Learning by Doing: A Comprehensive Guide to Simulations, Computer Games, and Pedagogy in e-Learning and Other Educational Experiences / Edition 1

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Designed for learning professionals and drawing on both game creators and instructional designers, Learning by Doing explains how to select, research, build, sell, deploy, and measure the right type of educational simulation for the right situation.  It covers simple approaches that use basic or no technology through projects on the scale of computer games and flight simulators. The book role models content as well, written accessibly with humor, precision, interactivity, and lots of pictures.  Many will also find it a useful tool to improve communication between themselves and their customers, employees, sponsors, and colleagues.  As John Coné, former chief learning officer of Dell Computers, suggests, “Anyone who wants to lead or even succeed in our profession would do well to read this book.”

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"Learning by Doing is the real thing, written by a man who has built simulations that actually work. Aldrich offers deep and lucid theory always accessibly packaged inside fully practical examples and applications. His new book is the best way available today to come to grips with changes that will eventually transform learning in our schools, workplaces, and society."
—James Paul Gee, author, What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy; professor, University of Wisconsin at Madison

"Clark Aldrich draws upon a vast array of resources, from higher education to the corporate world, from state-of-the-art computer games to live role plays to get a sense of where we can go in learning. Filled with practical suggestions and diverse examples, this book is a great read for educators of all types."
—Marshall S. Smith, director, education program, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

"Clark Aldrich has been in the e-learning trenches for years. Learning By Doing is a wonderful opportunity for you to learn from the problems, surprises, and successes he experienced."
—Tom M. Kelly, vice president, Internet Learning Solutions, Cisco

"Learning by Doing provides a comprehensive and informed review of the present and possible futures of simulations and learning games. It’s refreshing to see such a complex topic addressed with humor and scholarly acuity."
—Noah Falstein, formerly game designer and executive producer, LucasArts Entertainment and Dreamworks Interactive; freelance game and simulation designer, www.theinspiracy.com

"If you want to design a new learning experience or enhance existing content with game interactions and simulations, Aldrich presents you with a clear outline of your options."
—Margaret Corbit, research outreach, Cornell Theory Center, Cornell University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787977351
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 4/22/2005
  • Series: Wiley Desktop Editions Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Clark Aldrich has been called an “e-learning Guru” by Fortune Magazine, “Visionary of the Industry” by Training magazine, and a member of “Training’s New Guard” by the American Society of Training and Development for his roles as an e-learning analyst, consultant, and designer. He was the lead designer of SimuLearn’s Virtual Leader (Best Online Product of the Year, Training Media Review in Training & Development magazine, 2004) and author of Simulations and the Future of Learning. Aldrich has been a subject-matter expert on e-learning and simulations for almost every major news source, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CBS, CNET, Business 2.0, CNN, and U.S. News and World Report. Previously, he was the research director that had created and was topic leader for Gartner’s e-learning coverage. He lives in Madison, Connecticut.

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Table of Contents




Introduction 1: The Challenge—A Conversation with Three Game Gurus.

Introduction 2: Technology and Simulations: Why Timing Matters.

SECTION ONE: Building and Buying the Right Simulation in Corporations and Higher Education Today.

1. Four Traditional Simulation Genres.

2. Controlling People with Branching Stories.

3. Introduction to Systems Thinking: Interactive Spreadsheets as Simulations.

4. Making the Boring Fun: Game-Based Models.

5. Getting a Good Feel for Things: Virtual Products and Virtual Labs.

SECTION TWO: The Broader Opportunities of Simulations.

6. A More Complete Perspective: Looking to the Broader World of Educational Simulations.

7. Recognizing New Types of Scalable Content: Systems, Cyclical, and Linear.

8. The Three Essential Elements to Successful Educational Experiences: Simulations, Games, and Pedagogy.

9. Learning from Live Role Plays.

10. Role Plays Redux: The Revolutionary Role of New Technologies.

11. Using Simple, People-Based Game and Simulation Elements for Devastating Effectiveness.

12. Learning from Flight Simulators.

13. The Most Popular Simulations: Computer Games as Expectation Setters and Places to Start.

14. Computer Games Redux: The Right Model? How Right?

15. The Mosquitoes of the Educational Simulations Ecosystem: Marketing Mini-Games.


16. The Advent of Next Generation Simulations.

17. What If We REALLY REALLY Simulated History? First Flight: The Wright Experience Flight Simulator.

18. Virtual University and Understanding the Value of a Classroom.

19. Military + Computer Game = Full-Spectrum Experiences.

SECTION FOUR: Managing the Simulation Process.

20. When Are Simulations a Solution?

21. Researching a Simulation: A New Competency.

22. Designing a Simulation: Keys to Success.

23. Deploying an Educational Simulation: It’s Not What You Think.

24. Iterations: Because You Won’t Get It Right the First Time.

25. One Branching Story Business Model.

26. The Business Impact of Next Generation Simulations.

27. Conclusion: Scalable Skills (a.k.a. a Heapen’ Helpin’ o’ Hype).

SECTION FIVE: Appendices.

Appendix 1: Aligning the Right Instructional Solution for the Right Problem.

Appendix 2: e-Learning Architecture Considerations Today.

Appendix 3: Traditional Corporate Simulation Vendors.

Appendix 4: Advanced Techniques for Branching Stories.

Appendix 5: Advanced Techniques for Interactive Spreadsheets.

Appendix 6: Getting What You Want: The Black Art of Customizing the Four Traditional Simulation Genres.

Appendix 7: e-Learning and Computer Game Milestones.

Appendix 8: Full Interviews with Jane Boston, Warren Spector, and Will Wright.


About the Author.

Pfeiffer Publications Guide.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2008

    Great read!

    This author really sums up the industry and options extremely well. I am a big fan of his books and I highly recommend this for anyone who wants to develop instruction.

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