Simulation Based Learning

As a technical trainer, I feel pressure to leverage current technology and approaches as much as possible. More and more, student’s tolerance for a stream of PowerPoint slides is waning. I can tell it’s time to mix it up when the eyes glaze over and the cell phones come out. After viewing a multimedia presentation by past PIDP 3250 student Jeremy Boyne, I realized that Simulation Based Learning – or SBL – is something I really need to consider.

Aircraft Pushback and Tow Simulator

Jeremy points out that SBL leverages three active learning components:

  1. Authentic Assessment
  2. Situated Cognition
  3. Problem Based Learning

Each of these approaches has significant merit in themselves. When put to work together some very powerful learning tools can be created.

I already leverage certain elements of these three components in my 00574e1043bworkshops. I often assign real-world tasks for the students to solve which provides the opportunity for students to apply existing and newly acquired knowledge to complete a relevant task. Much of my training is situated in the office environment, with the coworkers and equipment that the student will be using upon completion of the training. Some of my assignments present a problem which requires the students to leverage course material to solve. However, I’ve yet to develop specific SBL exercises that make all of this work together.

So … I’m now on the hunt for tools and approaches to leverage SBL, especially in my upcoming online self-serve courses. It will more than make up for some of the inherent pitfalls of asynchronous learning.


Boyne, J. (2016, February 7). PIDP 3250: Multimedia Project. Retrieved from YouTube:

BROWN, C. &. (2016, Feburary). SITUATED COGNITION. Retrieved from Learning Theories:

Mueller, J. (2016). Authentic Assessment Toolbox. Retrieved from North Central College Faculty:

Woods, D. (2016). Problem-Based Learning (PBL). Retrieved from McMaster University:


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