SimQuest: authoring educational simulations

Wouter van Joolingen, Ton de Jong

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

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Sim Quest is an authoring system for creating computer simulations embedded in an instructional environment. A typical learning environment created with Sim Quest allows learners to engage in an activity of discovery learning with a simulation, supported by instructional measures from within the environment. Some of these instructional measures adapt themselves to the interaction of the learner with the simulation.

Sim Quest allows the author to create various kinds of instructional support for the learner. Assignments provide the learner with short term goals for the learning process, explanations offer additional information, a monitoring tool allows the learner to record and replay experiments, and, moreover, the domain can be arranged according to different levels of model progression. Recent developments are a hypothesis scratchpad, intelligent feedback, a modelling tool, and facilities for collaborative learning in Sim Quest.

Sim Quest supports the full process of authoring simulation based learning environments, from creating the simulation model to defining the instructional interaction of the learning environment with the learner. Authoring a Sim Quest learning environment is done in an object oriented way. The author selects templates from a library to create building blocks of the learning environment, which are then edited to match the author’s requirements. The Sim Quest architecture, with a simulation context as central element takes care of the interaction between the various building blocks. The author is supported by the contents of the library, on-line help, on-line pedagogical advice, and a wizard that can automate part of the authoring process.

Sim Quest has been used to create about twenty learning environments, some of which have been evaluated extensively with students. Currently Sim Quest is used by a group of teachers to create learning material for use in their classrooms. A number of Sim Quest learning environments are now published by commercial publishers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAuthoring Tools for Advanced Technology Learning Environments
Subtitle of host publicationToward Cost-Effective Adaptive, Interactive and Intelligent Educational Software
EditorsTom Murray, Stephen B. Blessing, Shaaron Ainsworth
Place of PublicationDordrecht
ISBN (Electronic)978-94-017-0819-7
ISBN (Print)978-90-481-6499-8
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • Learning environment
  • Authoring process
  • Authoring system
  • Instructional support
  • Model progression


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