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LoD Viewpoints March 2005

Learning Simulations: Current Issues and Future Trends

Why is this topic significant?
Simulations create engaging learning experiences in which workers can practice business-critical skills and processes in safe environments - and they improve learning effectiveness by enabling learners to apply new information.  Unlike conventional eLearning content, simulations harness the full possibilities of learning technology, and move content beyond PowerPoint and textbook substitutes.  As learning simulations proliferate, various opportunities will exist for vendors and enterprise adopters.  Learning on Demant first covered the topic of simulations in its 2001 report Games and Simulations in eLearning and revisited the subject in the 2003 report Simulations for Businss Skills:  Best Practices anbd Market Outlook.  Various other reports and presentation have also included user case studies and technology ifnormation relating to learning simulations.  This Viewpoints provides an update on the topic as part of our continuing analyses.

Simulations has been a hot topic in learning technology for at least the past five years, although current interest (and, inevitably, hype) seems to be particularly strong.  A review of current technology and market issues, as well as future trends, is therefore timely.

Various types of authoring tools - some specific to simulations, some not - are crucial in creating simulation-based content and this Viewpoints therefoe considers them in detail.  It also discusses near- to medium-term market and adoption trends and examples of longer-term opportunities that lie off the mainstream.  First, however, we review what simulations has come to mean in the terning-technology marketplace.

Learning Simulations: Current Issues and Future Trends