Could not download file: This paper is available to authorised users only.


Engineers take advantage of computers to model and to simulate real problems. In the engineering education, computer simulations are virtual laboratories where students experiment, analyze, and design complex systems. Thanks to the simulations, students do not deal with tedious operations, their motivation in understanding real-world relationships is increased, and they decide where, when and what to explore by using a web-based learning management system as Ilias or mooddle. On the other hand, the main drawbacks are the time needed to choose and to develop the application, and the time for training students in the interface.
The previous paragraph shows why engineer instructors include simulations in their teaching methodologies. To achieve a learning aim, different educational software can be chosen. Which is the best election? This work proposes a methodology to find adequate software according to the learning goal and a set of criterions related with the effort and time needed for students (training, motivation, cost, etc) and for instructors (programme language knowledge, implementation time, evaluation effort, etc). This is a multi-criteria problem that can be modelled and solved by using a method of the decision theory. Because of its simplicity, the authors employ the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). This is a general methodology, thus it is valid for different subjects. Two examples will show how to select the software for simulate power plant cycles and machining operations.