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Games and Simulations: A New Approach in Education?

Computer games and simulations are considered powerful tools for learning with an untapped potential for formal educational use. However, the lack of available well-designed research studies about their integration into teaching and learning leaves unanswered questions, despite their more than 30 years of existence in the instructional design movement. Beginning with these issues, this chapter aims to shed light on the definition of games and simulations, their educational use, and some of their effects on learning. Criticisms and new trends in the field of instructional design/development in relation to educational use of games and simulations are briefly reviewed. The chapter intends to provide a brief theoretical framework and a fresh starting point for practitioners in the field who are interested in educational use of games and simulations and their integration into learning environments.