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A perfect match: simulation and compliance training

Often compliance training is seen as a waste of time as it does not inspire changes to work practices, even though that’s where the real return on investment lies.

The value of simulation training comes from its ability to demonstrate, test and measure an individual or team’s performance. Training simulations are not generally designed to test the trainer’s knowledge or communicate volumes of factual information, yet assessment practices often end up testing how well those two things were demonstrated. Hence, the perception that simulators “don’t fit”.

While training concentrates on conveying information instead of changing behaviour, simulators will be limited in their ability to generate returns on the investment that are potentially achievable. Simulation training focuses on delivering outcomes that significantly affect on-the-job performance, above and beyond minimum legislated requirements.

Genuine competency-based training requires that trainers focus on what people actually do when they leave the training, as well as what they should know and do. Genuine competence is achieved by consistently practicing new skills over time. This is where simulation demonstrates its real value, as it allows trainers to effectively hold up a “mirror” and show learners how their performance differs from what is desired, and what they must do to achieve the required outcome. Again and again and again. This requires very different skills and knowledge for trainers than the traditional approaches commonly used in compliance training.

Think of a time when you realized you had to change something about yourself. A simple illustration is the word “um”. People might have told you that you say “um” a lot, but you didn’t worry about it too much. Then you saw yourself on video. Ouch! Seeing yourself “in action”, as such, makes you realize that you say it a lot more than you thought, and it really is quite frustrating to listen to. This discovery is a bit embarrassing, and makes you uncomfortable enough to do something about it. You may ask people for some advice, or look up some strategies on the internet, and over the next few weeks you really focus on removing “um” from your speech. You may ask someone to give you feedback during this time to help you.

  • What did it take for you to change your behaviour? Over what time-frame?
  • How much harder is it to coach someone through a change like that than simply telling them to change?
  • What skills are required to ensure the change can be acheived and sustained?
  • How do those skills differ from powerpoint-style delivery – telling people “stuff” that they can choose to ignore once they leave the room?

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