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Simulations provide a different kind of user experience to a learner as compared to traditional elearning. It allows the learner to make mistakes and learn from them, practice a skill repeatedly until they master it, and improve themselves. It is no wonder organizations are embracing them.
Business simulations are a great training format. But, creating one that is really effective is not that easy. Here are six secrets behind how to develop successful simulations.
Goal setting is one of the most important stages of creating business simulations. They are not just for providing entertainment. The main aim of these simulations is to encourage your learners to achieve the learning outcome they desire. So, decide what you want the learners to learn. Do you want them to learn a new skill? Do you want them to improve on an existing skill? Do you want them to learn about certain guidelines? Once you have figured out what the organization’s learning objectives are, the rest of the plan will fall into place. The entire design of the learning simulation will depend on what you wish to achieve in the end.
If you want your business simulation to be successful, then you must create characters that your learners can relate to. For that, you need to step into the shoes of the target audience to learn about them as much as possible. You need to be aware of how a day is in their regular work role - what they need, the obstacles they face to get their work done, the behaviors they need to improve, and so on. If you create the characters based on this information, the learners are sure to have an emotional connection. That way they will remain invested in the course. You must also use relevant backgrounds that remind the learners about their regular work settings.
Include interactivities in the simulation for an immersive experience for your learners. You will be amazed to see how much they can boost engagement levels. Insert videos, branching scenarios, games, and so on to keep your audience hooked. Try using click-and-reveal or drag-and-drop activities. The more you make your learners do things the more they remain invested in the course. Interactions provide the push factor that motivates the user to take the first step.
If you make your business simulations easy then they may not have the impact you want it to have. Learners should be presented with a certain degree of stress to test how they perform under difficulties. In the real-world, there are hardly any situation that is risk-free. If you are preparing your workforce to deal with real-life scenarios, then you must include stress and conflict. If they can overcome the conflicts and obstacles in the simulation, it provides a huge boost to their confidence level. When they face similar situations in their real work environment, they mimic the same behavior in their real life.
Business simulations are immersive and interactive in itself. But, you can up the ante by including social interaction components. Include peer-based activities with the help of discussion forums, chat rooms, social media sites, etc. This adds a touch of a human element. You may also consider peppering in some healthy peer competition. This is a great way to keep your learners hooked.
No learning is complete without assessments. Unless your learners track their performance there is no way to gauge how much they understood the content, and business simulations are no different. There are several ways in which you can test the learners. For example, ask them to finish a task with the help of a branching scenario. Only if they take the right decisions, they will be able to complete the scenario. Yet another way is to include a quiz after each topic. You may want to fix the pass percentage based on your requirement. If you see that many learners find it difficult to complete the assessment then you may want to reassess the simulation design. At times the assessment questions may need a relook.
At Designing Digitally, Inc. our team of instructional designers have been creating simulated learning experiences for over a decade. These simulated learning experiences range from a complete 2D simulated software experience to a 3D immersive experience, each one being designed with a learner-centric approach to ensure success.
Get in touch with our experts to learn how simulated learning could improve your training strategy.