Simulations are emerging as an excellent solution to train your human resources. You can provide them with a safe environment where they can learn and develop real-life skills without risks.
As per researchers, simulation-based learning boosts the motivation for students. It also helps in the development of collaborative skills that are highly useful in professional life.
In addition, simulations help your employees think critically and get better at problem-solving. As a result, they are also able to take far better decisions that improve your business performance.
Best of all, simulations support better cognition and use a constructive approach to learning. Therefore, learners develop an emotional attachment with the learning outcomes.
It goes without saying enterprises should give a good thought about using simulations for employee training. The investment can bring awesome returns and make your workforce the most productive.
But how do you use simulations in your online learning programs?
Here is a detailed guide to help you out.
What are Simulations?
We will share a few words on simulations before we move on to our guide.
Simulations are virtual replicas of real-life scenarios and situations. They resemble video games on a certain level and use technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).
Simulations go a long way to create an experience similar to real-life with high degrees of interactivity. As a result, they provide an immersive learning experience that motivates learners to give their best.
Simulations can be used in countless industries to provide effective learning and training.
How to Incorporate Simulations in Online Learning
Simulations may be incorporated into your existing training with the help of a tech expert. You may also develop your training or learning program from scratch focusing on simulations.
Here are the steps that you need to follow:
Determine the Skills You Want to Develop
Simulations can help your employees pick up a range of skills. From developing collaborative skills to learning how to handle machinery, simulations are applicable to most workflows.
So, you need to first decide which skills you want your workforce to learn. Make a list of those skills and move on to the next step.
Now comes the most exciting part of incorporating simulations in your learning program. You are going to think about what type of simulation you want to create for your employees.
It is like developing a video game where you create the storyline and what goes in your simulations. Therefore, put on your creative hat and start pondering.
The task may turn out to be challenging if you have never created a simulation before. In such cases, you need to work with a reliable partner who can guide you successfully in your journey.
Below are a few tips that will make your simulations more appealing:
Think of Daily Mishaps
Employees encounter a range of challenges at work every day. Simulations are best to help them learn how to tackle such disasters and develop vital skills along the way.
So, think of the mishaps that apply to your workplace and your employees. For example, industries like chemicals often face hazards like toxic spills.
You can create a simulation where your staff learns how to handle such disasters safely.
Develop a Storyline
Simulations shouldn’t just replicate real-life scenarios. They should encourage your learners to jump in and try to solve a problem as it’s fun.
So, you have to think of a storyline with which your employees can relate. Every character in your simulation should also have a backstory, like a customer.
Therefore, it helps if you create personas for your characters and provide a background. For example, your learners should know why a customer is unhappy when you are training them in conflict resolution.
Having a storyline makes learning engaging and leads to benefits like:
- Increased learning satisfaction
- Better achievements and progress
- Improved learning outcomes
Throw in a Bit of Fantasy
Everyone loves fantasy. Best of all, it can work wonders to make your simulations more interesting.
However, you don’t have to make the whole of your simulation a fantasy story. Instead, you can use a fantasy theme or characters to instill real-life skills in your employees.
For example, your staff may play the game as a fantasy character like a sorcerer. Then they embark on a journey to find a treasure hidden in a far-away land.
However, during the journey, they solve obstacles that are tied to real-world experiences. Additionally, they may use real-life behaviors and tools to gain experience for their professional roles.
We gave an example of a toxic spill in a chemical factory. You can incorporate fantasy into this scenario, and maybe, convert the toxic spill into hot lava.
Now, your employees have to clear the toxic spill by performing real-life processes like wearing safety gear.
The above steps will help you develop the concept and storyline for your simulation. Next, you have to work to turn your concept into a working simulation.
Decide How You Want to Implement Simulations
As we said earlier, you have two choices when you want to use simulations in online learning:
- Incorporate simulations in your existing training
- Build a training program from scratch integrating simulations
The first option needs you to assess your training program to find opportunities where you can integrate simulations. The task can be complex and you may experience difficulty if you lack the experience.
So, consult an expert who can provide guidance.
The second option can be a good choice if you don’t have a full-fledged training program. You can then develop your training by incorporating simulations in a more seamless manner.
Decide which way you want to go and progress to the next step.
Create Your Simulation
Enterprises will now need to develop their simulations just like developing a video game. As a result, you will need a team of experts from different fields like animation, AR & VR, software development, and more.
Most organizations won’t generally have a team of professionals to develop a simulation. As a result, they may need to work with a reliable partner who takes charge of the process.
