Background. Training simulations provide opportunity for users to repeat actions in order to master a task. Once a mistake has been identified, however, difficulties may arise in replicating the exact sequence of previous actions, particularly in complex, open-ended environments.
Technology. Alongside the advent of virtual 3D environments for learning, technology can more easily support a focus on the error in ways that were previously arduous.
Purpose. This research represents an investigation of student learning, reflection, and metacognition when using a 3D simulation with built-in functionality that allows students to redo their actions by focusing on the point of error instead of restarting from the beginning.
Methods. Interviews and observations were used to gather qualitative data, illustrating that starting at the point of failure within a complex, multiplayer simulation holds advantages and presents obstacles for student learning.
Findings. Two key findings were identified: (a) the first relating to the influence of reflection on learning in that participants used reflection with varying degrees of complexity as a scaffolding mechanism; and (b) the second was that the students’ abilities to orient themselves in the problem space contributed to the amount of contextual information they needed to be successful—in this case, either starting from the beginning or from the point of error.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/brett_shelton/39/