How has the creation of simulations evolved over the years?
The simulations are now being used for all kinds of eLearning in the corporate world.
Importance of simulations for banking training:
For example, simulations have been extremely useful in banks, where they can be used for explaining to the employees what can be the harmful effects of making wrong decisions.
They are taught how various situations can affect the balance sheet of a bank.
In such simulations, various factors become more understandable to banking employees like how they must cope with poor business conditions which happens when there is a recession in the economy and banks don’t get many lending opportunities.
When the banking employees see a change in numbers due to any alteration in regulatory conditions like a hike in interest rates, they learn how to adapt to such situations. Also, there can be problems when the central bank increases interest rates to curb inflation.
When the central banks increase interest rates, the cost of lending increases, and hence banks have to increase their own interest rates to earn profits. The interest rates are increased and banks have to convey to the borrower the reasons behind them to maintain their loyalty. It’s because their loans go for a toss in such situations and hence, they must know how their decisions influence assets and liabilities.
These and many more changes in external factors require intelligent decision-making by banking employees, and this skill gets enhanced through a simulator. The simulation shows how the assets and liabilities of a bank change as a consequence of the changes in such factors, and how to cope with such situations.
Simulations before 1980s:
A simulation showcases a business situation. When this happens, the businesses know how to leverage or emerge as a survivor in such a situation. They understand the challenges of a situation as a whole, rather than being absorbed in the complexities of the situation.
Now, due to authoring tools, creating simulations is not as tough as before.
The simulations were however initially not so popular. This was because there had been no advent of eLearning authoring tools. So, it was quite complicated to create simulations using programming and generating computer variables. The users could not be given simple variables for decision-making, due to which it was tough for them to understand and learn. Therefore, the users could not establish any relations between the variables chosen in decisions and their results. Consequently, the earlier simulations could not fulfil any kind of learning goals of clients. Hence, making simulations simple was required.
How were simulations created back then?
There was a need for creating graphic characters from scratch using design software and then creating body movements and gestures for them through Flash.
Apart from that, it was also required to use programming languages such as C++ and Java to showcase the behavior of the elements in such simulations after any option was chosen, like the user would see a pop-up on screen after he chose any option in a quiz.
Creation of Simulations after invention of authoring tools:
Firstly, the authoring tools have templates, elements, and characters designed for a specific business situation. Even gestures and facial expressions have been created to depict situations.
Therefore, the creators just need to drag and drop animated characters and other elements into templates to create situations. There is no coding required to create templates.
Benefits of using authoring tools for creating simulations:
- No need for programming:
Moreover, programming is also not needed to create branching scenarios in such simulations. The eLearning authoring tools are already well-endowed with the triggers and the users just have to choose the options.
They contain triggers that are invoked as a user chooses a certain option in a pre-built quiz, and then the user is enlightened about his choice. Therefore, the user can be presented with many options in terms of situations and quizzes.
- Immediate feedback received:
Another advantage of these simulations is that since they can be produced so quickly, feedback can be sought immediately from the client. So, the procedure to produce these simulations is quite agile. Changes are made often, and the client does not have to wait for a certain time to offer feedback before the final results are shown to him. Different scenarios can be prepared, produced and altered till they satisfy a client in terms of end results.
- Easier collaboration:
Since these authoring tools are hosted on cloud-based servers, the graphic designers can work alongside them with SMEs who can tell them whether a certain situation has been shown correctly. When they find anything wrong with a situation, they ask the graphic designers to correct it immediately.