The first Educational Game: A flight simulator

The first Educational Game: A flight simulator

Ed Link built the first flight simulator in 1927. 

The US patent office declared it a “novel  amusement device”. 

In 1934, 9 Army Corps pilots died in a three week period. At the time, there was a 1 in  10 chance that a pilot trainee would die in training. US President Franklin D. Roosevelt called in the General of the Army Air Corps and demanded to know if there was a better way to train pilots. On a foggy day Ed Link landed at Newark air base and convinced the General to try the Link Trainer. 7 years later, the Army had 10,000 trainers in use. 

A flight simulator is really just a big video game. You are looking at the Boeing Dreamliner flight simulator. Pilots training to fly the new Boeing Dreamliner spend an average of 22 days in a flight simulator.

Even after the flight training is completed, pilots fly in a simulator every 9 months. One day is to test their capability with basic maneuvers. Two days are spent training for “interesting” circumstances. By the way, crashing in the simulator, even knowing that it  is a simulator, is a frightening experience. The brain reacts to the simulation as if it  were real. 

Video games have mostly, like the early flight simulator, been thought of as something  for amusement. However, similar to the experience in a flight simulator, in a simulation game, you have a linear learning or behavior change objective and thrust, but the  learning is one of rapid experiential cycles. In fact, action can often take place before understanding, giving rise to learning from the experience. This creates more than  “sticky” learning, it creates new patterns of behavior. 

At Ncite we believe that games are a more efficient way to learn than traditional real world correlates because game players experience “try-succeed/fail-try” cycles at a  much faster rate than traditional learners.