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Simulation training is an interactive teaching method that allows students to learn through practice, experiencing cause and effect. This type of training is usually divided into two methods: computer and human simulation exercises. The preparation process for simulation training is the same, regardless of methodology.
Computer-based simulation training is usually found in industries or sectors where it is too costly to allow students to gain work experience on the job. Engineering faculties rely heavily on this type of simulation training, using specially designed programs and tools. The programs are designed to mimic a specific scenario.
The student enters his or her design or proposed process and the computer simulates the results under various conditions. For example, a civil engineering student might enter a proposed bridge design. The computer will simulate how the bridge will perform under different environmental conditions, such as heavy rains or freezing and thawing cycles. The results provide valuable insight into the areas of weakness in the design.
The other type of simulation training involves role playing and group work. This type of training is often used to reinforce soft skills, such as negotiations, conflict management, and interpersonal communication. There are two methodologies used in this type of simulation: professional and group based.
In a professional simulation training program, actors are used to create a specific scenario. Playing roles in accordance with character profiles, they provide the students with an opportunity to objectively review the communication strengths and weaknesses. This type of training program is most effective in large groups, where there is a need for everyone to understand their role in a scenario, and the impact on the group.
Group simulation training is commonly used in post-secondary programs and staff development courses. Students are asked to play a specific role for the class to facilitate discussion. The discussion may be scripted or ad lib. The desired outcome is to highlight the issues and provide alternate methods for interpersonal communication.
To prepare for this type of training, it is important to understand the purpose is to highlight flaws and errors in a risk-free environment. The primary concerns are to avoid looking foolish and to create situations that may be unsuccessful. Many people circumvent the purpose of the training by responding in an artificial way or trying to create the perfect scenario. The best way to learn is to use these methods to perform the tasks as you would normally.
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