Is Training Keeping Up with How the World is Changing?


Despite major transformations in the technological landscape of the world we live and learn in, formal teaching and training in general has been very slow to adopt effective ways of enabling learning.

In the early 2000’s businesses rushed to adopt online learning. They believed that eLearning was the magic bullet that would save time and money, while transforming the workforce. But 15+ years later, many companies find that learners are still just as disengaged with their training as before.

According to extensive research and meta-analyses conducted by Prof Filip Dochy, Professor of Psychology and Educational Sciences at KU Leuven university in Brussels, the methodology used in most workplace learning is the same as the outdated model used in most schools. It has extremely low impact rates (5-15%).

It’s top-down, content-heavy and doesn’t engage the learners who are often obligated to sit through it, whether it is delivered online or in a classroom.

To change this, trainers need to be flexible, integrate new technology, innovative techniques and embrace the advantages that they bring.

How do we create training that increases learner engagement and builds a more competent and productive workforce?

There isn’t a single strategy to achieve this. According to research, a multi-faceted approach is required, which includes the elements or strategies that research shows result in effective learning.

  1. Modern learners want mobile learning that can be consumed in micro-learning modules. But not all genres of learning suit this model.
  2. Modern learners prefer to share learning experiences, so training needs to include a social or collaborative element. It must have a human touch.
  3. Learning must stimulate positive emotions in order to promote retention and learner engagement, so strategies like humor, rewards, acknowledgment and gamification must be included.
  4. Learning must be authentic so appropriate stories and relevant scenarios must be included.
  5. Learning must present real-life challenges and problem-solving opportunities.
  6. Learners must be able to learn from mistakes and feedback in a process known as productive failure.
  7. Learners need to learn by doing.

Does this mean that you need to ditch existing training and start over?

Absolutely not. Much of the content that your traditional training includes is likely to still be relevant to your learners, but you can tweak and adjust how that content is delivered and how the learners engage with it.

Research shows that modern learners like to feel that they are in control of their learning. To get them to be engaged and motivated to do training, you need to fuel their curiosity and show them the value of the new skills and knowledge. They need to see how it will empower them to perform their work more competently and ultimately improve their career advancement opportunities. You need learner buy-in.

The world and the workplace are complex environments. The behaviors and skills needed to perform effectively are multi-dimensional, yet most corporate training programs are not. There is a mismatch between theory and practice. Training programs are often simplified and linear in nature. They are isolated from the real world and therefore they fail – they fail to engage the learners and they fail to achieve the training goals.

  1. How do we bridge this chasm?
  2. How do we close the gap between theory and practice and get learners to apply their new skills?
  3. How do you make the training relevant and applicable to the employee in his or her role in the workplace?
  4. In short, how to you ensure that graduates of the training program are actually job-ready?

The best strategy is to adopt a blended learning approach which incorporates as many of the elements in the numbered listed above. However, simulation-based learning and complex, life-like scenarios are essential.

Simulation-based learning is a course which uses simulated scenarios in a controlled environment to prepare learners for real-life situations. Learners can practice and develop their skills before transferring them to real workplace situations, where the risks and costs of mistakes are high.

The simulation replicates the context and thereby enables employees to develop the thinking skills and behaviors needed for successful job performance.

Simulation-based training offers many benefits, which all contribute towards improved competence and overall productivity for the business.

Check out the top 6 benefits of simulation-based training.

Leverage the power of simulation-based training

Forward-thinking companies are integrating simulation-based training into their  programs to make them more efficient. They are leveraging the power of contextually relevant learning-by-doing to increase learner engagement. They are increasing retention and building competence through effective, evidence-based training methods.

The rapidly changing work milieu demands that teaching methods should catch up with the times.

Training needs to adopt proven methodologies, which are supported by evidence-based research. Employees who are better equipped for their roles, will be more productive and this will impact the ROI for the business. 

SimTutor offers both tools and services to support enterprises who want to introduce simulation-based training to build human intelligence in their organizations.


About the author


SimTutor Inc is a global leader in simulation-based learning.

SimTutor Author is an authoring tool designed to help you build interactive procedural simulations and branched scenarios for any industry where realistic, just-in-time, measurable training is critical. 

SIMTICS is a library of ready-to-use simulations for learning medical and healthcare procedures and skills, powered by SimTutor Author.