Used for tests (Chapter 7) and activities (Chapter 6), simulations also form the basis for an entirely new kind of course-though many would not call it a learning environment rather than a course. The kinds of simulations we talk about here are ones that are used for learning and that are complete enough to teach everything needed through simulation.
Here is an example of a simple Web-based simulation used for learning. It is called SomeWoods and is modeled on the popular computer game SimCity. It is designed to help private landowners in the southeastern United States learn to manage their forests more effectively regardless of their particular goals.
This simulation runs quarter by quarter for up to 50 years. Each quarter, the learner reviews the results from the last quarter and decides what actions to take. Actions include things like selectively cutting an area, clear-cutting it, replanting it, conducting a controlled bum, or having the area appraised. Actions can be applied to each of the 100 stands on the map individually.
The results for a quarter depend on actions taken by the learner, and also on variables such as rainfall, fluctuations in prices for saw timber and pulp wood, emergency needs for cash (daughter gets accepted at Harvard), forest fires, and disasters, such as tornados and lightning.
Just as in the real situation, learners must look beyond ...