Education/Games, worlds and models

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Some skills -- such as walking, riding a bicycle, putting a basketball in the hoop, and swimming -- are most rapidly learned by actually doing it, perhaps with someone who already knows how to do it putting your hands in the right place, etc.

Other skills -- such as skyscraper design, aircraft engine-out recovery, parachuting, leading troops into battle, urban planning, etc. -- are generally considered not appropriate for beginners. These skills are today generally learned with a bunch of classroom lectures and simulation. For example, modern flight simulators have a combination of computer graphics (simulating the view out the front window) and robotics (moving the simulator round to simulate the "feel" of climbing, spiraling, rough landing, etc.).

Improvements in computer graphics and robotics can improve education in several ways, including:

  • The simulation looks and feels more like reality to the person being trained, so when that person does it "for real" it feels more familiar, and there is less risk of "overtraining to the simulator" -- learning to do things in a way that won't work in reality.
  • Simulators themselves have dropped in price and require less effort on the part of the teacher to set up and monitor each round of simulation, removing some of the barriers that keep most people from ever learning those skills.
  • Things that were once "too expensive" for beginners keep falling in price, eventually passing the threshold where it's faster and cheaper to go ahead and do it "for real" (throwing away or recycling the early common beginner's mistakes) than to train how to do it in a classroom and with a simulator. For example, "printing a newspaper" is far easier and cheaper today with copiers and computer printers than it was with earlier printing press or even earlier manual copying. For example, "building a chair" is much easier and has less risk of bloodshed using Grid Beam than using raw lumber and a circular saw.

See also: Free and open-source computer-aided design/Virtual environments for scenario modelling. World Game 11px-Wikipedia_logo.jpg. Edutainment 11px-Wikipedia_logo.jpg.