You have just implemented an ERP system in your organization to streamline processes. Your implementation partner has assured you things are in place and your employees too have been receptive and are all eager to try the new system. But wait a minute! Are you sure they have enough training on the new software to operate it flawlessly? Did the training course include simulations? Not sure? Let me tell you about the benefits of simulations in software training so that you can have an informed discussion with your training partner.
The traditional approach to software training focuses on explaining the working of the software. This is done via classroom training or by giving employees handouts to read. The result? Users get a lot of theoretical information but very little practical experience on how to use the software. As a result of this, there is a lot of confusion during the initial stages of software implementation Simulations recreate real life situations for learners. They facilitate learning by doing. Simulation training helps individuals learn by performing an action in order to achieve a certain outcome. If end-users have to be trained on a new software, watch-try-do simulations help them practice and gain hands-on experience. The user first watches how the software is used, then he tries doing it with guidance and finally he does it on his own. This helps him gain an understanding of how the software works and also the confidence on how to use it.
Simulations can make software application training more effective:
- Users are better prepared and confident
- Users are familiar with the application before starting to actually work on it
- The software is used the right way and yields better output
How simulations benefit software application training
Case Study: A large multinational FMCG relied heavily on its suppliers and vendors to procure raw materials for its products. Employees in the procurement department were finding it increasingly difficult to ensure their suppliers were paid on time in the current procurement process. The company also noticed an increase in the number of calls from vendors to their Helpdesk regarding their payments.
To resolve this issue, the company installed Ariba© – a SAP-like software for their ‘Procure to Pay’ process. The software was launched globally and expected to solve issues in paying vendors on time. But this did not improve the situation. The company realized the problem was a lack of training on the software application across their establishment spread across five continents. Due to a lack of knowledge in using the software, the global procurement team was delaying payments and even creating a dent in the company’s credibility.
They approached us to develop a software simulation course to train their employees across the globe on how to use the software. The course explained how the software should be used and also included a ‘Do’ section where learners could try out the software in a safe and secure environment.
We came up with a scenario/guided learning instructional strategy to create a simulated environment with characters and conversations. The course enabled the company train its employees worldwide.
The benefits of using simulations:
- 90% of the users found the course effective and useful in their day-to-day work
- Employees tried out the software and learned to handle usage-related issues through the training
- Increased efficiency of employees in the procurement department
- Improved internal procurement process
- Streamlined payment process; vendors received payment on time
- Company saved time and money by training employees across the globe simultaneously
Simulations for software application training benefit employees by training them to be more efficient thereby making the system more effective. It helps train employees in a shorter period of time and save costs. Simulation-based training also offers continuity as it allows geographically-dispersed users to train simultaneously on the same procedures and techniques. With technology helping create better simulations, their usage in instructional design will only increase.
What do you think? Do share your views.