What does it take to create eLearning that actually engages students and trains them to be career-ready?
Most eLearning courses have simply moved traditional training onto an online platform using video or Powerpoint to present the content to the students and quizzes to check that they viewed it.
It leaves the audience as passive recipients, like empty vessels to be filled with facts.
However, any proficient educator knows that learning is not a spectator sport. Learners need to actively engage with the subject they are mastering and develop skills that they can actually use in a real-world workplace.
This is where simulation and scenario-based eLearning can be added to achieve great results and make your organization stand out as a leader in career-focused education.
Training current or future employees with a traditional chalk-and-talk approach and then expecting optimal work-performance is like expecting a person who merely passed a learner driver test to competently drive a ten-ton truck and trailer.
Anyone who has learned to drive will understand that it takes more than mere theoretical knowledge about rules of the road to become a competent truck driver.
It takes learning-by-doing or practice, in context, preferably a safe one, to master the combination of critical thinking and decision-making skills as well as physical co-ordination and procedural skills to control the vehicle competently and confidently.
The world and the workplace are complex environments. The behaviors and skills needed to perform effectively are multi-dimensional, yet most career-focused education programs are not. They are simplified and linear in nature.
Workplace skills are best developed by ‘doing’ but learning on the work-floor is usually not practical as the repercussions of potential mistakes are too high.
Simulation and scenario-based eLearning can bridge the mismatch between the training and the real-world. They are the bridge between theory and practice.
An eLearning simulation uses different, simulated scenarios in a controlled environment to prepare learners for real-life situations.
Research has shown that learning is most effective when it takes place in the context in which it will be used. Contextual training improves engagement and memory retention.
Simulation eLearning provides learners the opportunity to enjoy scenario-based learning in a “safe place.” They can explore and practice on new software or other applications before actually working on them in real life contexts, where the risks and costs of mistakes are high.
The online simulation replicates the context and thereby enables students to develop the decision-making skills and behaviors needed for successful job performance.
Simulation eLearning tools and scenarios are designed to mimic the look and feel of actual industry tools or software in context and to give students practice with them. This helps them to raise the levels of both their proficiency and self-confidence, which will enhance productivity, performance and even job-satisfaction.
Students develop the skills they need to become job ready faster as they can practice repeatedly without utilizing real-world resources, laboratory time, software or machinery. The time of trainers and mentors can be cut significantly by allowing students to learn and practice online.
Online simulations give students the flexibility to learn when they’re ready and go at their own pace. They can practice as much as they need to ensure that they master the skills they are performing.
Higher Engagement and Higher Retention Rates
Trainers report that learners are more motivated when training is contextually relevant and the effect of learning-by-doing is that they remember the lessons and have a higher long-term retention rate.
Paula, a healthcare trainer using simulation eLearning to teach clinical procedures shares the following results: “When they do an online simulation, it requires them to think. They must do all the steps, in the right sequence, so they’re learning how to do it properly. I see a difference in attention and in retention of the information. And my students are better prepared when they actually do the skill.”
Learn from Mistakes
Simulation eLearning is a powerful tool to help learners understand both the rewards and the consequences of their choices. Some of the most unforgettable lessons are the ones we learn from our mistakes!
If “failures are the stepping stones to success,” simulation elearning shows trainees the consequences of every wrong step and helps them to avoid similar mistakes in the real world context. It allows for productive failure.
Online simulations also take away the social embarrassment of failure. When students fail in a simulation they fail in private, and they’re encouraged to try again until they succeed.
Simulation eLearning Provides a Physically Safe Real-world Environment for Learning
It allows learners to practice and even fail in a safe environment, where expensive hardware, machinery, software systems or even lives will not be at risk. Learners can ‘reset’ the scenario, test alternatives and experience different outcomes, which may widen their learning and experience, with minimal cost for mistakes.
Learners can develop problem-solving skills by evaluating their choices and the resultant consequences. They learn from feedback without putting anyone or anything at risk.
Simulation and scenario based eLearning motivates learners, equips them with skills and develops the desired behaviours and thought processes. It results in higher learning retention rates than traditional methods.
Forward-thinking organizations are turning to simulation-based eLearning to achieve more effective training, to save time and to save costs. Simulation eLearning also reduces the cost of employee mistakes for businesses.
Overall, employees will be much better equipped for their roles and this will all have an impact on their competence and productivity in the companies that hire them.
The SimTutor platform is a world-class eLearning platform driven by the innovation and evolution of learning. It enables the planning and distribution of immersive, interactive training experiences for any industry. From intricate procedures and step-by-step ‘how to’ instructions through to rigorous health and safety compliance training, SimTutor replaces tedious and overly complicated manuals with fully interactive and responsive simulations.
The SimTutor planning and authoring tool is ideal for creating complex branched scenarios to develop critical thinking skills and other soft skills. Its an essential tool to add your eLearning kit to bring on-the-job processes to life. Your instructional designers can use it themselves or our team can create customized training modules for your organization.
Safe and harm-free training experiences give your students the confidence and competence they need to excel and to go out and build a leading reputation for your organization in the marketplace.
Watch this short demo video to see how easily you can create immersive, interactive simulation-based eLearning or contact us to create it for you.