Designing Experiences for Learning: Research Has Shown That Computer-Based Simulation Is One of the Best Vehicles for Effectively and Practically Delivering a Consistent Experience across an Organization

By Spero, Ken | T&D, September 2012 | Go to article overview

Designing Experiences for Learning: Research Has Shown That Computer-Based Simulation Is One of the Best Vehicles for Effectively and Practically Delivering a Consistent Experience across an Organization


Spero, Ken, T&D


Experience is the best teacher. This is an age-old adage that is universally accepted. Unfortunately, organizations have neither the time nor the budget to allow their people to learn through the "school of hard knocks." Therefore, simulations offer the opportunity to capture the necessary experience in a more deployable format and allow participants to gain experience in a safe environment. The combination of content, context, and time provides an opportunity for participants to engage with the issues both intellectually and emotionally, allowing for greater depth in the process.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

What is it?

Simulation can be defined as a complex weave of scenarios put together to capture a period of time in the life of a character and to incorporate content (such as leadership, ethics, or sales) and context (environment, people, task, and culture) so that it imitates life. This combination of content and context, when placed within the flow of time, enables a participant to experience an issue as it could play out in real life.

Why it works

Experience is a key driver in the success of both individuals and organizations. With experience design, it is the experience itself that is important, not whether the participant gets it right. Instructional design is primarily focused on learning the what and the how of the required changes, not on gaining insight from understanding and practicing the why and when of things. The how and what are necessary, but not sufficient for bringing about change because they are static and not contextual.

When it comes to demonstrating the why and when (that is, to display judgment), a more dynamic approach is required, one that takes into account context and inter-relationships. In other words, what is required is a method that captures experience within a context that provides opportunities to use judgment to take action and live with and learn from the consequences of those actions.

Guidelines

Behavioral or branching simulations are built using the metaphor of a decision tree and are focused on providing participants with an opportunity to exhibit three criteria:

* critical thinking and decision making

* handling consequences

* receiving feedback.

These applications manifest as a form of "choose your own adventure" exercises where participants are placed into a series of scenarios in which they are challenged to make decisions by selecting a particular path or branch. Then they experience the consequences of their choices by following that branch to where it takes them. Scenarios are miniexperiences whose impact is influenced by the depth and applicability of the exercise. Two key benefits of simulations are building the experience portfolio and strengthening decision-making skills.

Building the experience portfolio. When we face a situation, a typical response will start with some kind of gut reaction to what we perceive is going on. Somewhere in our brains, we sift through a portfolio of experiences and search for relevant or applicable instances in which we have experienced this situation before. We then garner some insight into the situation we are facing and take action.

But often for learners, this experience portfolio is empty. For example, if an employee has been recently promoted from an individual contributor to a supervisor, there are not going to be any leadership experiences in that person's portfolio. By designing an experience of leading and dealing with coaching issues or difficult conversations, participants are able to deposit some relevant and application-oriented "files" into their experience portfolio that can be called on in real life. When playing the simulation, participants also get to practice their decision-making and critical thinking skills.

By making a selection from the choice options they're presented with, they also gain experience with using judgment.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Designing Experiences for Learning: Research Has Shown That Computer-Based Simulation Is One of the Best Vehicles for Effectively and Practically Delivering a Consistent Experience across an Organization
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.