Via Jane Knight, Clark Aldrich (must be a day for people whose surnames begin with ‘Al’) has written a paper entitled Six criteria of an educational simulation (.pdf).
It’s an interesting read actually and reminds me of one colleague in particular who is very fond of (and good at!) illustrating concepts with visual metaphor. Again though, simulations for me fall into that confusing category of ‘not sure’. I know this is simplistic (it’s about the best I can do this morning) but if it isn’t real and purposeful… if it doesn’t motivate through actual (as opposed to simulated outcomes)… then I don’t know if it’s really going to be any help.
But that could be just me as a learner, I certainly need to do more reading in this area so this is a good start for that!