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Simulation Models in Education

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Simulation Models in Education

Introduction Simulation is a particular type of modelling. Building a model is a well recognised re cognised way of understanding the world; it is a simplification of some structure or a system. On the other hand, it can be a prediction, a substitute for experiential learning, or simply for entertainment. Here, we must mention the major difference between simulation and experimentation – experimentation – in  in simulation one is experimenting with a model and not with a phenomenon. In our modern world we sometimes don’t have the time to deal with a phenomenon, thus new technologies have brought us models which complete Aristotle’s saying – The – The things we have to learn before we do them, we learn by doing them. There are different types of simulation models (ref. Wiki: Simulation) physical simulation simulation (referring to physical objects or real things), interactive simulations (physical simulation with human operators included, e.g. flying or driving simulator), computer simulations simulating an abstract model of a particular system, with or without graphical output, etc. Computer simulations are formalized through mathematical models, using mathematical models, have become very useful in economics, chemistry, physics, psychology, in social sciences, in the process of engineering, technology, t echnology, traffic, etc.

Computer Simulation Computer simulation is the discipline of designing a model of an actual theoretical system, executing it on a digital computer and analyzing the execution exe cution output. A simulation model is actually a mathematical model calculating the impact of certain inputs and decisions on outcomes. Such a model could be created in a programming language, by statements In our modern time schools and institutions have increased possibilities, learning tools are more and more focused on designing complete electronic teaching packages which can be downloaded from the web, thus enabling online learning and, most importantly, lifelong learning. One should, however, be aware of the setbacks of o f poorly designed, integrated, virtual learning environments. In our opinion, setback is when simulation is used as a tool for a visual method of learning, because without the mix of simulation and experimentation, pupils and student cannot actually get to know the real r eal situation. Thus, a method of practical learning, such as writing or some kind of realization of different ideas, is the t he best method to make the curriculum richer and more suitable for today’s society. Computer simulation as a learning tool is one of the t he main subjects in information science education. Computer simulation is an “ordinary” “or dinary” simulation, using


a computer – computer – the  the tool of present everyday life. Implementation of simulation simulation models as learning tools into the educational educational process can: • provide an information or demonstrate/visualise a phenomenon, • enable practice in learning (e.g. learning languages in many different forms), • examine and test the knowledge / give individual feedback. What applies to learning tools also applies to a curriculum curriculum –  – it  it should be well designed, that is as varied as possible. The basis of every ever y well designed curriculum is the creation of a widely differentiated set of learning tools. In order to create a good curriculum with simulations, one should know the target group or designated community and its exact characteristics. c haracteristics. Designers should know which students they are dealing with, what previous knowledge they have and what their individual attitude is. Simulation models can be applied throughout the curriculum, at the various study levels, with w ith or without the requirement of the previously studied knowledge. Then insight should be tested to see if the students can apply (passive) knowledge acquired with the help of the simulation model learning tools. How to build a simulation model One form of e-learning e-learning that piques learners’ as well as developers’ interest is educational simulations. Simulations range in complexity from a straightforward reproduction of a software program to more intricate representations of complex environments such as an interactive community of workers. Educational simulations are designed to give learners an opportunity to practice their knowledge and skills in a risk-free environment. However, not all training t raining needs can be met by simulations, and building building simulations can be challenging for novice developers. When implementing simulation model, there are some questions to think about, according Simulations on Internet: • realistic? • Was Doesthe thesimulation simulationprogram represent a real re al life or fantasy situation? • How realistic is it? • Did the same things happen – was – was there a pattern? • What are the variables, var iables, can you think think of  of any others which might make the simulation more accurate? • Was there more than one solution to the problem? • What were food points/bad points? • What did you find out? A simulation model of a complex system can only be an approximation to the actual system, no matter how w much time and money is spent on model building. There is no such thing as absolute model validity, nor is it even desired. Indeed, a model is supposed to be an abstraction abstract ion and simplification of reality.


