The popularity of simulation training is increasing in the field of Learning and Development (L&D) as technologies like VR / AR are becoming both better and cheaper, while e-learning and software companies are finding innovative ways to make simulations more effective for educators and trainers.
Often more effective than traditional methods, similation based training enables an immersive learning experience to increase learner engagement, reduces time to competency for many tasks, and can provide useful data on performance before employees are let lose in the real working environment.
What is Simulation Training?
Simulation training is the use of any combination of computer software, hardware and IT systems to mimic a real-life working scenario. More practical than passively absorbing learning materials, it allows learners to perform specific tasks or activities in close to real-world scenarios in order to prepare them better for their task or role, without the risks that may come from diving straight into learning on the job.
For example, George, the famous virtual reality patient, designed and created by Oxford Medical Simulation (OMS), looked like a real patient. The students could check his temperature, heartbeat and could even perform surgical procedures on him.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses, doctors and other hospital staff have been using simulations to practise patient care and safe working processes to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
And the uses are not only in healthcare – simulations have applications in virtually every industry.
Though simulation training has been widely used in sectors such as healthcare, aviation and the military strategy, it can be used in customer service scenarios like call centers, software engineering, IT systems training and more.
A learner can take up the role of a project manager and can be taught about likely or unlikely problems that may arise during the actual software development process in a project. Training based on creating an interactive real-world scenario in IT has the potential to transform an entire training process. Simulation training can have a wide array of uses that include product & sales training, compliance, deployment and usage of software systems. In business, you can prepare people to tackle challenges and problems through worst-case scenarios.
How to Make Simulation-Based Training Effective
The problem with the software process training is the gap between theory and real-world situations. This gap can be filled using simulation training in software and IT systems.
Some of the ways in which you can make simulation-based training include:
- Developing a game-based software development process: a simulation training can be developed for a software development project by taking into account previous project experiences. The game may have different outcomes such as:
– the project is not considered successful if the quality level is below a certain percentage
– the project is considered successful provided the budget does not exceed beyond the fixed amount and quality level exceeds a certain percentage.
Simulation training can also be effectively used to train IT teams to prepare them for real-world cyber-attacks that include malware, ransomware, man-in-middle or DDoS (Source: Simulations in Cybersecurity).
- Keeping the virtual environment close to reality: the right approach is to replicate the real-world scenario that occurs in the workplace without sacrificing simplicity. The closer the simulated environment is to their own roles, the more helpful it will be for learners.
- Developing the right kind of evaluation strategy: no training is considered complete and effective unless it measures the progress of learners. Create a method to evaluate competency by starting with an overview of the software and then ask learners to complete a set of tasks within the simulation.
Efforts should be made to track, analyze and report on training data to help trainers modify and continuously improve future programs.
It’s been shown that simulation training can be more effective than traditional training methods alone. To ensure a positive ROI on your investment in the tech, you need to remember that designing and developing an interactive simulated training program is not just about buying the latest software tools and technology. It requires the same methodical approach to training delivery, with simulations involved to add an extra layer of realism.