I am often asked to prove that simulations work better than traditional formal learning programs. As a tiny bit of background, I wrote this a few years ago in my column in Online Learning magazine:
"People often ask me what the return on investment (ROI) of e-learning is. I tell them it's 43 percent. How did I come up with that figure? Truth be told, I made it up. That's because knowing the ROI of e-learning is sort of like knowing that the average depth of the ocean is 2.5 miles. Interesting, but not very helpful to a ship's captain."
Given that, I have done some studies for both my own simulations (Virtual Leader), and others (Ngrain). I have interviewed countless practitioners, users, and sponsors. I have been involved in surveys and studies. I have argued that simulations come in genres (such as branching stories), and that analysis should be done at the genre level.
And I still have no idea how to approach that question. I don't even know who is qualified to measure effectiveness, or even define what effectiveness is. Even within a neutral body, there are advocates who do the study.
So what do people think? I am not asking, are simulations more effective? I am asking, what is the simplest argument that you would find compelling?