Building of a valid and credible simulation model usually follows these steps (Law, A. M.; McComas, M. G.): 1. Formulation of the problem 2. Collection of the information and construction of the conceptual conce ptual model 3. Checking the validity of the conceptual co nceptual model 4. Model programming 5. Checking the validity of the programmed model 6. Design, conduction and analysis of the simulation 7. Documentation and presentation of the simulation 1. Formulation of the problem The problem of interest is stated by the decision-maker. The scope of the model and the system configurations that are going to be modelled has to be declared. 2. Collection of the information and construction of the conceptual conce ptual model It is necessary to collect information on the system layout and operating procedures. After that it is important to check the computer constraints, development timeframe and money constraints. There should not be a one-to-one one -to-one correspondence between the model and the system. 3. Checking the validity of the conceptual co nceptual model One should perform a structured walk-through of the conceptual model before an audience that includes the project manager m anager and analysts. If errors or omissions are discovered in the conceptual model, which is almost always the case, then the conceptual model must be updated before proceeding to programming in Step 4. 4. Model programming The next step is programming the conceptual model in either a commercial simulation-software product or in a general-purpose programming language (e.g., C or C++) and verification (debugging) of the computer program. 5. Checking the validity of the programmed model If there is an existing system, then the performance measurement of the model should be compared with the performance measurement collected from the actual system. This is called c alled results validation. Sensitivity analyses should be performed on the programmed model to detect which model factors have the greatest effect on the performance measures. Those factors will later have the greatest impact on the overall model performance. 6. Design, conduction and analysis of the simulation For each system configuration of interest, decision on tactical issues such as run length and warm-up period should be made. Analysis of the results re sults and the decision if additional experiments are required should be made. 7. Documentation and presentation of the simulation The documentation for the model should include the conceptual model, a detailed description of the computer program, and the results of the current study. The final presentation for the simulation study should include animations and a discussion of the model building/validation process in order to uphold model credibility. There are many examples of simulation simulation models in education which which make it easier for students and teachers to explain and understand given lessons. There is a driving test good for coordination (http://www.learn4good.com/games/ simulation/driverseducation.htm), simulation of credit card interest (http://vam. anest.ufl.edu/maren/interest.html), and various experiments-simulations for physics (http://www.walter-fendt.de/ph11e/).


  The role of instructor in e-learning e -learning 4 Web developers and instructional designers have come to realize that an important part of e -learning is the instructor, i.e. a real person or character that guides, instructs, mentors, and entertains the learner. In a classroom program, the instructor serves that role. He or she ensures that everyone is attentive and answers questions. But how can instructional designers transfer this live person to an e-learning model? Many developers think that the best solution is to use character simulations. Quite simply, character simulation is the practice of creating a relevant, interesting personality who appears and instructs throughout an e-learning program. Three models for character simulations The idea of a character simulation is to immerse the learner in a social experience in which which a “person” speaks, interacts, and guides learning. This character may have a general persona or be based on a real and familiar personality. These characters take on a personality through their visual impact, choice of language, attitude, and even voice. He or she appears regularly to help learners remember where they are in the program and to reinforce the learning material at the beginning or at the t he end of each module. But before building a character, it’s important to think about the role it will play. Typically, there are are three roles for characters in onli online ne learning. Peer In this approach, the character takes on the role of a peer to instruct or coach. For example, a 19-year 19 -year old sales representative in a retail store will most likely be more receptive to a program that uses a young representative representative that wears clothes he/she may wear and discusses topics using slang. The character talks to the learner as a peer, and can suggest, joke, and mimic him. Expert In this model, the character takes on the role of an expert to instruct. The character may be a sales manager, flight instructor, or even Albert Einstein. For example, the Air Force program that Bersin & Associates reviewed was led by a flight instructor that wore shiny aviator glasses and talked in a tough voice, while explaining in detail everything the learner must do using his experience as a guide. Authority Figure In this model, the character is the boss. In one corporate certification program, for example, the character may be based on the company’s actual CEO. She may explain to employees that this particular training program is not only mandatory but will be tracked by the executive management. Suggestions for the development of the simulated characters There are several basic suggested suggeste d techniques that should be kept in mind during the designing process of simulated characters. Some of them are mentioned here. Create life-like characters Be clothinng deliberatestyle, about characteristics that se em minor seem and non-instructional, as speech and idioms, hairstyle, and voice. These aspects of o fsuch the


has at least two main aspects. First, simulation models can and, in our opinion, should be used as a complement to the process of education. Therefore we can conclude that the simulation models can be used throughout the information science curriculum, curric ulum, from the beginning of the study to the very end of it

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