Synthetic Learning Environments: On Developing a Science of Simulation, Games, and Virtual Worlds for Training
It has been argued that the United States’ position as a global economic leader depends largely on the degree to which a workforce of educated, adaptive, and motivated individuals can be developed and maintained (Stein, 2000). This challenge is intensified by the availability and sophistication of technology that is now commonplace in many jobs. Fortunately, the same technology that has increased requirements for better skilled and prepared workers is also providing unprecedented opportunities to improve the education and training process. Applied prudently and intelligently, technology holds great promise as a means to improve education and training at all levels. However, attempts to exploit technology in learning systems are likely to fail if they are not based on the science of learning, a situation that is all too common in instructional system design. Moreover, poorly implemented systems will cause educators and trainers to abandon technologies that could be very effective if applied correctly.