Yes, simulations are good ways to deal with training cutbacks and the need to economize in this business environment.
Granted, this statement is a bit self-serving. Obviously, my business is writing and selling training simulations! That said, I really do think that using more simulations is good for a difficult current economic climate. Let me explain why.
Simulations pack more outcome into the training time and training dollar. When we need to cut back on the time spent in training, or if we need to cut back on the dollars spent, it makes the most sense to get as much out of the limited resources as possible. Because simulations have stronger impact than regular classroom or online training, the job impact is greater and efficiency is higher.
I have done many different types of training over the years. The biggest enthusiasm and change in behavior I have seen has come from the “Aha!” moments combined with determined “Yes, I can do that!” follow-up actions of the learners in my simulation-based training. It feels relevant. It goes beyond just the insight of a fun experiential activity. It gets people to practice in a stressful AND safe environment.
When we’re under pressure, we sometimes do things very well. And, we sometimes make mistakes. (Plenty of examples abound!) We only learn from those situations when we have the time to reflect and practice. That’s where simulations extend impact. They give the trainer (whether teacher, manager, coach, computer, etc.) an opportunity to help the learner complete the action-reflection-practice cycle.
This is not something that needs to be restricted to professional trainers! People with other specialties can use simulation techniques, too. Managers and team leaders are often in great positions to be able to use the concepts of simulation-enhanced learning on the job with trainees or newer employees. Improving skill with simulations just makes economic sense when budgets are tight.
May all your training be true-to-life!