Short Simulations

Short Sims for Education

For the last 17 years, Clark Aldrich has been pushing for education to break outside of both traditional media and strictly linear techniques. Early on, this meant advocating for the use of computer game simulations that could place users in an interactive environment. Computer games, however, carry the double stigma of associations with mindless entertainment and an adolescent audience. Therefore, in his research and publishing Aldrich has focused on the importance of “Learning by Doing”, which not coincidentally was the title of his second book, and “Serious Games”. He has highlighted that “learning by doing” can help lead not only to “learning to know” but also “learning to do”. Skills learned in interactive simulations have the potential to be applied directly. Meanwhile, learning through lecture or reading may take more effort to incorporate into one’s daily practice.

More recently Aldrich came to the realization that the complex app-based simulations, which could incorporate aspects of Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence and on which his research had previously centered, do not necessarily jibe well with the current educational landscape. Aldrich states, “Increasingly we’re living in an age where mostly corporations and non-profits and universities and government don’t have the time to invest in longer programs – and by longer I mean in this case longer to develop programs.” He goes on to say that with the current, rapid pace of information change organizations need to be able to produce educational content more quickly and they need to be able to update that content more quickly, often a difficult task in specialized, high-end simulations. For these reasons, Aldrich has been drawn to another paradigm: Short Sims.

What is a Short Sim?

With Short Sims, the focus is on creating lightweight scenario files that can be rapidly developed and deployed. Widely available scenario-focused programs, such as BranchTrack, or all-purpose educational software, such as Articulate Storyline, can be used to create Short Sims. Therefore, it is not so much specialized technology or code that matters with Short Sims but rather creative scenario planning.  The difference according to Aldrich between his previous work and Short Sims is that “[a]ll the time frames, all the budgets, all the expectations are different, and yet all the core philosophies of the earlier game-based experiences still hold true.” Rapid, low-cost, simplified development combined with whit, ingenuity, and playfulness is the order of the day.

What should we expect from this webinar?

Aldrich explains that “[t]he upcoming webinar [An eLearning Game Changer] is on some of the techniques, some of the examples, some of the ways of both planning for this kind of activity and then actually doing it.” True to his research, he will share some of the core philosophies that made his earlier games great and then help you actively apply them to your own Short Sim. By attending, you will also receive a free copy of Aldrich’s e-book “Short Sims”, which – in an exciting twist of metatextual fate – contains fully functional example of Short Sims as well as explanations of how they were made. Click below to reserve your place for this engaging speaker and topic.

 

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