LMSU Presentation

This is the text of the presentation for LMSU on 15/12/12

I will add the sound file after the session is complete.


This is a long post as it has all the words on the slides

but no images.


Simulations and games include all interactive representations of perceived reality

– past, present, and future –

used for learning purposes.



Simulation is Different

Simulation requires suspension of expectations about traditional teaching

How we were taught influences how we teach

Expectations and assumptions drive habits

Simulation challenges assumptions and expectations


Simulation users need to be aware of TWO key factors

•              We are doing something very different

•              Some people find it hard to accept there is learning when things are different



different is needed
because students,
contexts and content
are also
ALL different



Theories about aDifferent kind of teaching/learning


Zone of Proximal Development


The Learning Preferences Cycle


Radical Constructivism

Harri-Augstein & Thomas

Conversational framework for learning


Gaming: the futures language



Simulation and Kolb’s ‘Learning Cycle’


Activist – needs to do things to be confident of learning

Reflector – needs to read, observe, watch to be confident of learning

Theorist – needs to have time to analyse, comprehend closely, think deeply

Pragmatist – needs to have a reason for learning – needs to connect new knowledge to goals and plans

Simulation and Ernst von Glasersfeld

Radical Constructivism

Those who believe that teaching can or should provide an independent, ‘objective’ reality, are trapped in a traditional theory of knowledge.

2 Principles of Radical Constructivism

Knowledge is actively built by the learner – it is not passively receive

‘How we know the world’ is adaptive and organizes the world we experience, it is not primarily about discovery conceptual reality



Duke – Simulation as “Futures Language”

Gaming [simulation] is a powerful new form of communication particularly suited to conveying gestalt

Today’s problems are more complex than ever before, involving systems and sub-systems that extend human awareness and cannot be explained by conventional terms

Failure to address individual need is a communication problem, that can best be solved in contexts similar to where the needs are created



Time to Reflect

As all these theorists have said that learning is an active process – not a passive one – it is time for a conversation.

Find others to talk to, discuss what I have said and develop some comments and questions you would like to discuss/ask of me.

5 minutes for conversation – THEN please write your comments down and give them to Dara



Human uses of simulation in History

This is an image that I will convert to a table and add separately



Structural Phases in Simulations


•      Sets the scene

•      Introduces the rules

•      Begin an exchange of power


•      Participants in charge

•      Facilitator observes

–    (with reserve powers)


•      Power is shared

•      ‘Learning’ identified

•      Focus – transfer of learning




–     constraints representing the real world which shape general behaviour and relationships


–     factors – also based on the real world – guiding individual/ group actions, sequences, behaviours


–     background information about the setting or context


–     data (thoughts, products, images, reports, etc.) created during the experience and recorded/remembered



Debriefing Questions


What actually happened?

How are you feeling?

How is this like real life?



What forms do games have?


–     Chase, competition


–     Football,, catching

–     ball and stick


–     Skipping, tug-of-war, climbing


–     Crosswords, jenka



Team Work

This is the “dot in the circle exercise”

I will add the image and instructions separately



Find two people near you and share your efforts

Talking is encouraged – play with the impossible

How many solutions are there?

You have 90 seconds



Using an activity to understand Preferences for Learning

People are not all the same

We have our own preferred ways to learn

–    Some people are more  Visual

–    Others are more Auditory

–    Still others are more Kinaesthetic

So teaching is not received in the same way

Matching words to meaning


I see things clearly

I get the picture

Look at this


That sounds like a good idea

I hear what you are saying

Clear as a bell


I can grasp that

Let’s touch on the facts

That was a moving description

Information Processing

How do I put on a coat?

Finally some more Play

Solutions for the dot in a circle

Use your pen and someone else’s

Video it

Fold in a corner of the page -draw outwards

Draw in a graphics program on computer while your pen is on the page

Use a click pen

Put the tip of your pen on the paper, do the dot then lie the pen down and draw it out across the page, then stand it up and draw the circle



The trick of the coat exercise

When anyone begins to think about putting on a coat we assume that the other person knows all the words before we use them

So if you are going to demonstrate their instructions you deliberately ‘mis-understand’ their meaning by thinking of yoruself as if ignorant of the words.

This – they may say pick the coat up by the collar – you pick it up – looking puzzled – by one of the bottom corners of the front of the coat. Thus it ends up, upside down, and all their other instructions are then useless.

This activity is very useful for showing teachers how important it is to check your assumptions before beginning. And also how important it is to work with the learner so that you know enough about what they know and do not under or over-estimate that knowledge.



The Sumerian tablet

No one actually knows what it says. So this activity is designed to help think about being creative.

Since there is no known answer everyone should be able to have fun inventing one – but sometimes we feel very shy when we are not able to draw on existing knowledge and teachers especially are often not able to say “I don’t know.” yet the best teachers are always very good at doing just that.

So this activity is simply a creative play activity. Although it can become competitive if the person using it adds one more ingredient by saying “you all will have to vote for the funniest/most creative/ most interesting [etc.] suggestion. And you are not allowed to vote for your own.”


About gamestolearn

Games designer, and teacher of games design.
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