Since the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial demonstrated the substantial benefits of tight glycaemic control there has been renewed interest in the application of information technology (IT) based techniques for improving the day-to-day care of patients with diabetes mellitus. Computer-based educational approaches have a great deal of potential for patients use, and may offer a means of training more health-care professionals to deliver such improved care. In this article the potential role of IT in diabetes education is reviewed, focusing in particular on the application of compartmental models in both computer-based interactive simulators and educational video games. Close attention is devoted to practical applications-available today-for use by patients, their relatives, students and health-care professionals. The novel features and potential benefits of such methodologies are highlighted and some of the limitations of currently available software are discussed. The need for improved graphical user interfaces, and for further efforts to evaluate such programs and demonstrate an educational benefit from their use are identified as hurdles to their more widespread application. The review concludes with a look to the future and the type of modelling features which should be provided in the next generation of interactive diabetes simulators and educational video games.