Simulation and Discovery Learning in an Age of Zapping and Searching: Learning Models


Discovery learning is one of the oldest and commonest forms of learning. Adults apply this principle daily although they are not aware of it. So do children in different stages of their development. As early as the sixties, 'discovery learning' was officially promoted by educationalists in the United States as a method of learning. The 'International Simulation and Gaming Association' (ISAGA), with among others Cathy Greenblatt, published a lot in the eighties about the effect of games, simulations and role plays in particular (Greenblatt, 1979). Recently, complete scientific schools have arisen around micro-worlds, constructivism and concept mapping (Vygotsky, 1981; Dicheva & Kommers, 1999). Certain interesting parts from the real world can be copied on computers by means of simulation and micro worlds. In this way, children and students can try and learn something with the help of the tools offered or with a simulated reality. Meanwhile we have found that if you want to achieve your targets, 'coaching' is essential. During the past twenty years, learning tools technology experienced an enormous evolutionary development in the field of computers which, over the past five years, may even be called revolutionary. No one in education and educational science can pass by the computer in its latest form: the world wide web. Many people are daily in front of a screen. A lot of contents is digital and many things take place at a distance, in other words: teacher-free. In the future, learning will become increasingly common. It will be in front of screens and online. There will not be anyone present, - it will be 'teacher free' - on the world wide web. (See a.o. Collis, 1998.) Contents are digital, and software is relatively small and compact: e.g. java-applets for simulations with proper instruction and canned streaming video (Min, 1999).

KEYWORDS: Simulation, Discovery Learning, 'International Simulation and Gaming Association-ISAGA