Is Simulation Fidelity the Question?
Technical note Apr-Jul 1981
NAVY PERSONNEL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENTCENTER SAN DIEGO CA
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Recent work on the analysis of learners representations of complex physical systems was reviewed. These results were used to introduce the concept of mental models, which, on one hand, are an important part of what must be considered in designing simulation. On the other hand, faulty mental models of what simulators should be like ignore almost everything known about how to teach people complicated tasks. It is suggested that design specifications for training simulators should include features intended to promote learning and understanding. Sometimes it may be necessary to violate physical and temporal fidelity to promote learning. This is not a new idea, but it is apparent that, in the acquisition of training devices for new weapon systems, little or no attention is paid to this advice. Recommendations include a development effort to operationalize guidelines for specifying and designing instructional task fidelity, as well as to promote and monitor their use. Keywords Analogical learning, Mental models, Simulation, Simulation fidelity. Author