Computers and electronic media permeate almost all aspects of modern life. Computer based training has infiltrated schools, higher institutions of learning, the military and the corporate world. Virtual reality is replacing old style job based hands-on training in educational institutions, government and in corporate entities.
War games moved from mock battle fields to video game like simulations, training of corporate managers from training seminars with uninspiring PowerPoint presentations to sophisticated interactive electronic learning tools.
For decades, scientists have used actual data to simulate research scenarios and to study the effects and consequences of data manipulations.
What is good for video games, military training and scientific research should also be good for corporate on the job training, shouldn’t it?
Indeed it is. And it is becoming an ever more common means of training corporate managers. In fact, an entire industry has sprung up around corporate training simulations. For example, Forio provide software solutions for business, government and academic institutions that set training simulations and allow predictive analysis. These training simulations are highly customizable. Simulations can be tailored to meet the exact needs of any client from business organizations, health and medicine, institutions of higher learning and the military to name only a few.
What exactly are corporate training simulations?
As the word simulation implies, training simulations mimic situations businesses might encounter in real life daily management routines. Such simulations are normally done on computers or other intelligent electronic devices. The software of simulations programs allows direct interaction between the human trainees and the simulation.
Why training simulations instead of on-site training sessions?
Training simulations have an excellent track record in higher education and scientific studies. They teach students to see the wide, overall pictures of a situation and to recognize and anticipate the effect of individual decisions on the entire system.
Image by – Richard Lee
Participants in training simulations therefore learn how their decisions affect the entire business simulated and studied. Instead of gathering employees in one physical location for training, training simulations can be done remotely on computers anywhere in the world. The training is interactive.
Teachers and students interact during live computer sessions with each other and the simulations. Student input and performance are available to teachers and the other participants almost immediately during the training session. And so is, of course, the result of a decision on the simulation. Instant gratification is a great motivator. It is fun to make a decision and see the result immediately. That’s what makes video games so popular.
Training simulations can be as much fun; maybe even more so because of the higher stakes and more dramatic results.
Simulation software is adaptable to specific companies, their products and markets. Such specialized software therefore allows users to predict the effects of management decisions without major delays. There is no time lag between making a management decision, implementing it and waiting for the results to show in real life.
This can considerably reduce bad management decisions and thus avoid costly mistakes. Training simulations can reduce the cost of regular local training sessions because they eliminate the need to bring top managers from diverse geographical areas to one central training facility.
What companies should use training simulations?
Businesses that operate in multiple, highly competitive markets and produce products or offer services in different geographical areas and have multiple layers of general and local management should consider using simulations. These conglomerates often operate worldwide. It is, however, not a prerequisite for the use of training simulations, though small companies may find the use of customized training software to much drag on their resources.
Benefits of corporate training simulations
Interactive visualizations beat boring, long-winded training manuals.
Studies have shown that experience gained from real life situations is an important factor in adult learning. Training simulations present visualizations of lifelike situations.
The effect of a management decision becomes apparent almost immediately.
No waiting for the next quarterly sales figures to prove success or failure of a management decision.
Furthermore, a bad decision only affects the simulation, not the actual business. It does not harm people, damage the corporation or its market partners. It is easy to ‘clean up’, reverse and make another better decision.
Training simulations have another benefit. They provide the training participants consistently with immediate, direct feedback as part of the programmed training simulation. Immediate feedback is a great motivator, especially when it reflects a good decision. Positive feedback is a coveted award that decisions and solutions memorable and spurs on even better performance.
Well written corporate training simulations act more like strategy video games than as a dreaded training exercise. They can be fun to play. People learn better when they are having fun than when flipping pages of training manuals or watching uninspiring Power Point presentations. That’s like watching Uncle Craig’s slide show of his vacation on Hawaii. Boring!But not these simulations. Form two teams and have them compete against each other as part of the training simulation. Then watch them go at it while having fun.
Fun is infectious. Generations that have grown up playing video games are doing very well in training simulations. Just as they excel in simulated battle field situation during military training.
There is at least one more essential benefit of training simulations.Training simulations produce better managers with greater and wider experiences. These leaders are also better motivated with a greater drive to pass on their knowledge and experiences to other employees.
Why does that matter?Because successful and motivated graduates of training simulations can become the home-grown teachers of a business organization. Their enthusiasm in turn motivates aspiring managers to follow in their steps on the way up the corporate ladder.
Experienced top managers, battle hardened in training simulations, are among the most valuable assets of corporate entities all over the world.This will not change in the near future. On the contrary, corporate training simulations are here to stay. They will become an even more valuable and indispensable organizational and training tool for business organizations.