Interactive learning with simulations


Simulation is “the act of imitating the behaviour of some situation or some process by means of something suitably analogous especially for the purpose of study or personnel training.”Hartmann recognisess imulation as a technique, a heuristic tool, a substitute for an experiment and as a pedagogical tool.

Simulation can be used as a didactical tool and conveyance for complex concepts, to support constructivist learning by discovery and experimentto enhance the learning process.The role of teacher changes from a transmitter of information to a facilitator of higher-order thinking skills. The characteristics that contribute to the success of simulations are:

  • The computational model underlying the simulation.
  • The presence of clearly stated instructional goals.
  • The ability of the simulation to evoke exploratory learning.
  • The opportunity or possibility for learner activity.
Challenges with incorporating simulations:
  • The physical interface might be cumbersome.
  • Digital simulation environments and tasks are often overwhelming for some students. It makes demands on students’ metacognitive skills andplaces students in complex environments.
  • Simulation creation does not yet have a reliable, affordable set of software tools that can assist the teacher. Digital simulation systems are difficult to create and maintain, and the skills required can be challenging forteachers.