Learning through simulation may occur in one of two or both ways, namely (a) observation—the simulation serves as illustration of the content to be learned or understood; and (b) direct interaction— learning induced through experience.
Simulation-based learning comprises two parts, namely learning and simulation—the term suggests learning through the use of simulation/s.
- With a simulation one process is imitated by another process (Hartmann, 1996).
- Simulations often focus on the structural aspects of a model rather than the dynamic characteristics, making them relatively static (Hughes, 1999; Grüne-Yanoff & Weirich 2010)
- A simulation is a manifestation of a model, providing a description through a set of intertwined elements (Grüne-Yanoff & Weirich 2010)
- Frasson and Blanchard (2012) concludes after citing the above that simulations entail the action of imitating a model’s dynamics and/or structure with its resulting element; including either static and/or dynamic features.
Frasson and Blanchard (2012) report several features discussed in literature about simulation-based learning opportunities and their classification:
- Realisation—three main groupings of models are differentiated, namely those (a) involving humans; (b) mechanical; and (c) computer enabled.
- Fidelity—the extent to which the model correctly represents—on a continuum from low to high. High fidelity represents more coherently, but do not always provide the best pedagogical opportunities. Low fidelity focus mainly on pedagogically relevant aspects (with fantasy elements possibly added) and as result sometimes more adequate.
- Interactivity—refers to the degree of passive observation versus acting and influence the evolution.
- Immersiveness—is the degree of enabling fidelity and interactivity resulting in accurate real-situational feelings.
- Intelligence—intelligent components often enhances user interaction and allow for various constructive alternatives.
Frasson, C. & Blanchard, E.G. 2012. Simulation-Based Learning. In Seel, N.M. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning. Springer Science+Business Media.