The Power of Simulations Over the Learning Process
The one thing that students always want, no matter how young or old they are, is a demonstration of the explanations they are being given. They want to try things for themselves and see the applications in real life.
Theories are the basis for becoming well-versed in anything, and you’ll often study theories long before you ever do anything practical when becoming a specialist in any field. However, having plenty of theoretical knowledge means nothing when you have no practical experience.
What do teachers do in situations where they do not have enough reliable data or where putting theory into practice is dangerous?
The Practicality of Simulations
You might think that simulations as a learning method are far-fetched, but the practice has already been implemented in many fields. Pilots use flight simulations to test their knowledge and evaluate whether they are ready to get in a real airplane’s cockpit.
There are other fields in which students will need practice before they can put their knowledge to the test in real-life situations. They need an environment that is controlled and secured, where they will be able to make evaluations about themselves in different scenarios and gain practical knowledge.
High Rates of Engagement
Regardless of the field that simulations are applied to, they will have one thing in common – they will keep students engaged throughout the learning process. Higher engagement levels can help make learning more interactive and more fun, as well, which will maintain student interest.
One of the most significant advantages of allowing students the space to interact with simulations is that they will become involved with deep learning. If students are allowed to try the things they have been learning in theory, they will already have a practical view of the material and will receive a deeper understanding of how things work in the real world.
How to Make Simulations Effective
It’s not easy to create a powerful and engaging simulation that features mostly meaningful content. There are a few essential factors that need to be taken into consideration.
The preparation phase is crucial, no matter the type of simulation. Before the simulation starts, students will have to learn and understand the theory that the simulation will put into practice. This means that they need to learn the material that their decisions in the simulation will be based on, and they also need to understand their goals.
While some people may learn by simply viewing the material, that is not enough when it comes to simulations. If the simulation is to be effective, then all participants must be active while it is in progress (active learning). Good simulations are ones that do not cater to inactive roles.
This is one of the most beneficial things an educator can do when teaching with simulations. Discussing the things learned during the simulation will help learners take away the information that the simulation was trying to teach them.
Simulations are not just for aspiring pilots anymore. They can make learning more engaging and active, and they help facilitate a more practical understanding of the theoretical material taught in the classroom.