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Why does simulation bring change?

Simulation helps people to understand the consequences of choices.

Simulation for training

To use simulation requires a different approach to training. It requires more effort in the planning and learning design stage, requires more preparation for delivery, and opens up more possibilities for how a training interaction will unfold. Simulation brings a degree of uncertainty to training, as it readily accommodates different learning styles and stages of skill development. Simulation is learner centered, unlike lecture-style training which is trainer centered. It therefore requires the trainer to be more confident in their knowledge and assessment skills, as they will be led on a “journey of discovery” by the learner as the simulation stimulates memories, knowledge and ‘ah-ha’ moments. On the other hand, simulation training offers the ultimate reward for trainers, for the typical training ideals of engagement, knowledge sharing, proficiency and learning validation are “obvious”.

Simulation for decision making

Simulation forces us to think in terms of variables that affect outcomes and be open-minded about the results. It means we need to incorporate possibilities we hadn’t considered. It forces us to collaborate. It forces us to make decisions…how much…how many…how often?

Why might people find simulation threatening?

Simulation is confronting. It holds a mirror up to us and shows our flaws: it creates dissonance.

Simulation is often introduced into businesses to bring consistency, access and efficiency. It upsets the “status quo” of systems that have perhaps been embedded in a culture for decades or even centuries. It equalizes, and differentiates. It uncovers and replaces mythologies, disproves theories and redefines eminence. It revolutionizes. It highlights behaviours and forces acknowledgement. It measures results.

(These are the reasons simulation is a compelling training tool. )

Why are simulation programs so hard to implement?

Simulation is a network or complex entity, unlike a book or whiteboard. It employs narrative, requires data, pushes people out of their comfort zone and if technology is involved, there are software, hardware, electrical, hydraulic systems, projectors, screens and internet connections to consider. The acquisition, deployment and maintenance of simulations often extend beyond the control of the person desiring to use it.

If it’s sold as an integrated solution, it is now the subject of shared decision making.

Simulation targets behaviours, which

  • are the results of systems and symbols in a business. It touches policies, processes and procedures, through its establishment and its effects. Its reach extends far beyond its immediate use and creates a ripple effect of change. A ripple effect of dissonance. A ripple effect of opportunity. A swathe of overwhelming possibilities. Cans of worms.
  • means its use is likely to be scrutinized by industrial umpires to ensure the fair treatment of all.

Simulation requires skills that may not exist within the business. Skills for acquiring, skills for deploying and skills for maintaining. A ripple effect.

Simulation must fit into existing resources that were not originally designed to accommodate simulation. Learning materials, IT infrastructure, training rooms, budgets. A ripple effect.

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