"It's a whole new fun different way to learn." Students' perceptions of learning with an electronic simulation

selected results from three case studies in an Australian, an American and a Swiss middle school

Anika Struppert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Research has shown that computer games and simulations can support learning in a number of different areas, ranging from motor skills to decision-making and problem-solving. In this study, the electronic life simulation "RealLives" was introduced to middle schools in Australia, the USA and Switzerland to promote students' intercultural competence. In times of globalisation, intercultural competence can be considered a key competence and its promotion should be part of children's education. Computer games and simulations offer innovative ways in which this can be done. This paper presents selected results from the "RealLives" study, focusing on students'perceptions of learning with the simulation in school. It looks at different aspects, such as interestingness, fun, enjoyment and engagement with the simulation, as well as educational outcomes. The findings support results of previous studies that learning with an electronic simulation is generally considered fun and engaging, although excitement can decrease over time. They also show that students can expand their knowledge, deepen their understanding and make valuable experiences in a variety of areas by using a simulation like "RealLives". Comparable to outcomes of previous studies, the findings suggest that learning with such a medium requires guidance and support by a teacher to ensure accurate, relevant and adequate educational outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-375
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Learning
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2010



  • Computer Game
  • Computer Simulation
  • Electronic Simulation
  • Educational Game
  • Serious Game
  • Edcuational Technology
  • Game-based Learning
  • Intercultural Competence
  • Intercultural Learning

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