Simpler, Faster Simulation Design

I did a presentation for MNISPI (Minnesota chapter of the International Society for Performance Improvement) recently on how to build simulations more simply and quickly with the 5-Step Simulation™ method. I had a great time, the participants learned a lot and enjoyed themselves, and we learned a lot about the value of paper airplanes as low-fidelity simulation props.

Here are some of the key elements from the session, below.

The more that training can feel like real work, the more impact it has. Also, good stories draw people in and engage them. Well-crafted simulations combine both of those ideas to get better training results. Whether the learning is online or classroom-based, a simulation-based approach feels like real work and puts learners into the story to build skill.

The LearningSim design approach—the 5-Step Simulation™ Method—is an easy way for L&D professionals to create and use simulations for training. This session will explore the concepts and get participants working with the tools they can use to build their own training simulations quickly and easily.


  • Use stories to enhance learning relevance
  • Make learning feel more like real life to increase engagement and transfer
  • Design and deliver simulation-based learning faster and more easily with the 5-Step Simulation™ Method

I also learned through building the session that I may benefit from changing my language around simulations! I have not been approached by any clients in the past year who specifically wanted simulations. I have been asked to do a lot of scenario-based learning, microlearning, case studies, and other solutions. All of these involved some aspect of storytelling and simulations, but it was an “Aha!” for me that the client ask was different from what I have been promoting. We learn a lot by teaching. Articulating the concepts and wrestling with language in a self-critical way can make a difference in the way we approach our work.