In his comments to my last post, Alvaro pointed to an interview he did with Prof. Daniel Gopher at SharpBrains. Dr. Gopher notes:
The need for physical fidelity is not based on research, at least for the type of high-performance training we are talking about. In fact, a simple environment may be better in that it does not create the illusion of reality. Simulations can be very expensive and complex, sometimes even costing as much as the real thing, which limits the access to training. Not only that, but the whole effort may be futile, given that some important features can not be replicated (such as gravitation free tilted or inverted flight), and even result in negative transfer, because learners pick up on specific training features or sensations that do not exist in the real situation.
For the high-end gaming developers, Dr. Gopher suggests that the emphasis on "realism" may be misguided. He cites a side-by-side comparison between a simple computer game and a sophisticated, graphically rich flight simulator and notes that the simple game was more effective.
For those of us who create low-budget, high-speed eLearning, his findings are very encouraging. His recommendation: analyze the cognitive skills involved, then develop a simulation that trains those skills.
Common sense - but how many times have you seen eLearning that is pretty to look at and useless for training?
Thank you Alvaro for the lead and your nice comments!!!!!