The assessment of the quality of simulations, Jones (1995) observes, entails the conceptual judging of three notions:
- Consistency — is the simulation consistent within itself?
- Balance — is it balanced or does it allow for passive observation?
- Plausibility — is the scenario/situation (such-and-such) plausible?
The three concepts tend to fuse in that what may be implausible also tend to be inconsistent and as result lack balance.
Plausibility does not equate to “does the simulation imitate real life?” — Simulations are not meant to be imitations or simplifications of real-life. However, simulations allow for analogies, metaphors and upside-down realities/reversed positions. Plausibility does not restrict roles to being human.
Jones (1995: 62) caution designers about inconsistency as result of ‘author-muddling’. Often designers ‘improve’ simulations after try-out for publication purposes; assuming the final version is better. However, alterations may cause imbalances, which may impact on plausibility.
Jones, K. 1995. Simulations, a handbook for teachers and trainers. 3rd edition. London: Kogan Page.