Open Access

SIMULACRE: A proposal for practical training in e learning environments

International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education201411:11030005

DOI: 10.7238/rusc.v11i3.1781

Received: 15 March 2013

Accepted: 15 February 2014

Published: 15 July 2014

Abstract

This article describes an educational innovation project called SIMULACRE, funded by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalonia, UOC) through a grant awarded under APLICA 2011. This project focuses on the design, development, implementation and evaluation of a new methodology for practical training in e-learning environments.

The first part of the article gives an introduction to the features of the UOC’s educational model and to the various experiences of practical training in e-learning environments within the university. The second part presents a new proposal for practical training called SIMULACRE, which is based on a model that combines the theory of simulation games, problem-solving and cooperative learning. This part specifies the curricular competencies to be developed, the teaching stages into which their development is divided, and the new educational resources that this practical training model requires.

The last part of this article presents the evaluation process done after the first implementation of the model in the practical subject seminars of the UOC master’s degree in Cultural Management in 2011. This evaluation had a two-pronged analysis, first of the SIMULACRE objectives, and second of the students’ competency acquisition.

The results indicate that SIMULACRE is an educational proposal that allows practical training to be done online and offers the possibility of having direct contact with professionals, of team working and of decision making. They also show that it is a model that enables students to satisfactorily acquire competencies relating to problem-solving, decision-making and critical analysis. The article concludes that SIMULACRE is a valid proposal for gaining access to and doing practical training in e-learning environments.

Keywords

practical training e-learning evaluation competencies practical training model educational innovation