Thursday, April 27

SimWord of the Day: The Sim Experience

"Mother Nature/Experience is the worst teacher because it gives you the test before the lesson." - attributed to multiple sources

Learning anything in real life, especially big skills like ethics and relationship management, but also learning how to speak a foreign language, is filled with frustration (and resolution). It is uneven, with moments where you want to give up and moments of exaltation.

Simulations do not smooth out the peaks and valleys (or perhaps, but only minimally), as much as compress them and make them more predictable.

The valleys present a bit of problem, however, not in the learning (where they are critical), but in the expectation of the sim experience.

There is a "threshold to quit" for different end-learners, that if the experience dips below the threshold, the learner will opt out of the course with a negative bias.

Factors that raise the threshold, making it more likely a student quits include:

  • The student is "evaluating" or "surveying" the material.
  • The program has little support.
  • Poorly set expectations for the sim experience.

Factors that lower the threshold, making it less likely a student quits include:

  • A live coach
  • The students understand that they really need the content
  • The program has a lot of credibility.
  • The students are being graded in an academic setting or ordered to take it in a military setting.

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