Learning Concept Map
Learning Concept Map

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Learning Topics


Learning and the Environment

In Simulations and the Future of Learning: An Innovative (and Perhaps Revolutionary) Approach to e-Learning, Clark Aldrich writes that It is not the normal how-to textbook, but rather a true story about building a leadership simulation. It is quite interesting and highly recommended. In the book, Aldrich discusses three types of contents: linear, cyclical, and open-ended. He recently refined and elaborated on this concept with a paper titled Six Criteria of an Educational Simulation.

In the paper, Aldrich writes that there are six criteria, divided into two groups, that compose a learning environment:

Content Types:

Delivery Elements:

Content Types

Content types describe directional flow of the content. Linear content is presented with one event or step following the next. It is perhaps the most widely used type of all as it provides a solid background (and it is simple to build). Cyclical content addresses “muscle memory,” such as learning to hit a tennis ball, pedal a bike, play the piano, or type. While linear content is more or less academic, in that it helps to describe a task; cyclical content goes beyond this to learning a skill. System content deals with complex relationships.

For example, when learning to drive:

Delivery Elements

Normally, the most successful educational experiences are built on three delivery elements: simulation, game, and pedagogical. Pedagogical or didactic elements ensure that the learner's time is productive. Game interactions provide familiar and entertaining interactions. While simulation elements provide reality.

Going back to the driving example:

Learning Methodology: Providing a Learning Environment

The two concepts of delivery elements and content types are quite interesting in that they give us a wider platform for building learning programs. Listed below are five other considerations (they are covered in more detail at ISD at Warp Speed).

There are four learning design architectures:

In turn, the four architectures help us to learn by various experiences:

There are two main methods for presenting instructional content:

In addition, there are two main approaches for helping the learners to learn:

When we put all the above"design considerations together, we have to develop (build) it for a type of media, such as web, classroom, text, combination (blended), or more simply, a Learning Framework. Thus, when building a learning program, it helps to think of a wider framework than simply shoveling the content (subject matter) to the learners. That is, one has to start thinking of the context that will support it:

Learning Framework

experience absorbing doing interacting reflecting systems cyclical content linear delivery simulation games pedagogy approch inquisitory expository presentation inductive deductive architecture discovery exploratory directive receptive media media media media media
learning Framework
Informal/Formal LearningSocial Learning & MediaBlended Learning


Aldrich, Clark (2004). Simulations and the Future of Learning. San Francisco: Pfeiffer

Going the "Simulation Way": Q&A with Clark Aldrich

Simulations and the Learning Revolution: An Interview with Clark Aldrich

Beneath the Tip of the Iceberg

ISD at Warp Speed