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Simulation Games # 4: Problem-based Learning and Simulation Games

Simulation game based learning is an extension of the problem-based learning paradigm, having all its inherent characteristics plus some additional advantages. Simulation game and problem based learning are both experiential, collaborative, active learning and learner centric approaches. In simulation game, the instructor is a facilitator of learning process and students have the responsibility of learning as in problem-based learning. In problem-based learning, a self-assessment is conducted at the end of the problem or the learning cycle. On the other hand, simulation game has a scoring system that is the indication of one’s performance. Students are motivated to maximize their score by trying alternative strategies and read more literature. This is a significant advantage over problem-based learning. Secondly, simulation games are online computer based where student can learn as per his or her time at any place where there is an internet connection. Some studies have found that engineers are visual learners. Advanced graphics and multimedia may be used to capture the student’s attention. This observation calls for extensive use of simulation games especially in the light of decreasing computer technology cost and increasing speeds. Thirdly, some sort of online help is provided in simulation games. Thus, a student does not have to wait for the instructor to address the difficulty. Last and the most important advantage with simulation games is that they can save a lot of clerical work for students. The student can try out various strategies and alternatives and focus on the parameter of interest leaving the calculation and presentation work for the software. It is a more systematic and organized way of learning.

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