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Learning by Doing: A Comprehensive Guide to Simulations, Computer Games, and Pedagogy in e-Learning and Other Educational Experiences

Learning by Doing: A Comprehensive Guide to Simulations, Computer Games, and Pedagogy in e-Learning and Other Educational Experiences

Clark Aldrich

ISBN: 978-0-787-97965-2

May 2005, Pfeiffer

400 pages



Designed for learning professionals and drawing on both game creators and instructional designers, Learning by Doing explains how to select, research, build, sell, deploy, and measure the right type of educational simulation for the right situation.  It covers simple approaches that use basic or no technology through projects on the scale of computer games and flight simulators. The book role models content as well, written accessibly with humor, precision, interactivity, and lots of pictures.  Many will also find it a useful tool to improve communication between themselves and their customers, employees, sponsors, and colleagues.  As John Coné, former chief learning officer of Dell Computers, suggests, “Anyone who wants to lead or even succeed in our profession would do well to read this book.”



Introduction 1: The Challenge—A Conversation with Three Game Gurus.

Introduction 2: Technology and Simulations: Why Timing Matters.

SECTION ONE: Building and Buying the Right Simulation in Corporations and Higher Education Today.

1. Four Traditional Simulation Genres.

2. Controlling People with Branching Stories.

3. Introduction to Systems Thinking: Interactive Spreadsheets as Simulations.

4. Making the Boring Fun: Game-Based Models.

5. Getting a Good Feel for Things: Virtual Products and Virtual Labs.

SECTION TWO: The Broader Opportunities of Simulations.

6. A More Complete Perspective: Looking to the Broader World of Educational Simulations.

7. Recognizing New Types of Scalable Content: Systems, Cyclical, and Linear.

8. The Three Essential Elements to Successful Educational Experiences: Simulations, Games, and Pedagogy.

9. Learning from Live Role Plays.

10. Role Plays Redux: The Revolutionary Role of New Technologies.

11. Using Simple, People-Based Game and Simulation Elements for Devastating Effectiveness.

12. Learning from Flight Simulators.

13. The Most Popular Simulations: Computer Games as Expectation Setters and Places to Start.

14. Computer Games Redux: The Right Model? How Right?

15. The Mosquitoes of the Educational Simulations Ecosystem: Marketing Mini-Games.


16. The Advent of Next Generation Simulations.

17. What If We REALLY REALLY Simulated History? First Flight: The Wright Experience Flight Simulator.

18. Virtual University and Understanding the Value of a Classroom.

19. Military + Computer Game = Full-Spectrum Experiences.

SECTION FOUR: Managing the Simulation Process.

20. When Are Simulations a Solution?

21. Researching a Simulation: A New Competency.

22. Designing a Simulation: Keys to Success.

23. Deploying an Educational Simulation: It’s Not What You Think.

24. Iterations: Because You Won’t Get It Right the First Time.

25. One Branching Story Business Model.

26. The Business Impact of Next Generation Simulations.

27. Conclusion: Scalable Skills (a.k.a. a Heapen’ Helpin’ o’ Hype).

SECTION FIVE: Appendices.

Appendix 1: Aligning the Right Instructional Solution for the Right Problem.

Appendix 2: e-Learning Architecture Considerations Today.

Appendix 3: Traditional Corporate Simulation Vendors.

Appendix 4: Advanced Techniques for Branching Stories.

Appendix 5: Advanced Techniques for Interactive Spreadsheets.

Appendix 6: Getting What You Want: The Black Art of Customizing the Four Traditional Simulation Genres.

Appendix 7: e-Learning and Computer Game Milestones.

Appendix 8: Full Interviews with Jane Boston, Warren Spector, and Will Wright.


About the Author.

Pfeiffer Publications Guide.