Mental Simulation Effects on Performance: Benefits of Outcome Versus Process Simulations in Online Courses




higher education, academic performance, mental simulation, performance forecast


The present research compares the effects of mentally recreating the experience of realizing that a desirable goal had been achieved (outcome simulation exercise) with those of mentally recreating the actions that might lead to the desirable goal (process simulation exercise). It asked whether the performance benefits of process simulations over outcome simulations, which have been reported in students enrolled in face-to-face classes, would generalize to an online environment. The process simulation exercise was expected to foster attention to the antecedents of good grades, thereby improving class performance relative to the outcome simulation exercise which was intended to be merely motivational. College students from the Middle East, who were taking classes online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, participated. Type of simulation impacted students’ performance on assignments, but differently depending on the timing of the assessment. It did not influence behavioral engagement, midterm test performance, or predictions of performance before or after the test. Instead, process simulation enhanced students’ confidence in their predictions. These findings suggest that process simulation exercises may be useful learning props for activities that challenge students’ problem-solving skills (e.g., assignments) rather than engage well-practiced study habits (e.g., tests).


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How to Cite

Alghazo, R., Daqqa, I. ., Abdelsalam, H., A.E. Pilloti, M., & Al Mulhem, H. (2020). Mental Simulation Effects on Performance: Benefits of Outcome Versus Process Simulations in Online Courses. International Journal of Cognitive Research in Science, Engineering and Education, 8(Special issue), 37–47.

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