Simulations are recognized as an efficient and effective way of teaching and learning complex, dynamic systems. A new concept of simulation-based teaching with a built-in learning history is introduced in several simulation-based teaching tools. The user of these systems obtains access to past states and decisions and to the consequences of these decisions. To date, there has been very little research on the effectiveness and efficiency of the learning history in simulation-based teaching. In this paper we report the results of a controlled experiment to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of a learning process that takes place in a dynamic simulation. This was done with and without recording and accessing the history of the learning process, along with the ability to restart the simulation from any point. The experiment was based on the simulation teaching tool called the Operations Trainer (OT) that simulates the order fulfillment process in a manufacturing organization, implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. The findings show that with the learning history recording and inquiry available to the users of the OT simulator, a better performance was obtained during the learning process itself. Moreover, when the use of the history mechanism was removed after 2weeks , the better performance still remained. In addition, performance was similarly better in a different context, than the one used in the original learning with access to the learning history. The findings are discussed with respect to the self-learning process in simulation-based teaching environments and the practical implications of using simulators in the growing field of Electronic Learning (E-Learning).

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Keywords Interactive learning environments, Simulations, Teaching/learning strategies
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Journal Computers and Education
Parush, A, Hamm, H. (H.), & Shtub, A. (A.). (2002). Learning histories in simulation-based teaching: The effects on self-learning and transfer. Computers and Education, 39(4), 319–332. doi:10.1016/S0360-1315(02)00043-X