April, 2011

April, 2011

What Makes a Good Training Simulation?

All training simulations are not created equal in either educational value or in their overall ability to provide realistic training experiences. Being able to understand the key dynamics that make 3D serious games and simulations a cut above the rest is a major component in selecting a company to provide your training requirements.

The following five features need to be carefully considered when choosing a 3D game design software company to create your specific online training programs. Having the right combination of visual appeal, clear objectives and the essential components of these immersive learning simulations will improve your training program, while also keeping your employees and online learners fully engaged in their own training and professional development.

Clear Objectives
A training simulation or serious game that doesn’t have clear learning outcomes and objectives is not really a training program; it is simply a game. Each uniquely developed serious game starts with a storyboard that both outlines the action of the game but also highlights the learning outcomes and intent of the simulation. Both simple as well as complex level learning objectives need to be defined in that storyboard before any actual software development begins.

Realism Counts
Graphics, avatars or characters, and the specific scenarios in the training simulations must be a close match to the real world in which learners will use the specific skills. The more lifelike and immersive the interactive training sessions are, the more transferable the skills will be. This is true in all aspects of learning and it is one of the reasons that well developed 3D simulations offer such powerful training potential when compared to traditional training methods of lectures, reading, watching videos and participating in highly contrived role plays. Audio in the background, voices, sound effects and music need to be professionally integrated into the training simulation for maximum effect.

Focus On The Desired Outcome
The 3D simulations used in training programs need to be simplified to avoid visual and audio distractions. This simplification allows learners to key in on the essentials of the learning process. The main elements of the training should be incorporated into the choices that the learners will make while moving through the simulation. A great serious game will have both audio and text cues and prompts to guide learners successfully through the program or to provide input on decisions made throughout the training scenario.

Be Authentic
Virtual reality types of simulations and games have to be based on rules that are easily visible and understood by the learner. These rules also need to go for the training simulation itself with the user’s choices actually influencing how the rest of the scenario plays out. The real world consequences can be explored based on good and bad decisions, which is where the learning really kicks in. In order to provide all of this to the user it is essential that the results, outcomes, choices and the actual simulation itself are believable and authentic. Artificial or irrelevant choices and scenarios won’t accomplish the training you desire.

Include Tracking
The ability to track the learner’s progress through the game or between training simulations is essential to monitor and evaluate the program and the individual learners. Using a 3D game design software that incorporates SCORM e-learning standards and can be monitored through a learning management system will help keep your record keeping to a minimum while allowing you maximum understanding of the effectiveness of the training simulation.