The 10 main things that you should consider before choosing a simulation for your course

1. The learning objectives and key decisions

A simulation will always try to be a piece of reality into your classroom. But what is the main goal for you to be using one? Sometimes can be decision making in a team with limited time, or for them to analyze the data of their decisions and tell you exactly what they don’t know. 

A simulation with a broad learning objective it’s good, but 

What are the key decisions to be made? 

2. The learning curve for you and your students: 

One of the most difficult part is learning how to use the simulation. To read the teaching note, watch the videos. And what about the learning curve of your students? Student’s on boarding is also an issue, because it has to be intuitive for them to understand how to start the simulation. They need to know anything in advance to run the simulation? 

Consider if the company offers support in case you have doubts. If you send an email with questions you expect to be answered fast. 

Probably it’s going to be more difficult the first time, but then it gets easier. 

3. Support material 

Every simulation should always have a teaching note with the detailed description of the simulation. Other support material are presentations to the introduction and debriefing, and of course, the case study. In simulations, companies may offer more than one option of case study depending on your learning objectives (because yes, that’s one of the main benefits of using a simulation)

4. Works in every system? chrome , ios?

Yes, this one is one of the questions that you are not asking. Every system is different, so development companies need to have a simulation that can run in different computers. When the simulation hasn’t been updated in a long time, you can experience issues such as frozen windows or other software errors, known as bugs.

You just need to ask, does this simulation run ok in Chrome, IOS, Firefox? 

5. Language 

If you are playing in a multilanguage 

At GameLab we like that students can choose the language, so they feel comfortable during the simulation and concentrate all their energy in the learning experience. 

6. Debrief

What do the results look like? Simulations often have a debrief dashboard, where you can easily see the results of teams or students. When you have access to that data you can see what is that they are not learning well and can reinforce that concept. 

7. If you want a grade, escala? 

If you want to use the simulation as a test or a quiz you should know in advance how you will evaluate your students. You can use for example 

8. Competition mode

Many simulations have a competition mode where students can compete with each other. You need to ask yourself. Do I want them to compete? 

The benefits of competing: 

We always recommend a homework session where students can learn with the simulation at their homes and use it as a learning tool and a class session with a difficult scenario where students compete. 

Once I saw a class where students didn’t want to go to recess because they were so into the simulation. I remember the face of the professor when he told me : “I’ve never seen students that didn’t want to go to recess in my whole career”. 

9. Timing

Consider if you want the simulation to be a learning experience or a closure experience. 

10. The World

11. Price

Probably you are not paying for the simulation, but you need to keep in mind the faculty budget. This is especially hard for non-us countries where fluctuations of the dollar can be critical. 

Once you have all this information you are good to go! Teaching with simulations can be hard the first time, but when you pass that bridge you won’t be able to stop using it. The whole experience is more engineering for the student and more efficient for the lecturer, because you can track decisions. 

We invite you to look into our portfolio and see if one of our simulations fit into your class!