aimed at immersing learners in a computer-generated, open learning environment which prompts them to identify relevant information, analyze it in light of several theoretical models provided, and resolve ethical dilemmas and moral problems related to everyday events.

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