Margaret Gredler (1992: 141 – 159) emphasises the role of post-simulation activities and the planning thereof. She asserts that simulations are experiential in nature in that participants “step into the assigned roles, accept the responsibilities and constraints and work through the problems and difficulties that arise in the execution of the roles”. To overcome the reality of can’t see the woods for the trees (because of active involvement in the simulation); bring the learning forth; and to maximise the learning; reflection about the simulation is essential.
Gredler (1992) discusses two experiential learning models, namely Kurt Lewin’s (a Gestalt theorist) group-dynamics model and Jean Piaget’s (a Swiss psychologist) cognitive development model.
Jaques (1985, referenced in Gredler) describes the adaptation of Lewin’s ideas in a five-part experiential learning cycle, which upon completion feeds into another cycle.
Piaget postulates that cognitive structures happens through two processes; namely by means of assimilation of new information into the existing to enrich; and by accommodating which can occur in two different ways. The one way of accommodation is modification in order to integrate new information; the other way is through reconstruction to a higher level of thinking.
Post-simulation reflection need to form part of and conclude the simulation. In a distance learning context, this could be achieved through online discussion.
Gredler, M. 1992. Designing and evaluating games and simulations, a process approach. London: Kogan Page.
Jaques, D. 1985. Debriefing, debriefing, 55 – 66. In M van Ments and K Hearndon (eds). Effective use of games and simulations. Loughborough: SAGSET, Loughborough Institute of Technology.