1. Define the terms “Game” and “Simulation” as they relate to e-Learning.
I believe game and simulation in education are significantly potential because students could participate in class voluntarily, moreover, game and simulation help to better understand, improve learning, and motivating by applying game and simulation to education. However, I could not figure out the definitions of these two terminologies “Game and Simulation” because I thought that there exist more similarities than differences between them. Yet, I could understand clearly characteristics and definitions of game and simulation through Horton’s(2011) book, several literature, and articles.
My understanding is that game is able to let expand and reinforce learners’ knowledge by doing game in virtual world with educational objective. For example, students could be tested their factual knowledge and given feedback through such word game, jigsaw puzzle, and quiz-show. Suave, Renaud, Kaufman, and Marguis(2007) indicate very specific definition in terms of game, they state that “a game is a fictitious, whimsical or artificial situation in which players are put in a position of confliction. Games are governed by rules which structure their actions in view of an objective or a purpose which is to win, to be victorious or to overcome an obstacle. They are integrated into an educational context when the learning objectives are associated formally to the content and the games enhances learning in the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains.” (p.253)
Simulation is (slightly different to game) to embody realistic elements in virtual world so that learners can have various experiences indirectly. However, all indirect games are not called simulation game. Only few games which have realistic factors fully can be simulation. Suave, Renaud, Kaufman, and Marguis(2007) define simulation as “a simplified, dynamic and precise representation of reality defined as a system. A simulation is a dynamic and simplified model of reality and it is judged by its realism, by its correspondence to the system which it presents.” (p.253) Let’s take software simulation example from Horton’s book. I created a system data source name via this simulation. This simulation game is to show as if seeing real excel software program in reality. Moreover, it provided learners with objective, simulation procedures, grading method, feedback through instruction so I could understand clearly regarding this simulation game. I learned how to create DSN via this simulation game, therefore I have confidence creating DSN. By applying simulation to education, learners can practice, expand, and reinforce their knowledge through indirect experience regarding what they will face real situation in reality in future.
You can see software simulation(creating data source name) I mentioned above via this URL. http://www.horton.com/portfolio/simulation_odbc/captivate/intro.htm
2. What are the key characteristics of a Simulation?
Simulation have four characteristics. First, simulation is embodied by real world factors on a virtual world. Therefore, simulation has applied to various field such as computer, flight, and driving training which are required realistic elements. Additionally, students who take a chemistry class experiment via computer simulation game because some chemical substances are dangerous. Second, learners can decide next step with critical thinking. In simulation, because main player is learners, students should decide next step by considering what consequence will be followed if learners choose this or is this answer related to a question. Third, students could receive authentic feedback via simulation because simulation is based on reality. Experts have various experiences could give invaluable feedback. Such primary simulation’s characteristics, learners’ retention is more great and learners could more understand deeply.
3. What are some of the strengths or advantages of Games and Simulations in eLearning?
▪ Strengths of Games
According to Horton’s textbook, game and simulation have eight advantages. First, game and simulation show consequences not normally visible. Students can learn specifically concerning what people cannot catch well in reality by delivering sequences by step by step through simulation. Second, let learners make mistakes without suffering permanent consequences. Students learn by mistakes repeatedly, therefore they could avoid same mistakes in real situation. Third, simulation encourages learners to pause, reflect, and revise. Because all educational games have purposes to deliver knowledge to students, learners could have opportunities to challenge again as opposite of reality, thus student could improve their knowledge by repeating pause, reflect, and revise step. Fourth, game and simulation provide a laboratory. Students can experiment various hypothesis which would be occurred in reality in virtual environment. Fifth, game and simulation simplify complex situations. Other obstacle factors are eliminated by instructional designers on purpose in order to let students do focus only the problems. Six, game and simulation give opportunities for abundant practices and feedback. Students could practice several times, and gain feedback from instructor promptly because game and simulation are not real situation. Seventh, students are reawaken learning by play. Finally, students could engage voluntarily in class. I think this characteristic is significantly important because always attracting learners’ curiosity(motivation) is really hard in education.
4. What are some of the weaknesses or disadvantages of Games and Simulations in eLearning?
According to Horton in the text book, game and simulation have some disadvantages. First is to be able to face financial problem in process of game development because, for example, such subjects brain surgeon, nuclear power plant operators, and stock market investors are required highly professional high knowledge and skill. Second, game and simulation could cause mental effects. According to studies from Newman University College in Birmingham, “wanting to play until they win or advance in the game can cause low self-esteem or aggressive behavior, especially if children keep losing at the game. Additionally, because these games can become so addicting, overuse can cause social isolation and poor social skills.”
5. Pick a topic and describe a game or a simulation that would be an effective learning activity.
I believe that simulation in education is really helpful not only to practice realistic problems but also deliver knowledge to students effectively. I will provide students with how to multiply, subtract, divide, and plus by using Excel software program. Although the target audience of this course is middle school students, it is not technically limited. In addition, all courses are delivered by online and I will design this simulation alike real Excel software program we can see on real computer screen. First, I will deliver regarding objectives, assigned time and chance, grading method, a way of feedback clearly through instruction in order to not confused students. Especially, instructors have to mention regarding objectives of simulation because all educational games have a purpose, therefore students could solve the problems under considering their goal. Second, I will show screen shot recorded video regarding a multiply, subtract, divide, and plus method and give questions. This course will offer three minutes and three chances to complete questions by themselves. Questions will be more hard if students correct answers, but if students miss answers, score and chances will be declined. Moreover, coach will give feedback if students use three chances. Learners are able to use in real situation after students complete this simulation. I believe that such simulation games should be required a sufficient explanation regarding a course before starting lectures.
6. Describe the development process you would use to create the game or simulation described above.
This class content is about plus, subtraction, multiplication, and division in Excel software program. Before designing this game, I will consider learners’ needs and decide objectives and underlying goals. In this simulation, the objective is that students can plus, subtract, multiply, and divide in real life. I will deliver instruction which is included objectives, indicators of game state, feedback, and grading method clearly. Moreover, I will utilize screen shot recorded video and text file in order that students can follow sequences easily and adjust pace of video by considering learners’ interface. And I will display labels and instructions on the screen, moreover, I will use sound and graphic effect when learners correct or miss answers because students could be bored. Furthermore, students are given feedback promptly from instructor.
According to Horton’s book, he suggests following development process:
▪Specify the game’s world
▪Specify characters and important objects
▪Create a storyline
▪Create a back story
▪Specify the game structure
▪Assign the learners’ role
▪Specify rules of the game
▪Design a rich, realistic environment
▪Provide a deep, unifying challenge
▪Define indicators of game state and feedback (pp.346-352)
Adam, C.(2012). The disadvantages of using games as a learning tool. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/list_6569922_disadvantages-using-games-learning-tool.html
Horton, William. E-Learning by Design (Second Edition). (2011) San Francisco: Pfeiffer.
Sauve, L., Renaud, L., Kaufman, D., & Marquis, J. S.(2007). Distinguishing between games and simulations: A systematic review. Educational Technology & Society, 10(3), 247-256