Similarly to the professions mentioned above, it is also proving to be an effective learning technique in different fields in education, providing hands-on experience to students to show how a theory or practice applies to real-life situations.
However, simulation-based learning of today doesn’t only involve simulations. It is now extensively associated with technology which has enabled tremendous innovations in eLearning. Since it has significantly boosted learning, simulation-based eLearning makes for great assets for companies as well as for educational institutions.
Let’s examine the role of simulation-based learning in both contexts:
Simulation-based Training for Businesses
Employees are expected to be as productive as possible and be able to address challenging situations. To deliver this value, they need proper training.
However, traditional employee training sessions consume a lot of time and resources. Even though it’s critical for improving the productivity and performance of employees, managers often have little time to spare for training. Since managers and employees need to step away from core business tasks, conference rooms are booked, a day or more is spent attending the training program, production and other processes may be significantly hampered. And in the end, learners can retain only 50% of the information delivered.
Owing to these drawbacks, traditional training programs are being replaced with simulation-based learning models. They make use of digital interfaces rather than physical settings, allowing employees to take the training when it’s convenient and precluding the need for a trainer’s presence. Learners are placed in a live virtual environment in which scenarios are recreated to resemble actual work-related challenges. If they don’t make the best decision, they are normally redirected to the same situation until they develop their expertise.
In this way, learners keep on identifying the best solutions to practical issues and later apply them to address actual issues that arise during work. It not only cuts down the costs of preparing formal learning environments but also puts continuous learning at employees’ fingertips.
Benefits of Simulation-Based Training
Today, more and more companies are investing in eLearning simulations to design employee training programs. Why is that so?
The following are some detailed benefits of simulation-based training:
Increased Employee Confidence
No matter how comprehensive a training program is, employees hardly develop any skills by attending theoretical, informational sessions. Even if they remember a concept and how it has to be applied, they certainly lack the confidence to practice it when faced with the situation. The more you practice, the better you get, and the better you get, the more you boost your self-confidence.
Thus, virtual reality training gives employees practical skills and introduces them to the problems that they will be asked to solve, which in turn increases their competence in making independent decisions.
With simulation-based learning, employee training is no longer a one-time phenomenon. It serves as a valuable tool for continuous learning as employees can take the training multiple times whenever they feel the need. Simulation-based training typically comprises assessments and proficiency tests that present results to management. This spurs competition among employees who strive to develop skills and competencies.
Simulation-based training is among the most personalized training techniques that aim to boost employee learning. It offers individualized learning experiences, providing different types of employee training.
For instance, a customer service agent with remarkable communication abilities but relatively weak listening skills can be directed to take simulation-based training that focuses on enhancing those skills. The program would nurture the CS agent by offering real-life scenarios that can be used to practice active listening. The program may use real, past customer service calls that have been successfully addressed so that the learner can practice and compare his performance with previous answers.
One the other hand, a CS agent with strong listening but poor communication abilities can take a different program specifically designed to improve those skills. This type of personalization is an effective way of improving employee productivity.
You learn through your mistakes, but in actual work settings or even traditional simulations, employees don’t have much room to get things wrong. Mistakes would either lead to mishaps or difficulty in reassembling the case for subsequent tries. As a result, employees don’t practice freely, leading to lesser learning and skill development.
eLearning simulations provide a safe environment by giving unlimited leverage to employees. Learners are free to make mistakes and keep on practicing without any real consequences or fuss to the business or environment. Besides, they are given regular feedback regarding their progress.
eLearning simulations are significantly cheaper than traditional training or offline simulations. This is made possible through the unmatched power of eLearning that does not require a specific location or an onsite trainer. Virtual training programs mean that companies no longer have to incur venue costs or travel and accommodation expenses for employees. Besides saving funds, a significant amount of time is saved that would’ve been wasted in traveling.
Top Simulation-Based Training Solutions
There are countless simulation-based training solutions out there. Here are some highly effective products that can help you make the best out of eLearning simulations:
InfoPro Learning is one of the leading online learning solutions designed to deliver induction and onboarding training to newly hired employees. Ideal for large organizations, the solution has been offering cutting edge simulation-based learning and performance improvement eLearning strategies for 20 years. It mainly focuses on strengthening the training capacity of all types of organizations to ensure optimum employee productivity. To name a few, aviation, manufacturing, and medicine are areas most relevant to the product.
