When To Include Online Training Simulations: 6 Instances To Consider

When To Include Online Training Simulations: 6 Instances To Consider
Summary: You want to give your corporate learners real world experience, minus the real world repercussions. But how can you help them learn from their mistakes and perfect their problem-solving approach in a safe and supportive environment? More importantly, are simulations REALLY the right option for online training? In this article, I’ll highlight the many ways that you can use online training simulations to your corporate learners’ advantage.

6 Instances To Include Online Training Simulations

There are myriad of articles, books, videos, and other resources which tout the benefits of online training simulations. Not only do they boost productivity and improve task proficiency, but they also give corporate learners the opportunity to immerse themselves in real world environments and situations. However, developing an effective online training simulation does require time, resources, and a top notch eLearning authoring tool, or several, in some cases. So, is it really worth the investment? Here are some instances when you should seriously consider including simulations in your next online training course.

  1. Employees must master new work tasks.
    Traditionally, learning a new task required face-to-face demos, manuals, and on-the-job observations to assess an employee's proficiency. However, online training simulations are taking all of those time-consuming and costly online training activities out of the picture. With online training simulations, employees have the power to master every step of a task, build associated skills, and test their progress as they go along. They immediately see how their actions, behaviors, and choices lead to real world consequences. For example, if they don't have the information they need to perform one of the steps, they can figure it out now, instead of waiting until they get into the workplace. Facilitators can also closely monitor employees while they are participating in the online training simulation, thanks to reporting and analytics tools. Thus, they are able to offer them additional support and ensure that they meet company-wide standards.
  2. An organization is adopting new technologies.
    Bringing new technology into the fold is usually a lengthy and stressful process. Adding a new piece of equipment to the manufacturing floor or an updated POS system to streamline the sales process typically requires extensive online training, IT support, and plenty of trial and error. Online training simulations give you the ability to train your staff on new tools and technology in a fraction of the time. They have the opportunity to explore every feature and function of the system before having to use it on-the-job. For instance, if employees must familiarize themselves with a new diagnostic tool they can test it out in a wide range of situations and learn how to examine the readings. They can also assess its limitations, level of accuracy, and applications in a safe and risk-free environment.
  3. Learners need to learn a new skill NOW.
    There are times when employees need to learn a skill yesterday. Online training simulations are ideal for these situations because they drastically reduce training seat time and throw employees into the "think of things". Instead of just reading about a skill set or perusing a real world example, they have the ability to make mistakes and gain valuable experience in order to develop the skill on their own. For example, employees who need to build their communication skills to increase their sales figures can interact with a variety of customers. They have the chance to gauge facial expressions, body language, and other non-verbal nuances that are an important part of the job. This allows them to become more productive and profitable when they are on the sales floor.
  4. It's impossible to recreate the challenge.
    Not every situation can be reenacted in real life. Certain safety protocols, such as dealing with dangerous chemicals or handling medial biohazards are too dangerous to mimic in face-to-face online training. However, online training simulations allow employees to deal with risky challenges and obstacles that they might encounter on the job. They have the power to learn the right and wrong way of handling the situation without putting themselves in a harm. On the other hand, they are still being exposed to some degree of pressure and risk, even if it's only fictional. So, you can test their ability to handle stress and see how they will perform when there is actually clear and present danger. All of this, dramatically reduces on-the-job accidents and injuries.
  5. The process is complex or involved.
    Certain tasks or processes are more complicated than others. A perfect example of this is a first aid treatment versus a surgical procedure. Most medical professionals would be able to learn the first aid process by just viewing a demo or reading a tutorial. A more invasive surgical procedure might call for an online training simulation in order to explore various elements of the process. This is due to the fact that there are a myriad of skills, knowledge, and sub-tasks that must be performed. It's not simple and straightforward, which means that medical staff must have the opportunity to examine every possible outcome. If something goes wrong in the operating room they will be ready, because the online training simulation has prepared them for every eventuality.
  6. Corporate learners must immerse themselves in a real world environment.
    One of the most significant advantages of using online training simulations in your corporate eLearning program is that it mimics real world settings. Corporate learners are able to immerse themselves in situations, environments, and challenges that they will encounter on a regular basis. They can interact with workplace equipment, communicate with customers, and resolve conflicts that hinder productivity before they step foot into the office. Online training simulations also offer employees a diverse range of outcomes and choice paths, just like they would find in the real world.

Are online training simulations a perfect fit for your next corporate eLearning project? If your employees need to build their skills, learn a new task, or delve head-first into a real world challenge, then online training simulations are probably a great addition to your online training strategy.

Branching scenarios in another way to create effective activities for online training. Read the article The Top 7 Benefits Of Using Branching Scenarios In eLearning to learn about the top advantages of using branching scenarios in eLearning course design.