Students can learn how to tackle real-world challenges when they engage in educational simulations

Educational simulations are on the rise


Students can learn how to tackle real-world challenges when they engage in educational simulations

Educational simulations are trending, with more and more institutions using simulations to teach and evaluate skills.

Backed by a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Excelsior College has worked with Polk State College to develop simulations to teach and then assess key skills in power generation and advanced manufacturing to prepare technicians for the workplace.

Excelsior College was the first online college to receive this NSF grant, which helps technicians with occupation-specific training and certification in the energy and manufacturing industries.

Related content: Why simulations (not VR) are the next big thing in education

Using educational simulations can help close current gaps in teaching skills and assessing learning, and can help ensure workforce readiness.

At Excelsior, the educational simulations are incorporated into three associate-level courses in the Technical Studies program and included within the Nuclear/Power Plant, Electronic/Instrumentation, and Electromechanical concentrations.

“Real-world experience gained through the use of 3D simulations is changing the dynamics of the learning process,” says Heather Davis, corporate training director, training strategies and workforce development at Exelon Nuclear, a division of Exelon Generation, whose employees benefit from a partnership with Excelsior College.

The three courses with simulations—TECH 180 Personal Protection Equipment for Electrical Work, TECH 185 Blueprint Ready, and TECH 240 Job Tasks and Troubleshooting—are prerequisites to an Energy Industry Fundamentals course approved by the Center for Electrical Workforce Development (CEWD).

After a student has taken all the three Excelsior College courses and the CEWD-approved EIF course (TECH 260), the student can take the certification exam.

Click to view a sample of a simulation. Under the grant, Excelsior College will make these simulations open education resources that can be used by colleges and industries throughout the United States.

Bei Liu, one of the grant’s principal investigators and a faculty program director at Excelsior College, joined industry experts at the 26th National ATE Principal Investigators’ Conference in late October to discuss key topics related to educational simulations. Liu is one of approximately 850 NSF ATE (Advanced Technology Education) grantees and their project partners who attended and highlighted critical issues related to advanced technological education.

[Editor’s note: This news originally appeared online and is reposted here with permission.]