1. Define the terms “Game” and “Simulation” as they relate to eLearning.
According to the text, e-Learning by design, game and simulation as they relate to eLearning,
- allow learners to practice tasks, apply knowledge and infer principles all while having fun
- may provide a complete model of a real-world system or just a rapid-fire series of questions to answer
- can be individual Do activities, test, whole topics, sprawling lessons, and even entire courses.
2. What are the key characteristics of a Simulation?
As I read through Chapter 7 of William Horton’s text I took notes of the key characteristics that differed Simulation from games, tests and demonstrations. Several key characteristics are the following:
- a simulation can be used for several different purposes
- simulations tend to look more realistic
- in true simulations, the learner controls the sequence of events
- learners decide and act
- learning results from practice and authentic feedback
- useful for educating and training workers (retention is greater and understanding is deeper)
- simulations let learners practice as much as they want to or need to.
3. What are some of the strengths or advantages of Games and Simulations in eLearning?
Games and simulations allows students to learn in ways that are not suited for classroom or eLearning environments. According to William Horton there are many other advantages in the use of games and simulations which are the following, they show consequences not normally visible, let learners make mistakes without suffering permanent consequences, encourage learners to pause, reflect, and revise, provide a laboratory, simplify complex situations, give opportunities for abundant practice and feedback and reawaken learning by play.
4. What are some of the weaknesses or disadvantages of Games and Simulations in eLearning?
Similar to everything else in the world, games and simulations have its advantages and disadvantages. Some of the disadvantages of games and simulations mentioned by Horton are include cost of failure being high (failures that endanger life, public safety, and financial success), learning with real systems is not practical, learners need individual attention, many people must be educated, tasks are complex and time is short, skills to be taught are subtle and complex and there is a time and budget to see the project through.
5. Explain the term, “Gamification” and explain how this concept might apply to eLearning.
Gamification according to the Wikipedia link provided by Dr. Newberry is, “the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems and increase users’ contributions”. Game mechanics are things such as points, badges, levels, leader boards and challenges used to increase the users interests. This concept of gamification is being applied to education, whether it is in a classroom setting or in virtual eLearning classroom, it’s an new, exciting and effective way for students to learn. Educators may include a game for students to utilize every week and require them to complete certain amount of levels each week.
6. Pick a topic and describe a game or a simulation or gamification concept that would be effective.
In any subject, terminology is key to understanding a lesson, hence the entire course. As I have mentioned throughout these past 9 weeks I would like to teach Geometry once I begin my teaching career, this subject involves many definitions and theorems that are important when solving problems. An important topic in this course with be learning/remembering/memorizing important definitions and theorems. A game that would be effective in helping students learning so many concepts would be quiz-show games and word games. Quiz-show games as stated in the text are good for testing factual knowledge, provided answers are clearly right or wrong. The possibilities for quiz-show game questions are endless, since you can also include formulas as well even pictures of the shapes. Similar things can be done with word games, in a crossword puzzle an angle or shape can be described and the student can fill the puzzle with the correct answer.