While there is no hard research to prove the following statements, logic will tell us that, in spite of the shaky percentages used, for most learners the conclusions are probably accurate:

“.  .  . The experts generally agree that simulations boost learning retention rates dramatically.  An often-cited study conducted by the NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Sciences in Alexandria, Va., found that on average, students retain 5 percent of what they hear in lectures, 10 percent of what they read, and 20 percent of what they see and hear in audiovisual presentations.  But add “practice by doing” and “teach others/immediate use” to the mix—two learning techniques that computerized simulations possess in spades—and retention rates shoot up to a jaw-dropping 75 and 80 percent, respectively.

Some also credit simulations with accelerating the learning curve.  According to James Lundy, vice president of Gartner, the Stamford, Conn. research firm, students learning via simulation-based training become proficient more quickly.  When students learn on the job, it usually takes them longer to be able to perform the same task with the same proficiency, he says.

Proponents also point out that simulations allow students to practice newly acquired skills and apply new knowledge in a realistic, yet risk-free, environment.  That means, for example, students feel they can experiment and explore the cause-and-effect relationships between operating decisions and business outcomes without facing real-world consequences—like plummeting a company into bankruptcy or worse.

That kind of experience simply can’t be matched by traditional e-learning or a lecture-based course, says Chris Musselwhite, president of Discovery Learning, a simulation company based in Greensboro, N.C.  .  .  . (from:  “Simulations: The Next Generation of E-Learning” by Sarah Boehle, trainingmag.com)

Trainers first witnessed this boom in longer term retention rates almost three decades ago with the adoption of interactive laser videodisc (IVD).  For the first time, an affordable simulation model was available to everyone and longer term retention rates took off.

Then it became a different story. 

First, CD-ROM replaced IVD, but the early digital limitations took away some of the simulation advantages.

Today, the training world has adopted e-Learning as the delivery method of choice — but, too many practitioners have all but eliminated the simulation aspect of learning and, too often, reverted to reading-based programs (i.e., PowerPoint adaptations).

It doesn’t have to be that way.  E-Learning, as a training medium, has all of the learning retention potential that IVD initially brought us. 

Rather, it’s the practitioners who have become the problem.  They have failed to grasp that the importance of full motion video, graphic animations and simulations — when combined with branching designs — are the keys to longer term retention.  

And, the only training initiatives that have positive impacts on an organization’s performance — and, future — are those programs that generate longer-term retention that immediately translates into positive applications of that initial training.

There is little doubt that, if you want longer term retention, simulation-based training will help you achieve those goals.  And, in the hands of an expert designer, e-Learning is capable of doing just that!

More on Monday  –  –  –

— Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning
January 2, 2019
www.itclearning.com/blog/  (Mondays & Wednesdays)

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 (This is a personal blog.  Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner, jhbillwalton@gmail.com, an independent consultant.  They do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity.)