Design and Development Tools for the Systems Engineering Experience Accelerator

Principal Investigator:  Dr. Jon Wade, Stevens Institute of Technology (

Co-Principal Investigator:  Dr. Doug Bodner, Georgia Institute of Technology (

Collaborator(s):  Purdue University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Defense Acquisition University

Timeframe:  Phase I: June 2014 to April 2015; Phase II: July 2015 to May 2016; Phase III: July 2016 to April 2017


Objectives:  The Experience Accelerator technology will scale to support a community of developers engaged in creating modules for their organizations’ use through tools that are developed to allow educators and other non-programmers to create, maintain and evolve learning experiences.

Approach:  Create design and development tools for experiential learning modules that maximally leverage the current Experience Accelerator research, technology and content.  The following tools will be developed:

  • Simulation Tools:
    • Sim Builder – This tool provides the ability for non-technical staff to build systems dynamics models based on existing templates in a GUI environment.
    • Sim Tuner – This tune provides the ability to analyze the system, determine the sensitivity of various parameters, and aid in the tuning of the system to achieve desired behaviors.
  • Experience Development Tools:
    • Phase Editor – This tool provides the ability to change the finite state machine that changes the phases within an EA experience.  For example, the project phases can be customized to new domains and environments and can be constructed to represent state changes that are not affiliated with formal project states.
    • Event Editor – This tool provides the capability to create and edit events during an experience and the activities that may trigger them.  For example, a phone call from the learner’s supervisor can be triggered based on a decision made by the learner or the state of the project.
    • Artifact Integrator – This tool allows an experience builder the ability to quickly upload an experience change, be it a new artifact such as a new dialog or report, or a changed phase and or event, and test the results without having to do any programming.
  • Learning Assessment:
    • Learning Assessor – This tool will analyze the subject’s activities, decisions, project performance and self-assessments to determine the learning level achieved.  This work will involve developing the logging ability to collect the necessary information, and an analysis tool for making the final predictions.

Current Status:  Through January 2015, meetings were held with the sponsor to discuss the use of Experience Accelerator across classes/instructors with the need for instructors to have tools for development and customization.  A website will be created for Experience Accelerator applications and collaboration.  The team is currently in the “development” sub-phase of the project, which consists of the following:

  • Develop and test tools
  • Continue incremental development for Phase Editor based on feedback from each version
  • Continue GUI development/enhancement for Sim Builder
  • Design sub-model specification and support for Sim Builder
  • Continue follow-up with external developers and stakeholders


Application:  This research will demonstrate Experience Accelerator tools based on an understanding of the challenges in creating the desired learning experiences to be used by a number of organizations in government and industry to support and open source community.  This research will be developed in close interaction with the sponsor and will use an iterative approach providing rapid evaluative feedback.  A multi-year plan will result providing a road map for research leading to the deployment of the tools technology in the sponsor’s environment and broad use throughout Systems Engineering education supported by an open-source community.


Major Deliverables:

The various tools described in the approach together with documentation for them



  • Turner, R., Bodner, D., Kemp D., Rodriguez Y., Wade, J., “SE Simulation Experience Design: Infrastructure, Process, and Application”, 27th Annual INCOSE International Symposium (IS 2017), July 15-20, 2017, Adelaide, Australia.

Research Team

Current Researchers:

  • Dr. Jon Wade, Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Douglas Bodner, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Richard Turner, Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Ms. Yvette Rodriguez, Defense Acquisition University
  • Mr. John Hinkel, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Mr. Peizhu Zhang, Stevens Institute of Technology

Past Researchers:

  • Dr. William Watson, Purdue University
  • Mr. Hao Kang, Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Mr. Alex Peizhu, Stevens Institute of Technology

Collaborating Institutions

Project Researchers