Multimedia Design Journal: Simulations and Games in Elearning

67% of households have computer or video games with the average player being age  34. Hi quality simulations are already used in training for medical professionals, pilots, other positions. Anderson and Layton found that simulations are preferred above lectures, even with adult learners.

A simulation is a digital environment that is suppose to represent the real world. There are two types, conceptual and operational. Operational teaches specific skills. Conceptual can teach a range of ideas, such as chemistry. Games refer to any commercial style electronic game rather it be educational in nature or otherwise.


Trauma Center was a popular Nintendo game that used a mellow dramatic story line coupled with realistic surgery. The game was praised for its engagement as originality and accuracy. This particular version used a touch screen to preform the surgery. It is an example of a simulation.

Games and Simulations can teach, but sometimes the goal isn’t always the lesson learned. Designers have to take this into consideration to plan to engineer to preferred outcome for the users of the game. As of right now there is no clear evidence that games offer any learning advantages.

  • Principle 2:  Make learning essential to game progress – To ensure that the orignal purpose of the game isn’t lost on the user, make demonstrating knowledge a requirement to progress in the game.
  • Principle 3:  Build in proven instructional strategies- Since the evidence on the ability for games to teach is still coming in. It is the best practice to rely on proven learning design rules and strategies to ensure the success of the program
  • Principle 4: Build in guidance and structure- immediate and quality feedback is needed when. The feedback can be automated and programmed but the user has to know the risk and faults in order to self improve
  • Principle 5: Manage complexity – time and commitment, what are the accessible is the software and hardware. what are the cost?
  • Principle 6:  Make relevance salient – This means basically making sure the games usefulness and purpose is easy to understand so that the entire thing is disregarded.


e-Learning and the  Science of Instruction; Ruth Colvin Clark • Richard E. Mayer

Entertainment Software Association’s annual report (2010)

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