The world is changing real fast, complex information is all over the place and software technologies are developing at warp speed. All businesses are successfully implementing the use of software applications for their work to the fullest extent possible. They are willing to shell out a significant amount of money to implement software solutions, and an equal amount simultaneously on the required software training for their employees. To achieve this, companies are increasingly using eLearning.
Among various trainings, software training through eLearning is one of the most challenging jobs as everything has to be as realistic as possible. The end users of the software/ application should understand concepts by using the developed interface. To meet these challenges, many simulations (through tools) are extensively used. Simulations enable end users to perform an action in a virtual environment, which simulates the live environment. The use of these simulations makes it very easy to understand the actual applications and build the required end-user competency.
There are specific authoring tools for developing simulations for software training such as Articulate, Captivate, Camtasia, Viewlet and many more. Each of these tools has a specific purpose and serves a specific need.
A few tips to keep in mind for the development of simulations:
- It is important to keep the interactivity for the user as real as possible.
- Each step in the process should follow the watch-try-do approach.
- A rich graphic interface has to be used for the user to be engaged.
- High-end applications require detailed steps on how to open, modify and close the files (formats).
- The simulation should give the learner the opportunity to experiment and observe the corresponding result.
- The course should include demonstrations that are close to real scenarios.
- Simulations should be repeatable so that user can replay any step.
- Embedding simulations in role-plays is a strategy that can be used for scenario-based simulations.
- High-skilled professionals are required for developing simulations as the effort and money that goes for it are valuable.
- Practice sessions should be in-built into the course for the learner to gain confidence on using the application.
The ability to develop simulations is an advanced feature of eLearning development tools. Simulations must be presented in such a way that they can be integrated and interacted with at the level of each course module. The objectives of simulations are to help end-users avoid serious mistakes while handling the applications and thereby avoiding losses for the business. Apart from this, they provide a great learning experience and hence they are gaining increasing demand.