The Power of Simulation-Based Learning

The Power of Simulation-Based Learning
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Do Not Underestimate the Power of Simulation-Based Learning
Simulation-based learning operates on the principle that you cannot learn to swim by just reading a book. Practical skill building and behavior change takes immersing yourself in the actual experience and a lot of robust practice to acquire the necessary levels of confidence and competence.  We call this learning by doing, not simply by reading, observing, or listening.

Simulation-based learning is often used by first responders, pilots, and doctors who practice and test their capabilities as if they were responding to an accident, landing a plane, or operating on a patient.  Learning simulations provide a relevant environment where learners can feel safe to make mistakes in order to learn from them. Victims, passengers, and patients are protected from unnecessary risks while learners build the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they will need to operate successfully.

Simulation-based learning when applied in the corporate milieu creates an environment where learners solve problems in a setting where they can learn to sink without dire consequences and to swim with increasingly improved skill.

The Power of Simulation-Based Learning
The value of this kind of experiential learning is supported by the research. Education experts report that 70% of the information that learners retain is acquired by experience. That is a far higher percentage than knowledge delivered in classroom lectures.

A Recent and Timely Application
After the Ebola outbreak in 2014, Stanford University Hospital practiced simulations in the proper use of PPE and the readiness of front-line clinical sites. Both exercises were useful in establishing best practices and improved responses as we faced the threat and then the reality of COVID.

Simulations in the Corporate World
Simulations can help organizations experiment with different solutions to problems as they test and evaluate various approaches to strategic priorities, investment opportunities, and customer service processes.  But business simulations are also useful in training employees how to act most effectively in challenging and unexpected situations.

A Few Examples

  • Difficult Conversations
    Think about what new managers consider one of their greatest challenges – handling difficult conversations. Simulations in the form of role playing can help learners understand what works and what doesn’t. They can make the mistake of coming on too strong and learn how to better communicate so misunderstandings are avoided.
  • Sales Presentations
    Salespeople can take advantage of an opportunity to practice their presentation skills on videotape.  They can critique their own performance and invite peers to add their suggestions for improvement. From content to delivery, they can make mistakes and practice to correct them before they are in a high-stakes situation.

The Bottom Line
Simulation-based learning promotes experiential and reflective learning and is proven to be especially valuable for critical situations.  Are you taking advantage of all the value that simulation-based learning can offer for the skills that matter most?

To learn more about how to use targeted learning to get measurable results, download How to Fast Track Your Leaders with Just-in-Time Action Learning

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