Simulation is Essential to Great Training Results

In the short video below I discuss the importance of simulation in multiple areas of human capital management. Check it out and then read on for a few suggestions on how to put that into practice.

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Simulating The Real World in Training Environments

Recently I was talking with someone about how to improve their training processes, and I shared one of the rules I have lived by for quite some time:

Training needs to simulate real life as much as possible.

There are a few basic options when it comes to this topic (the actual term is transfer of training if you want to deeper), and it all comes down to the training stimulus and the learned response matching up to the actual stimulus and response needed on the job. If there is a breakdown in the training stimulus, the on-the-job stimulus, or the learned responses in training, then the training is going to yield subpar results.

Ready to take offI talked with a military fixed-wing aircraft pilot earlier this year, and he told me something that astounded me. He said that often when a pilot gets signed off as a co-pilot and gets sent to a unit after basic flight training, they may have flown as few as one or two times in an actual aircraft! Due to the cost, almost all of the training is completed in simulators that mimic the motion, environment, aircraft, and other factors pilots will face.

That’s a long way of saying what I already stated above: training needs to simulate real life if it’s going to be effective.

Next week I will have another blog post about how to approach this in recruiting. I touched on it in the video but I think the topic is complex enough to warrant its own explanation. I’ll leave you with these thoughts:

  • How much does your training simulate real life?
  • What elements of training do you use to help learners get as much as possible from the experience? Do you use case studies, discussions, lectures, video, role playing, simulation, or other tools?
  • What could you do differently to help your training more closely simulate the experiences your employees face on a daily basis?

Ben Eubanks, Associate HCM Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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