Let’s set the scene: it’s 2001, and you are a trader at a renowned investment bank. You are about to place an order for £3m worth of shares in a range of companies in the energy industry.
You click enter, and the confirmation comes through. To your horror, you realize you have accidentally typed two extra zeroes, instantly wiping billions from the share market. This happened at Lehman Brothers and was one of the biggest ‘fat finger’ errors in history.
Now, imagine that the trader had been exposed to a digital simulation that effectively simulated the buying and selling of shares, allowing them to experiment and practice without fear of real-world consequences.
Do you think the mistake would have still occurred? Maybe it would have, but simulations allow for playing out different scenarios and challenges, which could make the trader more careful.
Furthermore, having been through the simulation learning experience, the trader may have identified potential weaknesses in systems and processes and recommended simple steps to mitigate risks altogether.
As American educational theorist David A. Kolb once said, "Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience," and online simulation games are proving to be a very effective tool for experiential learning, successfully bridging the gap between theory and practice.
Online simulation games are transforming the way we learn by providing an interactive and unique learning experience.
Not only can they provide realistic workplace challenges, but they are also highly engaging and can keep learners motivated and interested.
Online simulation games provide a safe space for learners to practice without fear of real-world consequences, and they can be customized to the exact conditions that a learner needs to be exposed to, creating the exact working conditions and challenges that a learner may encounter in their role.
The Benefits of Online Simulation Games
The use of online simulation games in education is growing and for good reason. Online simulation games offer several benefits that make them an attractive option for learners and educators alike. Here are some of the key benefits of online simulation games:
1. They Provide Realistic Workplace Challenges
Online simulation games provide learners with the opportunity to experience realistic workplace challenges in a safe, controlled environment. For example, a simulation game for medical students might provide a virtual patient with a specific medical condition, allowing the learner to diagnose and treat the patient using virtual tools and resources.
2. They Keep Learners Engaged and Motivated
Online simulation games are highly engaging and can keep learners motivated throughout the learning process. Unlike traditional learning methods, which can be dry and boring, simulation games provide a fun and interactive way to learn. By gamifying the learning experience, learners are more likely to stay engaged and interested in the material.
3. They Provide a Safe Space for Learners to Practice
One of the biggest advantages of online simulation games is that they provide a safe space for learners to practice without fear of real-world consequences. This is particularly important in high-stress industries such as medicine, aviation, and finance, where mistakes can have serious consequences. Simulation games allow learners to experiment and practice without risking lives or finances.
4. They Can Be Customized to Meet Learner Needs
Online simulation games can be customized to meet the exact needs of learners. For example, a simulation game for a financial analyst might provide virtual scenarios that mirror the types of challenges they might encounter in their job. This customization allows learners to practice and develop skills that are directly relevant to their role, improving their job performance.
Case Studies: The Power of Online Simulation Games
There are numerous case studies that demonstrate the power of online simulation games in education. Here are just a few examples:
- Harvard Business School: Learning Through Simulation
Harvard Business School has been using simulation games for decades to teach business concepts and skills. In one example, students in a course on the entertainment industry played a simulation game in which they had to manage a music label.
The game provided a realistic, hands-on experience that helped students understand the complexities of the industry and the challenges faced by managers.
The students were able to experiment with different strategies and learn from their mistakes in a safe, virtual environment.
- University of Illinois: Improving Medical Education with Simulation
The University of Illinois College of Medicine has been using simulation games to improve medical education for over a decade. They use simulation games to teach medical students how to diagnose and treat various medical conditions, allowing students to practice and learn in a safe environment.
One study found that medical students who used simulation games to practice their skills had significantly better outcomes than those who did not.
- European Space Agency: Preparing Astronauts for Space
The European Space Agency (ESA) has been using simulation games to train astronauts since the 1980s. They use games to simulate the experience of living and working in space, providing astronauts with a realistic, immersive experience.
The simulation games help astronauts develop the skills they need to operate in a zero-gravity environment and prepare them for the challenges of space travel.
Online simulation games are an effective tool for experiential learning, providing learners with a safe, engaging environment in which to practice and develop skills.
They can be customized to meet the specific needs of learners, providing realistic workplace challenges and keeping learners motivated and interested in the learning process.
As technology continues to advance, the use of simulation games in education is likely to become even more widespread, offering new and innovative ways to teach and learn.
If you are interested in incorporating online simulation games into your learning and development program, MDA Training can help.
As experts in simulation game design and development, MDA Training can work with you to create customized simulation games that meet your specific learning objectives. Contact MDA Experts today to learn more about how online simulation games can transform the way you learn.