Learn to build a Sim.

Author:Massue, Mireille
Position:University of Calgary simulation-based learning

Creating Simulation-Based Learning Interactivities Workshop, 2004, University of Calgary Continuing Education (elearn.ucalgary.ca/showcase/workshops.html), $40.00 per person.

Trainers can supplement instruction by learning how to create simulation-based learning. If you think this is too difficult or too much trouble, think again. For a workforce raised on videos, MTV, Sim City, and Doom, the benefits of simulation-based learning are enormous. Simulations are grounded in action. Learners have a better grasp of the material and retain the information longer than if taught in conventional ways. Simulations are also empowering. Taking on responsible roles, finding ways to succeed, and developing problem-solving techniques allow learners to take control of their own learning. And there is one additional point of interest to trainers: simulations can encourage people to come to our sessions.

The University of Calgary's Continuing Education Department offers an excellent online course called "Creating Simulation-Based Learning Interactivities Workshop." It was developed and is facilitated by Catherine Chambers, an organizational learning consultant, writer, and conference presenter who works with public, private, and academic organizations in Canada and the United States.

Here are the many positive aspects of this course:

* Course administration: I received several forms of communication: an email with instructions on how to enroll and a manual on how to use the course's online technology and whom to contact for help and a letter verifying the courses for which I registered.

* Simple technology: Calgary uses Blackboard, which has developed a reputation for being easy to use, at least on the student side of the interface.

* Good design: This is one of the best workshop designs I have seen and resonates with what I'm currently reading at the moment: using instructional design to accelerate and retain learning. Using articles, tutorials, authoring tools, and examples of simulations Chambers wrote and designed, the four...

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