Client Research

Our clients have used our simulations to explore a topic essential to present and to aspire school administrators and teachers. They have discovered the value of simulations and have published papers based on their findings. You may read a preview of their research below and a link to download the full publication. We hope you find their research on the advantages of using simulations in education valuable.

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Educational Leadership Simulations: Learning Lessons from Behind the Curtain of Educational Leadership

Simulations have long been used for military and medical training. More recently educational simulations have evolved for training teachers and for gaming used as a tool to engage students in learning. Only recently have educational simulations been available to train school leaders who have increased demands on them to lead schools and to improve test scores. Educational leaders must be versed in a variety of managerial and instructional skills that are supremely difficult to develop in any degree or certification program. The researchers in this study used educational simulations to support graduate instruction in two different principal and superintendent preparation programs. Participants were surveyed after participating in four or more educational simulations. The study uncovered a unanimously positive perception from participants regarding their preparedness for leadership and ability to meet graduate course objectives utilizing the educational simulations. Overall, the participants reported increased confidence to handle real-life situations after engaging in the simulations, more engagement in graduate courses and a deeper perspective to think critically about issues they will be presented with in the field. Data from participants in the study provide real insights to principal preparation programs, aspiring school leaders, and districts interested in further training their current leaders.

Perceptions of Aspiring School Leaders: Scenario-based Simulations and Their Impact on School Principal Efficacy

Two overlapping trends in the U.S. educational environment have given rise to this study: the changes in the demands placed on school principals over the past decade (Hess & Kelly, 2005; Davis, Darling-Hammond, LaPointe, & Meyerson, 2005; National Association of Secondary School Principals & National Association of Elementary School Principals, 2013; Tucker & Codding, 2002) and the surge in school principals feeling underprepared for these new demands (Farkas, Johnson, & Duffett, 2003; School Leaders Network, 2014). Meanwhile, the standards that govern principal preparation have evolved to provide more realistic expectations for preparing aspiring school principals. Preservice training for principals should include training to meet these more realistic standards (Mitgang & Gill, 2012). Scenario-based simulations offer new ways for training to be offered, with major outcomes being candidates gaining a sense of self-efficacy (confidence in their competence) in more rapidly using the simulator compared to traditional preparation classes and related activities (Christensen, Knezek, Tyler-Wood, & Gibson, 2014; Liaw et al., 2016; Spero, 2012). In this qualitative study of eight aspiring school leaders in a small liberal arts college in the Northeast, data were collected from participants to show perceptions simulations had on their sense of self-efficacy as aspiring principals and their confidence in meeting the Professional Standards for Educational Leadership (PSEL). This study found significant qualitative results highlighting a positive relationship between the use of these simulations and the variables of principal self-efficacy and confidence in the PSEL.

Simulations for the Learning of Decision Making in Educational Leadership in the Context of the Chilean School System

This article describes the process of designing and creating six computer-based simulations for school leadership training programmes, in the context of the Chilean school system. For the design and construction of the simulations, six scenarios were selected from case analysis of principals with formal training and experience in different contexts. These scenarios were turned into stories with decision branches, and scores were assigned to the decision-making events according to national and international leadership standards. Finally, the scenarios were coded and installed onto a platform, which was adapted to capture quantitative and qualitative data. The simulations were applied to principals and candidates for school leadership positions. The process of creating and implementing the simulations demonstrated that it is possible to introduce a tool specifically designed to improve the decision-making abilities of school principals and leaders, replicating the Chilean educational context. This is a step forward in efforts to facilitate learning experiences based on decision-making situations contextualised and relevant to the training of school leaders. Finally, the use of computer-based simulations has great potential to scale the exchange of knowledge and make it universally accessible as a complement to other training opportunities in the careers of school leaders.

Using Simulations To Develop Decision-Making Capacity In Aspiring Leaders In K-12 Schools

The purpose of this study is to determine if the use of authentic, problem-based leadership simulations fosters measurable growth of decision-making in an aspiring school leader. Auburn University conducted this research by having one Master’s Degree Program cohorts complete three simulations while the other cohort did not complete any. The results concluded that those in the program who completed the simulations noticed they:

  • Prompted thinking before decision making
  • Taught that every decision has a consequence
  • Emphasized the importance of fact-finding & wait time in decision making
  • Created a safe environment in which to make mistakes and see the consequences played out

 

Using Linguistically, Culturally, and Situationally Appropriate Scenarios to Support Real-World Remembering

Retrieval practice is even more powerful when it utilizes realistic situations that learners will face on the job. When decision-making scenarios simulate future workplace situations, learners are more likely to be reminded of what they previously learned. If you look at the retrieval example and the accompanying diagrams on the previous page, you’ll see how the retrieval process works. Learners are presented with cues, and those cues trigger memory retrieval. When cues reliably trigger retrieval, we say that our learners can remember what they learned.

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