Emergent Learning Forum: Simulations

This morning Emergent Learning Forum met at Genentech to talk about Simulations: The Reality and the Challenges. More than fifty people attended in person and a couple of dozen participated remotely via Macromedia Breeze. Altus Learning Systems recorded the entire event and will soon use their magic to slice and dice the video, sound, presentation slides, and simulations into a coherent play-by-play record, so I'm not going to dwell on content here.


ELF director Richard Clark put this meeting together and kept things on track (ably filling the role ELF calls "meeting coordinator.")

Why simulations? Richard said that like his mountaineering instructor had told him, "You learn everything twice."

What's a simulation? It's a representation of one system by another.






Next up, John Hathaway, Chief Learning Technologist for GeneEd, showed several simulations created to teach new hires the basics of the life sciences.

John identified "sim wins," the advantages delivered by each simulation. Among the sim wins were:

  • time compression
  • lower cost that using real equipment
  • giving learners a chance to explore
  • hands-on learning that sticks





Jonathan Kaye, who literally wrote the book on this topic (Flash MX for Interactive Simulation), joined us from Philadelphia via Macromedia Breeze.

Jonathan shared ideas on how to evaluate the results of simulations. These are key:

  • Choose worthy performance problems to begin with (per David Merrill)
  • Specify measureable performance objectives up front



Ottersurf Lab's Clark Quinn told us that learning should be "hard fun."

He showed us how learning and entertainment use the same methods to engage their audiences.

Clark walked us through the cognitive apprenticeship model and then showed us the "Full Monty," (He did this fully clothed.) which incorporates situated content, embedded examples, and guided reflection.




Jim Schuyler of Red7 wrapped up the presentations and knocked everyone's socks off with a description of the Multi-Modal Real Life Learning Games his team has been developing for sales training.

Jim went on to describe the ethics program he's putting together in conjunction with the Dalai Lama Foundation. The vision is to have thousands of adolescents reflect on ethical behavior through life-like scenarios delivered by cell phone, email, phone messages, and email. Stay tuned.






Genetech's facility proved excellent for networking and demos that took place throughout lunch.

As the name says, we are emergent. If you would like to take part in creating a global Emergent Learning Forum, please drop me a line.

Posted by Jay Cross at April 26, 2004 08:20 PM | TrackBack

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