Framework for Evaluating Simulations: Analysis of Student Developed Interactive Computer Tools

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Computer simulations are discussed in the learning environment from two major perspectives: 1) teaching students how to build simulations and 2) developing simulations to teach students targeted concepts. This study is approaching learning with simulations from a different perspective. We are interested in how students’ understandings of simulations develop through an iterative design challenge that requires them to create their own simulations. We investigated what first-year engineering students develop as simulations in an open-ended learning environment. The resulting framework consisted of four levels. Level 1 involves only basic interactions. Level 2 consists of a basic input to output system, referred to as a black-box model. Level 3 is an animation of a simulation; it has the model and visualization components of a simulation, but is lacking interactivity (or user choice). Level 4 is a simulation; it consists of a model, visualization of the model, and interactivity. Based on this framework and the findings, this paper proposes a method for scaffolding student learning through an open-ended simulation development challenge.

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Kelsey Joy Rodgers; Heidi A Diefes-Dux; Krishna Madhavan (2014), "Framework for Evaluating Simulations: Analysis of Student Developed Interactive Computer Tools,"

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  1. modeling
  2. Modeling & Simulation
  3. simulation-based learning
  4. teaching and learning
  5. Modeling and Simulations
  6. education research
  7. Simulation based Conference paper/Research paper
  8. simulations for education
  9. simulations for learning
  10. simulation based education
  11. modeling and simulation
  12. simulation development
  13. learning
  14. simulation and modeling
  15. Simulation
  16. understanding simulation