Using Learning Simulations in Driving Behavioural Change

In today’s hectic corporate environment, the L&D professionals need to capture and engage the learners more than ever before. There are many different ways to increase learning engagement, but learning simulations have proven to be particularly appealing. As with all learning, the goal should always be to drive behavioural change. It doesn’t matter whether you’re training people on customer service, compliance or soft skills. If there’s no behavioural effect, learning has not translated to action, hence it has become as good as nothing.

Learning simulations have proven to be effective in driving these kind of behavioural changes, i.e. making learning stick. Naturally, all simulations are not created equal. Hence, it’s important to visit the fundamentals that make your training simulations effective and engaging.

Learning Simulations Mimic Decision Making Scenarios

Over the course of our daily lives, we learn through the mistakes we make. Whenever we make decisions that backfire, we (hopefully) take a mental note and refrain from committing the same mistake twice. Simulations provide a great way to explore the different courses of actions and their effects. And it’s really all about communicating the effects of different models of behaviour. None of us work inefficiently, mistreat people or provide bad customer service intentionally. Rather, it’s often that we don’t realise the effects of our behaviour. Through well-made simulations, we can better understand the effects our own behaviour has on our stakeholders, customers and colleagues.

Learning Simulations
Simulations provide a good way to train decision making scenarios, which can be linked back to company SOPs, guidelines and the “formal” part of learning. The learner will be directed onto different paths based on their decision in the simulation. 

Taking engagement levels up with comprehensive gamification

Naturally, a simulation is generally a type of gamified learning content in itself. However, by enabling more gamification across the board, we can keep our learners more motivated and engaged. You can build simulations that don’t necessarily a single set of right answers. Rather, there could be multiple possible paths to achieve the desired outcome, but with slightly varying scores. Sticking to the most preferred methods could yield more points, whereas other viable solutions could be awarded for the effort. By enabling a competitive environment between the learners through leaderboards and alike, we keep the learners on coming back in attempts to try to increase their scores. This creates repetition which in turn affects learning retention very positively.

Positive and Negative Reinforcement of behaviour through continuous feedback

As mentioned, behavioural change should be the primary goal of the learning content. To get the best effect, we should reinforce the desired behaviour and attempt to weed out the undesired. We can do this by enabling continuous and instant feedback. Whenever our learners make the desired choices in their simulation, we should acknowledge it. Similarly, when our learners choose undesirable ways of solving the situation, we should clearly communicate them their mistake and provide explanation on why the behaviour is undesirable. Furthermore, we shouldn’t limit our feedback to just words – visualisation never hurts!

Learning simulations feedback
Our learner has chosen an undesirable type of action. We inform the learner of his mistake and explain the effect of the behaviour. Now, the learner can go back and explore alternative courses of action. Feedback is both verbal and visual. 

Overall, simulations provide powerful tools for training for many areas. However, we need to keep in mind that constant and instant feedback is absolutely critical. Without it, the simulations can easily become ineffective and irrelevant.

Are you looking to explore learning through simulations in your organisation? Feel free to contact us with your problems, we’ll be happy to help you. You can also check out our partners who provide great tools for creating different types of simulations. 


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