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What Makes Simulations the Perfect Software Training Tool

C hris is the software training manager of a multinational pharmaceutical company. Recently, his company implemented a new drug-modeling software application, and Chris was entrusted with the responsibility of imparting employee training on the computer-based tool.

Jamie is the sales training manager of a large insurance services provider. A few weeks ago, his organization began implementing the Dynamics CRM system. Jamie’s boss asked him to ensure that sales staff of the company received the best training on the Microsoft product. 

Philip is the L&D manager of a food processing giant that has recently migrated to SAP from a custom-built enterprise software application. Philip was put in charge of training the organization’s staff on the ERP software.

Chris, Jamie, and Philip are not alone. Many managers within the L&D community are faced with the challenge of equipping their learners with the knowledge and skills required to use software applications efficiently. How can organizations deliver thorough training on software applications? Watch-Try-Do simulations are the ideal tool for imparting effective training on software applications.

What is a Watch-Try-Do simulation?

Watch-Try-Do simulations are a very useful tool for providing learners with thorough and effective training on the use of software products. The Watch-Try-Do approach is an instructional strategy that facilitates holistic learning. In this approach, the learner is first shown the steps of the procedure that he/she needs to be able to perform on the software application. For example, an accounting clerk responsible for creating payment receipts using Oracle E-Business Suite might be shown a video that explains the procedure involved in generating payment receipts using the ERP system. This is known as the Watch phase of the simulation.

Then comes the Try phase, in which the learner is required to execute the steps that he/she has just watched. The learner is guided via pop-ups which contain hints and provide additional information on each step in the procedure. Continuing with the example of the creation of invoices, the learner is given tips on how to perform each step of the procedure, from selecting the appropriate flexfield to confirming the data entered.

Finally, in the Do phase, the accounting clerk is ready to utilize the knowledge that he or she has gained. In this step, the learner is required to recall the steps of the procedure and to execute them independently. In our example, the learner would be asked to create a payment receipt without any prompting or additional assistance.

How do Watch-Try-Do simulations help impart effective training on software applications?

Learners are exposed to real-life work environments

Watch-Try-Do training simulations not only allow employees to enhance their competency in the use of a given software application, but also equip them to make use of the software in real-life work situations. Simulations allow learners to discover the optimal way of completing their assigned tasks. This helps prevent mistakes in the workplace which can prove costly and time consuming to correct.

One of our clients in the automobile sector uses Watch-Try-Do simulations of its SAP Supply Chain Management (SCM) software application to train its personnel on the application and to help them to figure out ways to improve user efficiency. This initiative has been a great success, with employees within the company suggesting multiple innovations that have gone a long way in reducing the time taken for the performance of various supply chain activities.

Training can be delivered in a risk-free environment

A major advantage of using Watch-Try-Do simulations to impart software training is the ability to provide a risk-free environment for the learning process. A simulation-based training program enables your staff members to acquire knowledge and skills within a safe environment. This allows learners to play around with the system without the fear of the repercussions of making mistakes. One mistake in a “real” enterprise software system costing millions of dollars could be fatal; one mistake in a simulation-based software training program is an opportunity for learning.

Learner knowledge and skills can be evaluated effectively 

You can use simulations to evaluate the knowledge and skills of your learners by determining whether your learners are able to do what they are expected after completing the software training program. For example, the objective of the software training program is to enable your learners to be able to create a Purchase Order (PO), using SAP, within 5 minutes. Learners are asked to perform the steps involved in the procedure to generate the PO in a simulated environment, which can be used to determine whether they will be able to execute the task within the specified time in the live system.

Here are a couple of best practices for the development of thorough and high-quality Watch-Try-Do software training simulations:

  1. Keep your software training simulations. Short simulations have the benefit of holding learners’ attention, increasing engagement and retention of information.
  2. Provide immediate feedback. Making sure that the learner is aware as to why they are correct or incorrect is proven to provide effective reinforcement of learning.

Proper training on software tools plays a key role in improving organizational efficiency. Unleash the power of Watch-Try-Do simulations to impart the best training on your software applications.

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