University of Maryland

SimPLE: Simulated Processes in a Learning Environment


This research explores simulation as a vehicle to provide powerful learning experiences through information technology, so that users may learn by doing, anytime and anywhere.  Generic simulation engines, such as VisSimTM, are very powerful and flexible but most require significant training.  Real world systems modeled in these systems become very complex quickly.  SimPLE is an application framework (written in Borland Delphi) for creating simulation-based learning environments.  It couples the power and flexibility of a generic simulation engine with a custom front end that includes a variety of learning aids, such as the learning historian, tightly-coupled guidance, and instructional scaffolding.

From the development perspective, the architecture of SimPLE separates the software development (e.g., user interface) from the creation of the educational content (e.g., simulation engine and guidance materials).  This separation allows independent contributions from programmers and teachers/domain experts when creating SimPLE modules.

SimPLE modules have been created for a diverse set of applications, including: EquiPSim for semiconductor manufacturing equipment and processes; WaterSim for environmental control systems involving water recycling in manufacturing environments; NileSim for the hydrology and ultimately the social science of the Nile River basin; and TrafficSim for highway transportation management.



SimPLE (January 2003) [Download] [Installation Instructions]


Rose, A., Rubloff, G. W. (March 2002)
Enabling Teachers and Students in Simulation-Based Learning Environments
presented at Research Review Day, March 1, 2002, College Park, MD.

Rose, A., Eckard, D., and Rubloff, G. W. (May 1998)
An Application Framework for Creating Simulation-Based Learning Environments
University of Maryland Technical Report CS-TR-3907, UMIACS-TR-98-32

Rose, A., Eckard, D., Rubloff, G., Plaisant, C., Shneiderman, B., Ziets, G. (May 1998)
Simulated Processes in a Learning Environment
presented at HCIL’s Annual Symposium and Open House, College Park, MD.

Rose, A. (1998)
SimPLE: Simulated processes in a learning environment
University of Maryland HCIL 1991-1999 Retrospective Video Report, [4:20].


  • Gary W. Rubloff, University of Maryland, Institute for Systems Research
  • Anne Rose, University of Maryland, Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory
  • Philip Moore, University of Maryland, Computer Science
  • Dave Eckard, Undergraduate Research Assistant, Electrical and Computer Engineering, North Carolina State University
  • Natasha Kositsyna, Undergraduate Research Assistant, Computer Science, University of Maryland


  • University of Maryland, Materials and Nuclear Engineering Department and Institute for Systems Research
  • University of Maryland, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department
  • University of Arizona, Chemical Engineering Department
  • Bowie State University, Computer Science Department, Bowie, MD