Active learning: the example of using a simulator

Active learning: the example of using a simulator

Learning through simulators is a form of active learning that allows students to implement learning they have already acquired and to test their own hypotheses. Through their simulations they can see the consequences of their choices and discuss them.

This type of tool can therefore be used at the end of a teaching sequence to enable students to apply knowledge during a class.

Active learning: the example of using a simulator

Resources produced as a result of a project: Escapade

Group size : Group (10-15 persons), Classroom (20-30 persons)

Modality : Presential, Distancial

Duration of the teaching method : In a session, An entire session

Special equipment : Requires a computer with internet access to access the simulation site. Requires a presentation to explain how the simulation works.

Type of knowledge developed : Knowledge, Know-how

Target Audience : Students, Professionals in training

Course Type : Tutorials (TD), Course

Preparation time :Creation of the simulation. Several months. No special preparation on the day.

Author and persons who made changes : Elsa Ballini, Loup Rimbaud

Why am I using this technique?

For my learners...

This approach allows students to apply and supplement the knowledge they have acquired elsewhere. The approach forces learners to make hypotheses and test them and then interpret them. The approach also allows for further instruction after each hypothesis test to help them interpret the results. This approach makes learning more active rather than a traditional course flow. The simulation periods punctuate the course and immerse the students in learning.

For me, teacher or trainer...

This activity requires an investment by the teacher/trainer in creating the simulation. It is research work that is then put online to be used for teaching. It is a way of valorising this research and, in the framework of projects, of showing that the transfer to teaching has been an issue.

It is necessary to develop the simulation by testing it with students in order to be able to adapt it to the different questions they might want to address through the simulation.

Framework and steps / Instructions

The framework

This type of method is interesting for structuring and making students more active in class. The session is punctuated by a period of TD/Simulation and a period of transmissive lecture to discuss and interpret the simulations.

The preparation

It is necessary that groups of students (2-4) have access to a computer with internet.

The process

  1. Introduction of the simulation, how it was created, the research project that led to the data.
  2. Ask a question that requires a first set of simulations.
  3. Class time to discuss this question and the results of the simulation.
  4. Repeat the process with the different questions you wanted to address in the course.

Evaluation It is possible to imagine a variant that requires a debriefing, in which case the course should have been delivered elsewhere.


The simulation is online and one could imagine creating a serious online game on this basis.

Points of vigilance

You need to structure your course in big questions and then think of simulations to implement for each question.

What if it doesn't work?

Students may need more time to acquire the knowledge and it is necessary to slow down the pace and create groups of students mixing levels.

Useful links

Other resources

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