Clark Aldrich's final session on the design of simulations again provided interesting ideas which resonated. An obvious expert in the games and simulations area, Aldrich reeled off statistics, concepts and pitfalls from his area.
Again, I found good ideas and terms that I can take away from simulation design which can be applied in school learning.
One was the idea of skill cones - as a player progresses through the simulation, skill cones can be used to see how s/he is introduced into a new skill and how this gets harder. Truncated skill cones show no ease of transition into a new skill but straight into a higher level of difficulty. By graphically placing these skill cones in the simulations timeline, you can ensure that not all difficulties are met at once. Parallels with introducing skills into lessons...
The other idea was that of the toleration waves for resolution and frustration. I have to use a snip from Aldrich's presentation to explain this:
I wrote about conceptual learning yesterday, in relation to Conrad Wolfram's stance on mathematics. His approach is to use simulations to concentrate on the ideas, the concepts, and really get to understand them - rather than concentrating on calculations and the manipulating algebra by hand. Simulations, surely, will play a bigger part as we move towards conceptual understanding and away from factual knowledge in our learning and teaching.
(As an aside - I did wonder what I would get from this particular week in the #change11 MOOC. Again I was surprised that I really enjoyed and learned useful ideas from another area - the power of connections that a MOOC provides).