How to Develop a Training Simulation

By Lierman, Bruce | Training & Development, February 1994 | Go to article overview

How to Develop a Training Simulation

Lierman, Bruce, Training & Development


There are some things people just can't learn from words or pictures. For example, when a job task requires an operator to manipulate the work environment, he or she must actually see the consequences of each action in order to learn how to complete the task successfully. In some situations, it can be costly and even dangerous to let inexperienced operators practice with real systems. In such cases, simulations can provide safe, controlled environments in which to learn.

First, it is important to define terms. A simulation is a model of a process or activity. A simulator mimics the controls, methods, and consequences of actions performed by operators. Simulations can be supported by tutorials, but they are definitely hands-on training experiences.

Here are some examples of training simulations:

* An operator of a computerized imaging system views recorded images on a computer screen, using simulator controls to examine the images. The training objective is to classify the imaged objects. The simulator controls mimic all of the functions of the actual system used in the operator's work environment.

* In a continuous-process-control environment, a worker operates a simulator to learn how to make timely decisions using a conceptual model or game. The simulator functions according to the same rules as the actual work system.

* A medical student interviews a hospital staff member who has been trained to simulate the symptoms of a specific disease. The simulation provides the student with experience in diagnosing, collecting, and understanding patient information.

Four kinds of simulations

There are four kinds of simulations. One kind helps participants learn the psychomotor and perceptual aspects of a task as it is performed in real-world situations. For example, in a flight simulation, trainee pilots practice visual and motor coordination as well as task sequences, in response to cues from the simulator.

In another kind of simulation--called cognitive-task simulation--trainees learn the concepts and abstractions that underlie the rules and principles governing their work environments. Because these simulations focus on thinking processes, they don't represent real-world situations as accurately as simulations of psychomotor and perceptual tasks. An example of a cognitive-task simulation is a stock-market game.

A third kind of simulation--for tasks involving communication and coordination--represents one of the newest and most exciting applications. Several trainees can perform at one time in different roles as part of a simulation of a work system; the actions of each participant are shown at the other trainee stations. This application can be used in tasks ranging from planning marketing strategies to managing nuclear power plants. In the near future, system simulations may train workers in understanding the implications of their actions on co-workers and may show them how to work effectively in organizations with far-flung operations.

A fourth kind of simulation--using virtual-reality technology--is still in its infancy as a training tool. Virtual-reality systems try to achieve total-sensory simulation through the use of special headgear and electronic gloves. Trainees wear goggles fitted with small computer screens on which they view the target environment, which they experience in three-dimensional images. As the trainees look or move in different directions, the virtual-reality simulator mirrors their moves on the goggle screens. Trainees can actually reach into, interact with, and manipulate the environment electronically. No matter which kind of simulation is best for your training task, the steps for deciding whether to use a simulation and how to design one are the same. …

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

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 ...
Default project is now your active project.
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
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

How to Develop a Training Simulation


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
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

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access 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,

    New feature

    It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia, and in an effort to make Questia easier to use for those people, we have added a new choice of font to the Reader. That font is called OpenDyslexic, and has been designed to help with some of the symptoms of dyslexia. For more information on this font, please visit

    To use OpenDyslexic, choose it from the Typeface list in Font settings.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search


    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.