How to Get the Most Out of Learning Simulations

Designing Digitally


Learning Simulations

A learning simulation is a blend of game and instructional elements.  These simulations  fall into 2 categories: educational like  flight simulators and serious games like SimCity.

Most employees prefer learning simulations over case studies or lectures. However, if these simulations are not approached with proper consideration, it can yield negative results. Here are five best tips for obtaining the best results from learning  simulations.

Tip#1: Specific goals

The first step is to specify the desired goals. What do you wish to achieve with the simulation? Once that is finalized, it clears a path  forward. The relevancy and importance of simulation must also be explained  to the  employees. There are several elements of decision making required in a simulation. The correct decision needs to be prioritized,  that  is in line with the learning objectives. Not all  decision-making skills can be taught at one time. In fact, most learners have short attention spans. If training is delivered  in small, manageable chunks, they will remember better.

Tip#2: Complexity levels

The  complexity level needs to be increased gradually. New employees may not have hands-on experience and become demotivated and frustrated if the simulations are too complicated from the beginning. This does not mean that the simulation  should be made  too simple for the learners. That will bore the learners. The complexity level must be designed to not overly frustrate the learners, yet be difficult enough to challenge them to learn. The idea is to let the learners explore the environment and determine the correct responses.

Tip#3: Realistic

To hook  employees  on the learning simulation,  it must be realistic and relevant. Conducting  a task analysis to gauge the tasks the target audience completes, as part of their regular work, and how they make decisions, is one way to incorporate these tasks into the simulation. Collecting images and sounds of the workplace will also  make it look more realistic. The situations depicted in the simulation must  be relevant to the learners.

Tip#4: Motivate

Corporate learners are  busy performing their jobs. They have multiple tasks at hand, the majority of  the time, which takes priority over learning. So, they tend to get distracted and require a nudge to remain motivated in training tasks. Elements in simulation can prod them to move forward. For example, designing different levels within the simulation and requiring the learners to complete one level before they can move to the next is a way to increase learning. Encouraging the learners to move towards the end goal will ensure  they  benefit from the training. 

Tip#5: Help

When the employees struggle to move forward, provide ways to assist  them. This may be through constructive feedback or a link to an online video tutorial, or a tip sheet. Consider including a FAQ or ‘Help me’ section in the simulation.

At Designing Digitally, Inc., our design experts consult with our clients to understand the real need for simulation, and accordingly, create the solution. We have the ability to  develop  simulations from scratch or even work with your existing simulations to achieve your training goals.      

Get in touch with us now.