The Narrative Event Diagram: A Tool for Designing Professional Simulations

The Narrative Event Diagram: A Tool for Designing Professional Simulations

Helyn Gould, Michael Hughes, Paul Maharg, Emma Nicol
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-322-7.ch006
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Game-based learning and simulation is a powerful mode of learning, used by industries as diverse as aviation and health sciences. While there are many generic Virtual Learning Environments available to further education and higher education in the United Kingdom, there is no widely available open-source Web-based simulation environment for professional learning. The SIMPLE (SIMulated Professional Learning Environment) project has designed, created, implemented and is in the process of evaluating such an environment in a range of disciplinary settings. The simulations that are being created place both undergraduates and postgraduates in a professional context where their work is, as it will be in the workplace, distributed between tools, colleagues, resources, anticipated, and unanticipated problems. One of the key tools that staff will use to create simulations is the “narrative event diagram”, a design tool as well as a means by which the narrative of the simulation is constructed. This chapter will describe the tool, its design history and context, its current use, and next design iteration. In particular it will show the interdisciplinary genesis of the tool’s design, arising from the confluence of computer science, information science, and narrative theory, and its power in designing professional educational simulations.
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Cases Vs. Simulations

Cases or case studies are commonly used within the fields of Law, Medicine and Business. Harvard University in particular has embraced this approach to teaching and learning, sharing its cases with the wider academic community (Christensen, 1987; DeLacey & Leonard, 2002). A detailed but unstructured description of the professional case is presented to the student. Information is included but some structuring and analysis is required to ‘make sense’ of the situation. The role of the academic here changes to that of advisor and facilitator, while the student must actively participate to move the case forward.

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