I use this blog to reflect and distill my thinking about simulations and games for learning. I look for ready to use resources to quickly create active learning experiences that engage and inform. I also share, news, ideas, and just for fun.


The Harder I Practice The Luckier I Get

I’m writing about luck in honor of St. Patricks day. The title comes from a quote attributed to various golfers, most frequently Arnold Palmer and Gary Player although it appears to go back much further.

What’s it got to do with simulations, games, for learning? It may seem obvious, but even the obvious is grist for research. Scott Lake, points to a project that looked at the effects of varying Gangne’s events of instruction. They found that it was the element of practice with feedback that made the difference in effective instruction. Here is Scott’s summary of the work on Brandon Hall.

The point is this, to be effective, a simulation or game should encourage relevant practice and provide feedback on performance, otherwise it is just entertainment. So as you design a simulation or game you should start first with the question. What does the participant need to be able to do as a result of the training?

The abstract of the original research is here.
Martin, Florence, James D. Klein, and Howard Sullivan. "The impact of instructional elements in computer‐based instruction." British Journal of Educational Technology 38, no. 4 (2006): 623-636.

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