Class simulations are techniques that involve computer modeling to help students train for various professions or skills by creating the effect or appearance of a real-world experience. The simulations help students to better comprehend the concepts that they were taught in the class. A simulation exercise also helps students gain problem-solving skills through hands-on practice of the profession or skill. A simulator might be found in laboratories owned and operated by the school for the in-class simulation portion of the students' training.
Students of driving instruction might be required to participate in class simulations before actually getting behind the wheel of a real car and driving down the street. They might practice driving in the same classroom where they study the rules and safety precautions of driving, or they might go to what is called a simulator laboratory, commonly referred to as a sim lab, for this hands-on or practical portion of their training. Class simulations could involve the student sitting in a chair made to resemble the driver's seat in a car, with simulated equipment by the chair: a steering wheel, gear shift, horn, dashboard with lights and gauges, a gas pedal and a brake pedal. The computer modeling part of this exercise often involves a video depicting a road on which other vehicles are moving.
These class simulations allow the student to get an idea of what it is like to have to control a vehicle while sharing the road with other drivers. He or she watches the activity on the screen and must interact with it. When the gas pedal is pressed, the video simulates acceleration, and when the brake pedal is applied, the video simulates the car slows down. Steering also is controlled, as is the sound of the horn to alert other drivers. The class simulations should help train the student how to avoid accidents and show them the need to remain alert while operating a vehicle as well as teaching them other driving skills, such as parking.
Emergency medical technician (EMT) students also might have class simulations. Computer modeling is used to simulate vital signs such as a pulse and respiration in mannequins so that trainees can practice taking blood pressure and checking and monitoring a patient's breathing. Although class simulations are designed to give students hands-on practice to come as close as possible to real-life experience, computer modeling can never take the place of work in the real world. This is why no matter how much a student participates in them, simulations hardly ever count toward experience in a profession.