However, be sure to choose someone from the corporate learning realm for achieving optimum outcomes.
In addition, assess the expertise of your partner before you sign the deal. It is necessary to review available services and pick the best one for your needs.
Moreover, determine the level of interactivity you want in your simulations. Highly interactive experiences are more complex and need more time and investment.
So, join hands with the right partner for maximum returns.
Build Collaborative Elements to Connect Your Employees
Simulations can train individual employees on vital concepts. They have the freedom to act as they wish and take decisions without relying on others.
However, individual training is not the only forte of simulations. You can also create them to foster collaboration and improve communication between teams.
However, you have to develop your simulations by integrating opportunities for collaboration. Therefore, your tech partner will have to be involved to program those interactions.
Additionally, team-based simulations will need careful planning. You will have to take into account several factors such as:
- The resources you will need to provide such opportunities
- Mapping out how your employees will interact in a virtual environment
- How their choices impact the learning outcomes
If done right, such an approach can lead to optimum collaboration and communication between group members. That may be highly desired as a collaborative work environment improves individual and group performance.
A study by Stanford backs up the claim. It found that even the perception of working as a team improved performance.
Additionally, it improves engagement, boosts success rates, and reduces fatigue. So, make your simulations collaborative in your best interests.
Include Assessments and Evaluations
Simulations provide a direct way to evaluate the performance of your employees. You can track their performance in the simulation to understand if they have been able to achieve the learning outcome.
However, you may build more ways of assessment in your simulations. For example, you can include a quiz that your learners answer using a computer in the virtual world.
You may come up with several such opportunities to integrate assessment techniques in your simulation. Additionally, your tech partner can guide and provide you with more insights to improve your evaluation approaches.
Provide Adequate Feedback
Your learners can get an idea of how they performed based on the consequences in the simulation. Let’s say an employee forgets to put on his virtual gloves while cleaning a toxic spill.
As a result, they burn their hands in the simulation and know they didn’t take the right step.
However, there is another type of feedback you can provide on how they performed after the simulation ends. It can give them important insights on areas of improvement and avoid any mistakes in real life.
For example, let’s say your sales reps succeeded in closing a deal with a customer. However, a few things they said or the way they talked might be improved.
In such cases, providing feedback after the simulation ends can improve performance further.
Your instructor can provide custom feedback to every learner individually. It is also possible to automate the process right from your learning management system (LMS).
Additionally, you should provide tips and solutions to resolve the mistakes they made.
Utilize Data from Your LMS to Refine Your Simulations
Modern LMS solutions come prepared with advanced analytics. It can help you keep an eye on all the nuances of how your employees perform.
Additionally, you can also track the development of their strengths, weaknesses, and skills. Therefore, you can gain complete visibility of their performance and areas of improvement.
Moreover, you can find out about the effectiveness of your simulation training. You will have crucial clues to know if your program is working or not.
Let’s say 30% of your learners are not able to achieve your learning objectives. In that case, you should take a hard look at your simulations and use your data to refine your training.
In addition, your LMS data will help you identify trends and patterns. You can then dive deep into the why of such trends and get more information to enhance your learning outcomes.
Let Your Employees Know What to Expect
Your employees should have clear expectations about your simulations. They should know what they are going to learn and how to access the training.
In addition, you should express everything in clear terms, such as:
- The devices and hardware your learners will use
- The specifications and standards for such devices (for example, operation systems and versions)
- Technologies they are going to use
- Apps, software, and platforms they need to sign up to
- Schedule or timing of training
- Any assessments they need to undertake
- Other requirements
Divide Your Training into Small Chunks
Employees have to perform their daily responsibilities along with undertaking training. As a result, they may find it difficult to juggle between work and learning.
Needless to say, that can take a toll on their productivity and business performance. Therefore, you cannot have your workforce participate in simulations for hours a day.
A better approach is to break your learning into small bites that your employees can easily digest. The process helps them stay productive and learn better with less stress.
Statistics also show the advantages of implementing microlearning. It enhances focus and improves retention rates by up to 80% in the long run.
You can sort your simulation into levels just like video games. Additionally, provide options for your employees to save their progress for more convenience.
Simulations are really a great way to train your employees in real-life skills. You can apply it to almost all industries to facilitate learning and improve engagement. Create a sound plan and form a partnership with the best tech leaders to generate the maximum ROI. Additionally, consider the nuances of the process, such as the learning styles of your workforce for personalized and effective training. To know more about more solutions from Hurix Digital, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website www.hurix.com.