Simulations make learning experiential as the learner is actively engaged in the process. These instructional tools help create “real-life situations” and provide learners with a platform to learn, practice and master the tasks involved in their jobs and experiment with different options.
But, what goes into the making of an effective simulation? How can you make sure that the simulations in your online course enhance its instructional value? Well, let me share a few tips that go a long way in the development of simulations that meet your learning needs efficiently.
See that simulations are outcome based
A good simulation equips your people with the right job skills and brings about a change in their thinking that leads to tangible results. For instance, a well-designed simulation intended to train people on SAP helps them use the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software effectively. When learners are comfortable using the software, they can focus better towards achieving higher productivity using SAP.
Explain each step clearly
Every step of the simulation needs to be explained clearly. It is a good idea to use callouts for this purpose. You need to make sure that your learners can go through each step of the simulation and perform the action. For example, a simulation for training learners on creating a macro in MS-Excel needs to provide clarity on each step of the procedure and allow them to use these steps to perform the intended task – creating a macro.
Keep text to minimum
You need to remember that the learner has to focus his attention on the steps of the simulation and too much text can increase the cognitive load. Staying with the example of MS-Excel, the learner needs to watch the steps of creating a macro to effectively reproduce them and a screen cluttered with text can create problems for him as he cannot efficiently concentrate on the steps.
Provide an introduction
An introduction to learners on the Watch, Try and Do will be very helpful. This is because it helps them become aware of the purpose of the simulation and understand the significance of the process they would learn. Coming back to the example of SAP, when you provide an introduction to your accounting staff about a simulation designed to train them on performing revaluation of assets and liabilities, they will be able to relate the simulation to their jobs better and this helps them learn better.
Use characters to make simulations effective
Ben Franklin once remarked, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” We all learn better by doing. The same is applied in eLearning; the try mode in simulations best describe learning by doing. Adding characters to a simulation is a unique way to enhance its effectiveness. For example, you can add a character that pop up every time your learner is stuck or makes a mistake while trying out the simulation. The use of characters personalizes the learning process. Such a scenario can be seen below:
It is now simple to incorporate simulations in online courses, thanks to the advent of rapid authoring tools such as Articulate Storyline. This step-by-step guide for creating simulations using authoring tools provides details of the systematic process involved in their creation. You may also like to learn more about the 7 steps to create, watch and try simulations using Articulate Storyline and the best practices in developing software simulations using Articulate Storyline.
Thus, you can leverage the power of simulations in your online course to impart highly effective training to your staff. Hope you find this blog useful.