Convert Course Materials into an Instructional Simulation using Gaming Elements

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In an online course, a frequent criticism is that the PowerPoint presentations are poorly designed and critical supporting information is often missing (with no presenter to fill in the blanks!). On the other hand, instructional simulations combine multimedia elements (i.e. sound, images, video, etc) to represent (simulate) particular aspects of an actual situation (Hays, 2006). During the simulation, students interact with course content to achieve specific learning objectives. An active learning process occurs while students make sense of material through dynamic interactive experiences, similar to a game setting (Novak, 2012; Weimer, 2010).

Adding gaming elements appeals to many students because attainable challenges and ongoing rewards are offered (e.g., point system) (Orlando, 2011). Students can play simulation repeatedly (anywhere/anytime), are provided immediate feedback, and even have fun learning by using gaming elements that capture student’s attention and provide enjoyment!

Link to example artifact(s)

In this example, an instructional designer supported a faculty member in converting PowerPoint course material into an instructional simulation. Here, course material was converted into an instructional simulation using a case-scenario and gaming elements to promote interactive learning. The student plays the role of a nurse in an emergency room and is challenged to apply course knowledge. The student’s score is tracked and feedback is provided.

Link to scholarly reference(s)

Hays, R.T. (2006). The science of learning: A systems theory approach. Boca Raton, FL: Brown Walker Press.

Novak, J. (2012). Game development essentials (3rd ed.). Clifton Park, NY: Delmar, Cengage Learning.

Orlando, J. (2011). What games teach us about learning.

Weimer, M. (2010). Simulations deliver real benefits.


Igel, G. (2015). Convert course materials into an instructional simulation using gaming elements. In B. Chen & K. Thompson (Eds.), Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository. Orlando, FL: University of Central Florida Center for Distributed Learning.

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