A simulation is an interactive application that simulates reality (an area, a situation, a problem, a machine, a software application, …). So the learner can practice skills in a risk-free environment. The learner can actively learn by doing.
There are basically 3 levels or types of simulations:
- Parameter-based: the student can (often on one screen) set some parameters at will and immediately see the consequences.
- Example-based: the student receives a sample situation (eg. a video) and has to make a choice. The consequences of his choice are made visible (eg. again with the help of a video). In the end he gets a summary (often textual) of what he has learned.
- Model-based: the student sees an abstract or a simplified representation of the actual environment. The visible effects of his actions approach reality as closely as possible.