Elearning simulations give learners a chance to practice and learn from their mistakes in a risk-free environment. This kind of digital learning experience is a far cry from the presentational style of content that many people think of when you mention elearning! So, how do you create a useful, engaging simulation online?
The great thing about elearning simulations is that they give learners a chance to make mistakes in a safe environment and practice what they’ll need to do in real life.
In a recent webinar, we shared tips and techniques for how to design and create elearning simulations and activities in Elucidat. Watch the video for a detailed overview, or check out the key points below.
4 tips for bringing a simulation or activity online
As with all winning elearning projects, the success lies in the planning. Before you even touch your authoring platform to create your simulation or activity, make sure you have covered the following 4 steps to create a learning experience that’s going to hit the mark.
1. Map out the real-life steps
The first stage should involve mapping out the specific steps someone would need to take in a real life scenario, since this is what you need to replicate in your simulation.
Imagine you need to train up new members of your sales team before they hit the phones: think about the ideal process you want the team to follow. This is a great basis for working out what type of simulation or activity you should develop.
2. Simulate the key steps digitally
Next, you’ll need to work out how to simulate the steps you’ve mapped out into an online experience.
In the sales example, a key aspect to simulate was the conversation with a potential customer, giving the new team member an opportunity to practice and build their confidence. By combining audio clips with branching questions, you enable learners to respond to a voice clip and follow the conversation down the unique path they choose, and is also a brilliant example of using audio in elearning.
Depending on the type of simulation you’re trying to create, you could also consider using timers to simulate time-sensitive decision making, visual questions to simulate hazard-spotting or social polls to simulate decision making amongst peers.
3. Develop fail points and feedback
Allowing people to fail and correcting them when they do is what makes a simulation an effective learning experience. So the third step is to make sure each potential fail-point – such as someone steering a phone conversation in a less-productive direction – can be corrected. This is your opportunity to deliver timely, relevant feedback in the moment.
In the sales example, we built in consequences to reward good decisions and highlight the impact of less effective choices.
4. Focus on the detail
Once you’ve mapped out the process, identified the best type of simulation and developed the fail points, you can add the necessary detail.
Think about the specific digital interactions you want to include, such as audio clips, questions, timers, points etc. Which pages will they be placed on? How can you make sure the learners know which action they’re meant to take at each point? Where will you assign points, and how many?
You’ll also need to script your copy, using language to build suspense and tension or create a fun atmosphere; whichever fits your simulation best. Once these details have come together to form a storyboard, you can jump into your authoring platform to start building it.
Check out the end result in our Sales Simulation example. Can you have the best conversation with a customer and get the information you need to qualify them?
Is your elearning simulation doing the trick?
Practical activities benefit from extra user testing to ensure the experience feels realistic and the feedback is useful. We recommend testing an early prototype with users and subject matter experts and using analytics to monitor how people are engaging with it.
Want support creating your own simulation in Elucidat? Our expert Learning Consultants can help. Get in touch to discuss your project.