Simulation-Based Learning: Building Skill And Practice Using eLearning

Simulation-Based Learning: Building Skill And Practice Using eLearning
Olena Yakobchuk/
Summary: Practice is the key; it separates the novice from the expert. Most eLearning today focuses on 'knowledge' rather than practice. Case Method 2.0 is an approach for designing eLearning specifically to enable practice of key skills.

The Problem With On The Job Training And Simulation-Based Learning

In most organizations, the level of skill and expertise of the workforce can directly be correlated to their performance, efficiency, and profitability. Often, a gap exists in the desired level of practice and the current level of competence of the workforce.

Employee turnover, expansion, diversification, new product launch, process improvement, etc. are just some of the many circumstances that can result in a sub-optimally trained or practiced workforce performing critical or frontline roles for an organization.

Usually, on the job training (OJT) is the default employee practice and enablement method. OJT is based on the common wisdom that ‘people learn best by doing’.

However, OJT can and does frequently end up being a rushed process conducted by a colleague or superior (unskilled at training). During the OJT there are the associated risks of lowered productivity, disturbance in normal workflow, mistakes, and accidents.

Mobile Simulated Practice With Case Method 2.0

Evaluation of the effectiveness of simulated learning has been overwhelmingly positive and favorable when it comes to improving professional competence. (Moule et al, 2008; McCaughey and Traynor, 2010; Hope et al, 2011). The improvements in smartphone processing power, and 3D and Virtual Reality game technology promises to make simulations mobile, convenient, engaging, and affordable.

Case Method 2.0 is an approach developed by Playware Studios by combining the Case Method teaching approach with the affordances of mobile learning. It consists of simulated role-play that is based on a decision forcing narrative of a complex and historical case sourced within the organization or specifically for it.

The approach has been successfully used for customers in healthcare, corporate training, civil defense, and hospitality domains. Research has shown the approach to improve post-test knowledge, confidence, and voluntary staff engagement.

7 Ways To Use Case Method 2.0

Here are the highlights of the CM 2.0 approach:

Case Method 2.0

Credit: Playware Studios

1. Role Play

The effectiveness of the Case Method 2.0 approach is hinged on authentic role-play. The learner plays the role of a practitioner in a plausible scenario that involves the skillful execution of realistic tasks and meaningful decision-making towards the accomplishment of practicable objectives by overcoming rational challenges.

2. Decision Forcing

Simulating decision making in real life, the narrative in a CM2 simulation is presented to the learner in a decision forcing manner. This allows learners to engage with the challenges presented in the simulation prospectively with imperfect or undistilled information.

3. Complex Case

CM2 cases are complex and are designed to require multiple attempts by the learners to solve or complete. This stimulates them to be more engaged with the case and precipitates better retention and recall. It also affects a greater sense of dignity to the simulated practice.

4. Historical Solution

The cases selected for the CM2 treatment are invariably sourced from within the organization. This lends a greater sense of gravitas and believability to the events portrayed in the simulation. It also gives a 'real' context to the outcome of the simulation.

Mobile Simulation

Credit: Playware Studios

5. Short Form

CM2 simulations are ideally short and highly contextualized. Learners don’t need to take very long to figure out (with minimum scaffolding) what they need to do. This form factor also enables multiple attempts and facilitates learning on the move.

6. Self-Directed

Aside from the authenticity of the context, learners are given very limited scaffolding. They have an overall goal (which may change or develop during the simulation) and are needed to figure out the specific challenges or limitations of the situations they are faced with. Learners work out their own pace and approach to accomplish goals within the given constraints. They also have the freedom to choose how many times and when they want to attempt the simulation.

7. Asynchronous

Unlike other, more elaborate, simulations CM2 cases are best designed as asynchronous learning tasks. Other roles or characters (aside from the learner role) in the scenario are portrayed by simulation generated, scripted, or artificially intelligent virtual constructs. In cases where the simulation is required to be multi-user, the scenario can be designed as a simultaneous critical-turn based progression.

Mobile CM 2.0 Simulation

Credit: Playware Studios

Tools For Development Of Case Method 2.0 Content

CM2.0 simulations can be designed using COTS game engines such as Unity, Lumberyard, or Unreal, or using Playware’s proprietary platform. The critical affordances of the toolset selected are mobile OS compatibility, ease of use and support for integration with other organizational learning and HR platforms.

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