Tuesday, May 2

SimWord of the Day: Rules

We talked about ownership as being a concept that will eventually be as ubiquitously interpreted and applied in future educational simulations as guns and vehicles are in today's computer games.

Another building concept that educational simulations will necessarily have to deal with are rules.

Games are based on rules. Rules in games can be learned and even exploited, but not really broken.

In real life, and in educational simulations, rules will take on a different role. There will still be hard rules, rules that cannot be broken. Gravity comes to mind.

But there will also be soft rules, like around speeding, or copyright protection, or ethics, or sexual harassment. The challenges can be two fold.
  • If you are a grunt, you will have to decide when to break these rules, and what to do to prevent getting caught. This might be loosely akin to so-called "First Person Sneakers" like Thief, when players work hard to not get caught breaking in or out of a guarded building.
  • If you are a manager or a team mate, however, than perhaps the challenge will be when to interrupt a well-running process in order to enforce rules. This is never easy.

There are also meta-rules. Part of the sim experience will be when to actually change the rules.

  • This might be challenging the primary variables against which you are evaluated.
  • This might be destabilizing an entire industry, rendering old metrics obsolete (or at least trying to).
  • This might be realizing there are better predictors of success than what is tracked currently by the on-screen display.

Like so many of these simwords, I hope what makes them so interesting is that the concepts seem critical when looking at any real knowledge, but falls through the cracks when looking at lecture/paper models of capturing and nurturing.

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