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We all want to create courses that are effective and engaging. In this blog post, we’re sharing how easy it is to do just that – with simulations. We’ll also give you an inside look at two tools that make designing a course a breeze – visual flow editor and Course of Action (COA), one of the many activities you can use to build highly engaging simulations. 

But before we get started…

What is a simulation?

A simulation is an immersive learning experience that creates space for practice, reflection, and insights.

A simulation is a tech-enabled learning experience that allows participants to practice skill-building in a safe and constructive environment.

Through simulations, participants: 

  • Develop critical and system thinking 
  • Refine problem-solving abilities 
  • Discover blind spots
  • Learn from mistakes
  • Reinforce key behaviors 

providing the most effective way to learn how to wrestle with tradeoffs and make tough decisions.

Simulations fully immerse learners in realistic challenges that are emotionally charged and intellectually rigorous.

We’ve all binged on a Netflix series or got lost in a juicy novel, where we shut down outside distractions and focus on the immediate experience. Immersive learning takes on similar characteristics by capturing learners’ imagination in a relevant case or scenario, forcing the participant to make tough decisions and difficult trade-offs and discover the interrelated system dynamics within their jobs and organizations.

Simulations are proven to be more effective than other learning methods because they:

  • Mimic real-world scenarios that help learners connect new skills to their roles. 
  • Compliment the brain’s natural way of processing information by building emotional tension, spacing learning for optimum retention, and presenting the cause-and-effect consequences of decisions and behavior.
  • Help learners unlearn conventional, habitual unhelpful patterns and rewire thinking to increase creative and strategic thinking.

Now that you know what simulations are and why they’re great for learning, we’ll now highlight two of the many incredible tools in SimGate Studio, our simulation learning platform.

Visual Flow Editor

The visual flow editor is a tool that enables you to create flexible, rich learning experiences by showing the map of your course elements as you build it. In this way, instructional designers can imagine and re-imagine course flow.

Many course creators will start with a timeline of activities – what the learners do in linear order.  However, simulations can also be built with adaptive learning logic. Our visual flow editor makes it easy to create branching pathscustomized, personal learning paths based on the learner’s answers to the course activities presented. With branching, the learner participates in the narrative by choosing between different actions or storylines. 

Using the visual flow editor, course creators can also build remediation paths, where learners can jump to a previous point in the course and take another shot at the task. 

This powerful tool makes it easy to create engaging courses with measurable impact.  You can also edit  your course flow anytime, adding, editing, or deleting elements through a simple drag-and-drop interface.  And by adding rounds, you can create modules to break your learning into natural chunks.

Activity Example: COA

Activities are like a Swiss Army knife for course creation – you have many tools at your fingertips, ready to be used.
In this section, we’ll highlight one of the many templated activities you can use to design your course: Course of Action (COA).

Making decisions and seeing the impacts are core to simulation design. These powerful exercises hone critical thinking skills, as the participant needs to consider each decision’s nuances and potential impact, such as:

  • Can they recommend which course of action to take and why?
  • What does the participant believe an option’s short/long-term impact will be? Or the magnitude of the effect?
  • Are they able to synthesize disparate information sources?  

For example, consider this COA, with three possible courses of action options presented.

To make a decision, participants review and evaluate up to 3 equally compelling options. Designed well, each of the options should be compelling and be a viable course of action for the decision. After reviewing the options, a participant chooses their course of action and then is presented with additional choices to help capture the nuances of their decisions. For example, what do you predict is the impact of your decision (no impact to high impact) or any other dynamic to capture nuances of decisions.

Through the COA template in SimGate Studio, the decision choices can be customized to pinpoint to uncover the course of action choices and each decision that can be scored and reported on later in the simulation.

Equally important, participants can see the impact of their COA decisions through an end-of-round performance report or mapped to skills against a broader end-of-sim report.


COAs are highly effective for:

  • Checking understanding of basic concepts – almost like a multiple choice knowledge check, COAs can be created as simple scenarios to convey basic knowledge and check for understanding.
  • Weighing trade-offs – especially when a participant needs to gain a deeper understanding of doing one action over another action.
  • Evaluating impacts – such as assessing the benefits of having something happen immediately with the potential unintentional future consequences.
  • Analyzing a situation – with a well-written scenario and some context added to the Resources area, COAs create rich learning that requires deep thinking and dialogue with team members.
  • Assess options – the nature of having two or more options provides insight into a participant’s ability to assess options in the context of the situation or simulation performance indicators.

COA is just one of our many activities you can use to create powerful simulation-based learning.  It’s easy to add robust scenarios, scoring, assessments, AI videos, conversations, video response branching, and more through SimGate Studio’s library of templated activities.

Ready to learn more?

At The Regis Company, we make learning effective, engaging, and easy to deploy – anywhere in the world, virtually or in person.

Our solutions skyrocket employee engagement and help learners gain speed to proficiency – upskilling and reskilling faster.

This real-life practice delivers outstanding results – measurable growth for people and organizations. In fact, as a result of our experiential learning solutions powered by simulations, 94% of participants reported applying what they learned in a program to their job function. 

And even better? You can leverage simulations to deliver the most effective, engaging learning possible – for the same investment as traditional eLearning. Want to learn more about how simulations can help you achieve your learning and development goals? 

We’d love to help. Book your ask-us-anything call right here.