• Distinguish between learning environments as
games, simulations, or virtual worlds.
• Identify the different genres of games,
simulations, and virtual worlds.
• Compare and contrast games, simulations, and
virtual worlds as informatics tools for nursing
• Describe strategies choosing between a game,
simulation, or virtual world as the best choice for
instructional delivery in a given educational
• Educational games
• Virtual worlds
– all share some characteristics
– it’s difficult to find a “pure” experience in any of the
– For example, simulations may have game-like
qualities, and virtual worlds may be used to present a
• An educational game, one designed for
learning, is a subset of both play and fun, and
is sometimes referred to as a serious game
• Different types of games
• A simulation attempts to recreate a real-life
set of conditions or events with as much
fidelity as possible (Alessi, 1988).
• Aldrich (2010) contends that simulations
develop cognition (Learning to Know skills),
ethics and roles (Learning to Be skills), and
application (Learning to Do skills). Unlike
games, simulations are not necessarily
designed to be fun.
• A virtual world often takes the form of a
computer-based simulated environment, through
which users can interact with one another and
use and create objects.
• Virtual worlds are intended for its users to inhabit
• Largely synonymous with interactive 3D virtual
environments, where the users take the form of
avatars visible to others graphically.
Choosing Between Educational Games,
Simulations, and Virtual Worlds
• Games are goal oriented and may be competitive in
nature. Games should be fun and perhaps a bit
“fantastical” and light-hearted.
• simulations are also goal oriented, the competition is
generally subdued. Simulations are generally more
realistic and are not necessarily fun to use.
• Virtual worlds generally lend themselves to
exploratory learning and social interaction.
• Best uses of all these technologies and
approaches still remain a bit murky.
Fortunately, a great deal of research is
underway whose findings will guide future
educators towards the best uses of
educational games, simulations, and virtual