Boom! The big furnace just blasted off as I had chosen a wrong chemical combination to feed in the furnace. The display board showed that my small error in choosing the wrong chemical combinations will cost the company an expense of a whopping 5 million.

Relief! As this was a workplace training simulation of a blast furnace of a manufacturing company, I pressed the retry button and the e-learning module got reset to start and I could just take it easy and  I shall try not to repeat the same mistake while retaking the module.

With the technological advancements in the domain of e-learning, the above mentioned new training technique of using simulations is seeing a larger acceptance among the various organizations.

What is a simulation?

Simulation in simple words is the imitation of a situation or process.

According to learning researchers, 70% of what employees learn is from experience, 20% is from their social interactions, and 10% is from traditional learning sources.

With the research showing that 70 percent of learning happens from experience, it means that on the job training has greater importance in training the employees successfully. But since the on the job training demands time, effort, and the repeated training process to educate the employees, one of the best solutions is to use the benefits of simulations for various corporate training requirements.

In this blog, let us find out the compelling reasons to use simulations in e-learning.

1. Improves retention of knowledge

The main objective of every training module is to ensure that the learners are able to retain and recollect the training topics.
As the learners are more actively and emotionally engaged with what they are learning through simulation, they are more likely to remember it and apply the learned skills when introduced to the real practical working environment. The workers will be already familiar with the tools, working environment etc as he has already taken the training in the simulated environment. This saves the time and cost of any organisation.

This is backed by a research finding which says that.

Jennifer Vogel’s meta-analysis showed that higher cognitive gains were observed in subjects using interactive simulations or games as opposed to those using traditional teaching methods.

2.Provide a safe environment to experiment and practice without serious consequences

Simulations help the learners to learn without the fear of making the mistakes. With simulations, the developers build a virtual environment which usually mirrors the real working environment. The learner can enjoy the learning process within the virtual environment created. It gives the learners the required confidence to learn freely and there are no serious consequences even when the learner makes any mistakes.

3. Motivates the employees to be active learners and not just passive participation

In simulations, the learners are in the driving seat and enjoy the control of the learning process. Unlike the traditional modes of learning where the learners require to be more of passive listeners, here the simulations demand the learners be more active learners. The learning happens on the virtual simulation and extensively depends on the user actions of the learners.
This ensures that the learners are learning with the practical experience which makes the learning process effective.

4. Simulations offers Immediate Feedback

Simulations help to guide the learners with immediate feedback. The immediate feedback allows the learners to understand their mistakes and take corrective actions. Feedback helps the learners to self-evaluate their strengths and weakness and the opportunity to improve upon it.

5. Encourage learners to take more responsibility for their learning

As discussed earlier on the blog, simulation gives the learners more control on the learning process hence makes them feel the ownership of the learning process.
From being a passive listener, the learner becomes an active learner as the learning process progresses through the exclusive user actions.

6. Simulations help the learners to experiment with the learning process

For example, In a flight simulation, the learner usually gets the simulated environment of operating the flight, A view of the pilot cockpit where the learners can get to experience with the different controls and the ways of operating the flights.

As a learner, he can use the flight simulator even to test and experiment the options
For example he can test the flight in high speed or even take the flight on different varying altitudes. The learner can use the simulation to fly the plane in different weather conditions etc. Exploring and experimenting these options helps the learners to understand the consequences on real time itself which greatly benefits the learners.

While the list is not exhaustive, these are the six prime reasons to use simulations in e-learning. With the reducing cost involved in developing elearning simulations, I am sure that more organisations will definitely be interested to explore the use of simulations in elearning in the immediate future.

I would definitely like to hear your thoughts too. Feel free to comment in the option below.