Simulation: Key Challenges and Solutions for Research and Learning Environments

Shawn Diederich, The Clark Enersen Partners
Kate Hier, The Clark Enersen Partners

Simulation and experiential learning, in its various forms, is increasingly important and beneficial for a wide range of research, development, and educational fields. While the type of simulation can vary greatly, from single-user virtual reality environments to multi-user high-fidelity scenarios to computationally-demanding fully-immersive sensory experiences, there are common challenges that exist for these environments.

In this session, the presenters will detail the key considerations and challenges inherent to the design and construction of simulation and experiential learning spaces. Innovative and sustainable solutions for addressing those challenges will be outlined, using real-world examples and data to support the conclusions.

Upon the completion of this session, attendees will have a deeper understanding of practical constraints and innovative solutions associated with scenario-driven learning and research, along with tools for responding to the rapid evolution of simulation trends.

Learning Objectives

  • learn how various types of simulation can be used in educational and research;
  • understand the common challenges associated with simulation scenarios;
  • discover innovative and sustainable solutions for addressing design and construction challenges; and
  • learn from real-world examples and data.


Shawn Diederich is a Senior Principal and Director of Engineering at The Clark Enersen Partners. Throughout his 20+ years of experience, he has specialized in the programming, design, and project management of science, research, and simulation facilities. As a leader of the firm's Science and Research Design Team, Shawn's focus is the integration of innovative and sustainable building systems to enhance scientific outcomes.

Kate Hier is an Architect, Principal, and Laboratory planner at The Clark Enersen Partners. During her 10 years of experience, she has led programming, planning, and design on numerous projects at higher education institutions and medical education centers across the Midwest. As an integral part of the firm's Science and Research Design team, Kate's expertise lies at the intersection of systems thinking and design excellence.


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