A resource from the leaders in simulation training.

G’day, Troubleshooters! Welcome back to Troubleshooting Thursdays. Thanks for tuning in again. In case you missed it, last week we presented Part 1 of this 2-part series on why simulation-based training is better than traditional instructional methods. Just as a recap, last week we focused on the actual learning that takes place during simulation-based training, namely, that knowledge retention is better. Check out the diagram below and you can see the dramatic improvement in retention for various types of instruction.

Not only that, the skills and knowledge acquired in simulation learning are well transferred to the real-world environment, as long as the simulation has good fidelity.

Today we’re looking at the other real advantages that using simulation-based training has for manufacturers.

Simulation-based training is good for business

In addition to the fact that simulation training results in very high quality learning that is second only to learning in a real-world environment, there are a number of other real benefits to the organizations that use it.

1. Simulation training is completely safe

We all know that beginners make mistakes. It’s inevitable, and it’s how we all learn. The only problem is, in some situations, mistakes can have terrible consequences. They can be disastrous to learners’ own personal safety, to the others around them, and to expensive equipment. This is why space and flight simulators exist, and why medical schools and institutions use simulation to train students and surgeons new operations and techniques. Dental schools, the military, and bomb squads also use simulation training, for obvious reasons! On the manufacturing side of things, electricity and production-line machines can both also be deadly when not handled properly, so machine operation and electrical troubleshooting training are other applications of simulation training. Accidents and injuries are very common in the manufacturing world, especially among new workers, and in addition to the terrible human suffering they cause, can result in severe OSHA penalties, lawsuits, equipment damage, lost production and lost employee work time.

2. Computer simulation generates transparent, quantifiable, consistent results

Up to now we’ve been talking about all kinds of simulation-based training: both physical (like a flight simulator) and computer-based (virtual simulator). However, computer-based simulations have a number of benefits over physical simulators, including the fact that they offer the potential for digital tracking of trainees’ progress, as well as convenient course management tools, including custom tests, reports, and assessments. Some training programs may even provide deeper insights; for example, programs such as Simutech Multimedia actually analyze the kinds of mistakes an individual student is making and recommend further practice in a specific area. In any case, the data provides objective, quantifiable feedback, ensuring all trainees reach the same level of expertise. Administrator bias does not come into play, and neither does varying levels of instructor competence.

3. Scalable

Because it is done on computer (even potentially the employee’s own home computer), and requires less administrator time, simulation training is highly scalable. If you need to train large batches of employees to quickly get them up to speed, computer-based simulation training is the way to go. Administrators aren’t going to be a bottleneck, and neither will access to a physical simulator.

4. Less expensive

Computer-based simulation training is more cost-effective than other methods of training. It can be done from anywhere, so no travelling costs are incurred. It’s even more cost-effective than training on a physical simulator, because you don’t have to have a designated space (usually very large) for a physical simulator; no expensive equipment has to be retired from the line; and production doesn’t have to be shut down while training is in progress. Physical simulators can be hugely expensive; advance driving simulators, for example, work very well but can cost up to ten times more than a real rig. In the case of repairing electrical faults in production-line machinery, the instructor or administrator must keep going in and physically creating new faults to be solved in the practice machines. All of this takes time or space, and therefore money. Finally, we have to factor in the cost savings due to reduced administrator burden and to increased safety, mentioned earlier.

To sum up, simulation training is the closest thing to training on the job in the real world in terms of learning, but much, much safer. It results in better knowledge retention because students are actively engaged in their learning, and, it has fewer associated costs than other modes of training.

That’s it for today, Troubleshooters! Be sure to tune in to TST again next Thursday as we continue to look at hot topics in manufacturing training.

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