What are Simulations For?: Learning Objectives as a Simulation Selection Device


  • E. Brian Peach
  • Martin J. Hornyak


A longstanding topic of discussion among simulation users is what types of learning objectives are appropriate. Research has shown mixed results at establishing a relationship between simulations and learning, and the construct of learning has been a contentious topic as well. Various streams of thought on the topic of learning objectives are reviewed and the authors then propose several fundamental objectives they personally have accepted as critical in adopting a simulation for classroom use. Two versions of a leading simulation are evaluated on how well they support these learning objectives. The conclusion is that users must clearly identify desired learning objectives not only prior to adopting a new simulation, but before progressing to the latest revision of a simulation currently in use.