Three important definitions

  • Scenario – the situation that participants will engage with in the simulation. You might also think of this as a case study.
  • Simulation – the set of activities that participants engage in while playing out the scenario in your learning experience
  • Template – a ViewPoint simulation that can be customized. You can save an existing simulation as a template or create a new template for future use.

Questions & Answers

How do I create an engaging simulation experience?

Choose a scenario that:

  • is timely
  • is interesting and/or relatable to participants
  • is contested or involving conflict (roles involved won’t all agree about how to navigate the scenario)
  • allows for a variety of roles that enable your participants to engage with your learning objectives

What’s my first step?

The first step is to clarify your learning objectives. The more specific you are about what you want your students to get out of the simulation, the more effectively you can design your specific activities to advance those objectives.

Simulations can teach a combination of skills: hard skills (like understanding processes, issues, or problems) or softer skills (empathy, teamwork, or communication skills). How you prioritize these skills depends on both your learning objectives as well as the needs and existing skill level of your participants.

Should I use a real or hypothetical scenario?

Real world scenarios work best when:

  • you’re not an expert and your knowledge about the topic is more limited
  • there is a real world example of the situation you’re trying to simulate
  • when the scenario you want to simulate is too complex to create from scratch

Hypothetical scenarios work best when:

  • there’s not a real world example of the application of your topic
  • the simulation is relatively simple (not a lot of decisions, choices, or options)
  • you want to highlight specific aspects of a scenario that aren’t well captured in the real world (like the potential role of citizens in a process where they’re not typically engaged)

Yes. When creating your simulation, you can select a simulation that you want to copy from. The new copy you create will include everything from the original simulation except for the queued content. You can then edit your copy of the simulation without affecting the original simulation that you copied from.

Use the questions below to think through the details of your simulation. 


The best simulations start with a clear idea of what you’re trying to accomplish.

  • What are your primary learning objectives? What is the purpose of the simulation? What are the specific skills or takeaways you want participants to get?
  • What will you title your simulation? (The title you enter in ViewPoint will be seen by participants.)
  • What kinds of images or icons might you use to represent the scenario
  • What is the problem to be solved? Why is it important?
  • Who are the decision-makers? What are their initial positions on the problem?
  • Who are the stakeholders? On which aspects of the problem do they agree or disagree? Are they explicitly represented in the simulation activities? If so, what role do they play in the overall scenario?
  • What’s a one-sentence description of what participants will do during the simulation? (Participants will…)