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Simulations and Discovery Based
Glen O’Grady
Simulations and the Future of Learning
Aldrich (2003)
Anyone who wants to understand and contribute to
education in the near future must develop a working
knowledge of the philosophy of simulations.
There will be a transition period when someone can go
back and forth between being a teacher and being a
simulation designer. But over time, the two roles will
separate based on very different skill sets. Then the
challenge will be, as with textbooks and videos, for
teachers to evaluate and adapt simulations rather than
build them.
Workshop Plan
Examine Simulations and its grounding in
Discovery Based Learning
Experience Simulations
Critique these simulations against the
principles of discovery based learning
What are Simulations?
A staged replication of an event (that is at least
feasible) or a concept in order to enhance students'
learning through a deliberate ploy to draw students
into a response.
Differentiated from role plays. Simulations require the
students to act as they would act in the scenario,
whereas role plays assign characteristics to students'
roles and encourage acting.
The association of experience with knowledge leads to
Discovery Learning
Jerome Bruner
Discovery Learning developed out of
Constructivist ideas that learning is an active
process of “construction”, wherein new ideas
or concepts are based upon previous
existing knowledge
Discovery Learning is when students …
reach a conclusion from realistic examples or
ask questions and formulate their own
tentative answers
are not given Content, but rather discover it
independently by the learner
test hypotheses and develop generalisations
Bruner’s 3 Stages of Intellectual
Enactive: a person learns through actions
and their outcomes
Iconic: learning can be obtained from
models and pictures
Symbolic: learner has the capacity to think
Using a combination will help students
master discovery learning
Discovery Learning
(Hardy, 1967),
Retention (Alleman & Brophy, 1992;
Nelson & Fayer, 1972; Peters, 1970),
Increase motivation and retention rates (Bjorn 2004)
(Hardy, 1967; Mabie &
(Orlansky & String 1979) 30 empirical studies on
training achievement when using computer simulation
instruction. Results showed simulations produced equal
or much better achievement gains in less time time.
(Leonard 1989), (Fortner & Schar 1986)
(Chambers, 1971)
Transfer of learning to job situations (Jackson, 2002),
(White, and Gutwill 1999) electricity simulations led to
the development of dynamic mental models that
facilitated understanding of electricity concepts.
Baker, 1996),
Simulations and the Future of Learning
Aldrich (2003)
A single simulation can teach someone in a variety of
ways all at once, and for this reason the medium is
actually much closer to how people often learn from reallife experiences. For example, simulations can convey
stories, scenarios, and other forms of linear content, just
as lectures and books can. However, they can also do
much more: By allowing for user interaction and
feedback, they can be used to show how complex
systems work in different circumstances. Using a
simulation interface, learners can also develop an
almost instinctual "muscle memory" that is characteristic
of business and social interactions as much as sports. ..
3 Different Aspects of Simulations
Simulations aimed at recreating a scenario
to invoke some feeling
Simulations that are virtual representations
of scenarios that are not easily replicable in
a classroom
Simulations that are designed to show the
relationship between variables
Simulations that invoke some feeling
The King’s M&M (Max Fischer)
Blue Eyes Brown Eyes
Decision making
Virtual representations of scenarios not
easily replicable in a classroom
Bridge Building
Simulations designed to show the
relationship between variables
Axon Idea Generator
Student work
Simulations used before other educational
experiences can facilitate learning more than
simulations used after other experiences
(Andre, et al. 1998; Brandt et al. 1991)
Students who develop simulations have the
opportunity to foster a deeper understanding
(Jonassen, 1996, 2000)
Bicknell-Holmes and Hoffman (2000)
So lets Evaluate:
Foster exploring and problem solving, the
creation, integration, and generalisation of
Are they student driven, interest-based activities
in which the student determines the sequence
and frequency of their interaction
Do the Activities encourage integration of new
knowledge into the learner’s existing knowledge
Questions… Comments…

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