To be more specific, InfoPro Learning is known to present lifelike and real-world environments to enhance workforce competencies and confidence levels in professions in which stakes are high. Besides regular simulations, it offers simulated conditions for emergency and remote field workers.
Day One Technologies
Day one simulation training is a highly customizable eLearning solution that offers programs that meet the current and future training needs of organizations. Its flexible simulation-based programs are meant to match the functionality and look of clients’ work environment so that employees acquire skills in an environment they are comfortable with.
What’s unique about the solution is that it evolves and adapts to any changes in clients’ processes and systems. This means that companies won’t have to incur additional costs for content development.
Through its trademarked ‘Dynamic Data’ and easy-to-navigate systems, the solution offers trainees compatible and outstandingly real scenarios to work with. Its most popular simulation training programs include those for retail banks, inductions, customer complaints using role-play, and telephony training.
Simulation-Based Learning in the Educational Industry
In the context of education, simulation-based learning techniques are virtual instructional scenarios where the student is placed in a ‘world’ defined by software. The scenarios represent reality, and the parameters of this ‘world’ may be controlled by the software itself or the teacher.
Simulation-based learning serves as an experiential learning program for students. It is based on the student-centered and constructivist approaches in education. Online education programs incorporate different forms of simulations such as a game, role-playing, and other types of interactive activities.
To help students gain maximum knowledge, these programs are non-linear in nature and control ambiguities. What determines the success of a simulation-based learning program is the commitment and enthusiasm of the participants throughout the program.
While simulation-based learning is increasingly being adopted by educational institutions, it is most commonly used in medical teaching and learning.
Simulation-Based Learning in Medical Education
With advancements in research, medical education has undergone dramatic changes around the world. The primary reason for stimulating these changes is the safety of patients. According to research conducted by the Institute of Medicine in 1999, medical errors injure approximately 3% of patients and result in 44,000 to 980,000 deaths in the US every year.
To address this problem, there have been significant innovations in medical curricula that not only focus on knowledge but also the development of proficiency in various clinical skills. Simulation-based learning is one of the most important developments in medical education. It utilizes simulative aides to replicate clinical scenarios. Using simulative tools that serve as dummy patients, students can commit mistakes and learn from them without distressing a real patient.
While practice in simulation-based scenarios can be done individually, it is mostly conducted in teams in environments that most closely resemble real medical units. The practice is often videotaped so that experts can offer immediate feedback to participants in debriefing sessions.
Within simulation-based medical education, an important tool – a simulator – is used. A simulator can be defined as a device that resembles a real-life entity such as a patient that can be used by participants of simulation-based medical education.
Virtual Reality in Simulators
Simulators often make use of virtual reality with varying levels of sophistication and realism. When using instruments in a simulated environment, virtual reality is frequently used alongside haptic (touch) feedback to produce a feeling of resistance in laparoscopic and endoscopic proficiency training. In a realistic, dynamic, and complex setting, virtual reality simulations are a great solution to bridge the gap between theory and practice.
Types of simulators
There are various types of simulators based on their resemblance to reality, including low-fidelity, medium-fidelity, and high-fidelity simulators.
These simulators are typically static and are mostly used to teach basic technical skills to beginners. They often lack situational context. Commonly used examples include insertion arm and Resusci Anne.
These are relatively more realistic compared to low-fidelity simulators, featuring pulse, heartbeat and breathing sounds. However, they still lack chest or eye movements or sounds from speech. They are used for a deeper understanding of complex medical functions. A popular example is the Harvey cardiology simulator.
High-fidelity simulators make use of computers that enable manikins to behave like real human beings. They consist of a part of a whole-body manikin to produce physical signs and feed physiological signs to monitors. Resembling real humans, these simulators can talk, blink, breathe, and respond to medical interventions. The Noelle obstetric simulator and the METI Human Patient simulator are examples of the most advanced high-fidelity simulators.
As simulation-based learning takes over professional training and education, businesses and educational institutions can ensure effective learning to attain the best practices in their respective situations. Safety in the workplace, safety during surgeries, bomb diffusion, mine work, aviation expertise, drone management, and other proficiencies can all be managed through 3D virtual simulations of real environments. Hence, simulation-based learning is a tremendous resource to master skills related to any profession.