Why Simulations?
The latest research supports empirically what humans have always believed intellectually and emotionally, that we learn best through experience. At exper!ence, inc. we work hard to mix the marrying of leading edge learning pedagogy and design, immersive, story-driven worlds, technology and deep data to enable deep and lasting learning by experience. The following paper explains some of the empirical research behind our passion for experiential simulation-based learning.
Dr. Patrick Sherlock

exper!ence it, inc. has been designing simulations for over 25 years, and we have gathered compelling evidence from our clients, based on the experiences of hundreds of thousands of learners, which reveals that our behaviour based simulations enhance their learning experience. The purpose of this research paper is to go beyond the recognized bias in our own data collection to examine the current research on the effectiveness of simulations in achieving learning outcomes. Research by M. Reid, et al (2012), revealed that “the value of simulation has been extensively discussed in the literature with the majority of the literature (Chapman & Sorge, 1999; Farrell, 2005; Wolf & Luethge, 2003) supportive of the enhancement in learning that can occur. This seems to support the claim of Zantow et al. (2005) that the real value of simulation continues to be underestimated.” M. Reid et al. (2012) also reported that the research literature on simulations shows that some of the many benefits include the opportunity to merge professional and active learning, along with appreciation of real life business decision making actions and processes.

It can narrow the gap between a complex reality and the classroom (Doyle & Brown, 2000; Mizukami, 2002). When students make good, well-planned decisions, they can clearly see the results and rewards reflected in the simulation (Wolf & Luethge, 2003). Simulation has also been found to be effective in the integration of the functional areas of business (Stephen et al., 2002) as well as the integration of theory and practice (Wolf & Luethge). Dynamic cases provide a structured environment for learning complex problems and empower students to act in a rational way and solve real world problems (Brookfield, 1995; Senge & Fulmer, 1993; Shubik, 1975). Gilgeous and D’Cruz (1996) offered the following advantages of using simulations: a) simulations support lecture and theory validation through real life application, b) simulations add dynamics to cases where students can learn about the quality of their decisions, c) simulations provide much more personal interaction and team building, and d) even the poorest simulation performers may be the most significant learners.

M. Reid et al. (2012) cite the research of Williams (2008) that noted how simulations can facilitate the development of professional and technical skills that include the ability to collaborate and analyze just-in-time information. “Simulation applications can be targeted to specific learning objectives or be very generic with ambiguous ill-defined problems requiring multiple solution identification and implementation iterations.” Experience it inc. simulations are designed to account for the complexity of an organization’s context of processes and systems, which are open to alternative and innovative approaches to problem solving, as out-lined in the research literature.