In the final part of this series, we look at the last few commonly believed myths about simulations. We address some of the most outdated beliefs that exist and need to quickly be put to rest, as these beliefs obstruct the acceptance and implementation of simulations in modern workforce learning.
Myth: Simulations require a computer room
Simulations are no longer a desktop application. In fact, most modern simulations are cloud-based and can be accessed anywhere and anytime so long as users have a technological device and an active internet connection, which most corporate learners do. Therefore, the concept of having to assemble in a physical space such as a computer room is archaic and redundant. Anyone telling you otherwise, be it simulations for learning or even as a means of assessing capabilities, has yet to update themselves on the far-reaching capabilities of simulation-based learning and assessment.
In reality, modern simulations transcend the boundaries of time, space and distance to accommodate the virtual learner, giving everyone equal opportunity to develop their capabilities, improve productivity, contribute actively to business development and accelerate their own career progression. Especially for an organization whose workforce is extremely dispersed and largely virtual, simulations negate any excuse against professional development. It no longer matters that you have five employees in Poland and Russia, and 20,000 employees in the United States, China or India. Every single employee can now be given equal privilege of learning at their own pace and convenience, with the same learning experience as everyone else. What more can one ask of a learning methodology?
Myth: Simulations are difficult to integrate into the course and complicated to facilitate
Simulations are not here to replace existing learning practices and methodologies. In fact, they serve their purpose best by complementing what already exists, as they provide the service of practice and coach learners through their challenges and give them the confidence to implement skills in their real-life work environments. Great simulations are based on core frameworks and bring theory to life.
Several of our partnerships at KNOLSKAPE are based on license sales, allowing partners to enhance their learning programs and the experience for their learners. After all, to coherently and comprehensively understand and implement a concept or skill, one must know all the nuances – what, why, how, when, and where? While PowerPoint decks, activities and discussions take care of the cognitive aspects of knowledge and skill building, simulations help with the behavioral component of it.
Therefore, a crucial step in the process of incorporating simulations in learning is ensuring that the facilitators are equipped with facilitating the simulation experience and seamlessly flowing through the course content while corroborating it with the simulation experience. In fact, the feedback, reports and analytics provided by simulations help facilitators create personalized learning experiences for diverse learners at the same time.
Myth: Learning outcome is difficult to measure
It is important to remember that a simulation is very similar to a game. Often, learners appear to be so caught up in the fun and immersive nature of the simulation that it is believed that they don’t necessarily focus on the learning that they get out of it. However, platform technology has made it easy for simulation designers to highlight many things – the actions of the learners within the simulations, the resultant impact of these actions, a shift in performance based on feedback and the necessary areas of improvement and measures that learners need to take to improve. This information can be collated in the form of an analytic report, further useful for creating personalized development plans or to chart out employee roles and responsibilities.
Since the learner performance on the simulation is measured so objectively, it becomes the basis for L&D teams and managers to corroborate performance on real life roles and responsibilities. Why? The validity of the reports and analytics comes from the fact that learners are expected to achieve certain objectives within the simulation that are closely tied to real time objectives that learners are required to meet in their actual roles.
For example, within a leadership simulation, a learner is expected to improve the performance, skill and motivation of their simulated teams to meet the business targets set out for the team, which is a crucial responsibility for leaders in the real world. Therefore, their performance in the simulation is closely tied to their performance at their real jobs. The analytics recorded helps the organization identify the gaps and challenges that a leader may face in their roles, should there be a discrepancy in the learners’ results within the simulation and at their jobs. What better a result can be expected from a simulation-based learning methodology?
Myth: Learning outcome is difficult to measure
Case-in-point, Leadership Development. Most organizations focus on developing leadership capabilities of predominantly their first-time managers. Why? If you’ve been in a leadership position for long, you must have mastered it by now, right? Wrong! The modern workforce is very dynamic, comprising people with various social styles, interests, motives and ways of working. It is also the most generationally diverse workforce ever to exist. Therefore, no skill exists today that is too mature to be learnt, leadership capabilities specifically.
At KNOLSKAPE, we conduct open simulation-based workshops to help decision makers experience simulation-based learning the way that their end users do. Many of these decision makers are senior leaders who come with decades worth of leadership experience. Interestingly, in almost every one of these sessions, we have had senior leaders say to us, “The simulation was remarkable. I always prided myself on being a good leader, able to manage any situation or challenge that comes my way. Playing the simulation, I realized the mistakes I am making, and I walk away today with clarity and means to manage my teams better”. If you won’t take it from us, believe in the testimonies of these seasoned leaders.
We have now thrown light on ten common myths that are held about simulations. Hopefully, we have managed to change some perceptions enough to enable you to explore the simulation method for your corporate learning practices.
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Published by: Anand Udapudi in Blog