Simulations, Games, and Modeling Tools for Learning

Authored by: Ton de Jong , Ard Lazonder , Margus Pedaste , Zacharias Zacharia

International Handbook of the Learning Sciences

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  April  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138670594
eBook ISBN: 9781315617572
Adobe ISBN:


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Learning in an active way is regarded as a necessary condition for acquiring deep knowledge and skills (e.g., Freeman et al., 2014). Experiential and inquiry learning are specific forms of learning in which students make active choices (choosing the next step in performing an action, changing the value of a variable), experience the consequences of their own actions, and are stimulated to adapt their knowledge and skills in response to these experiences. Experiential and inquiry learning can take place in real environments (a “wet” lab or a practical) but are nowadays increasingly enabled by technologies such as games, simulations, and modeling environments. In this chapter, we first give an overview of these technologies and discuss how they can be used in a diversity of educational settings. We then explain why smart design and careful combination with other instructional approaches and support are necessary. We conclude our chapter by trying to give a glimpse of the future.

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