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Simulation Technologies in Higher Education: Uses, Trends, and Implications

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


This ECAR research bulletin focuses on the rapid growth in the use of simulation technologies in higher education and the implications this will have for information technology planning and policy decisions.

Citation for this Work: Damassa, David A., and Toby D. Sitko. “Simulation Technologies in Higher Education: Uses, Trends, and Implications” (Research Bulletin 3, 2010). Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research, 2010, available from

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Thanks for this article. There doesn't seem to be enough support for simulations in higher education. They don't have to be as complex as a 3D environment or even the use of special tools. I have done more situational simulations using Flash that help the user to make good decisions. These can be for business, human resources, and even medical situations. Here is a quick and dirty proof of concept I created to teach medical students to make the right decisions when performing intubations for anesthesia:

This is basically just a couple of frames in Flash that are loaded from an XML file generated from FileMaker Pro records. Once the basic interface is laid out, the background image, foreground pictures, questions, and  answers can all be added to the FileMaker database quite easily. For each record, a destination is set for each answer that the user might choose. Feedback can also be collected for each correct or incorrect decision, and coaching can also be easily added to each scene. This is a very low-cost way to create simulations that can have a great impact on the decision-making process.