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Most people don’t learn from reading and memorizing. They learn by doing. So why are so many learning models centered around basic memorization? These methods are outdated, ineffective, and unenjoyable. 

Retaining information is a top priority when it comes to effective learning & development (L&D), and information is more likely to stick when learners glean both knowledge and enjoyment from their training. Although many will roll their eyes when they think about organizational training, corporate training should feel rewarding and engaging while still offering a challenge to the learner. So how can organizations implement this learning model in their training initiatives? Enter skills practice through scenario-based learning simulation.

Simulations offer a more realistic learning experience, translating into actual skill development and knowledge application in the field. This means learners are better suited to handle these situations in the context of their role. When employers prepare their workforce for the future, employees are equipped to tackle their organization’s biggest challenges, creating a win-win situation.

What Is Scenario-Based Learning?

Scenario-based learning uses immersive storylines to replicate real-life events and circumstances. This form of corporate training mimics real-world practices and applications through interactive scenarios that focus on core business needs. For example, instead of watching a video about good decision-making in leadership, learners practice making challenging decisions in a simulation. Needless to say, this type of learning model is a step up from the traditional, minimally engaging eLearning, helping learners to truly develop skills. 

When people learn by doing, they reap all the benefits of learning from their mistakes without the consequences of those mistakes unfolding in real life. Skills-based learning, valuable to modern L&D efforts because the approach is purposefully distinct from more archaic learning practices. 

Learning simulations enable learners to practice hard-to-learn skills in real-world contexts. This type of learning doesn’t just mimic real life—it makes realistic content and scenarios more digestible and engaging by providing a safe environment to make mistakes (and actively learn from them). 

Virtually every role in an organization can benefit from training methods like skills practice simulations. There are many advantages to using this approach, including:

Increasing Training ROI

Because workplaces are complex and dynamic environments, it can be difficult to determine which corporate training initiatives to invest in to advance your workforce. Naturally, the most effective learning tactics will vary by industry, business, and even department, but simulations are highly adaptable, with applications in virtually every sector. 

When properly implemented, immersive learning experiences noticeably improve performance through skill practice. Simulations give learners the know-how to approach certain situations without the anxiety typically accompanied by unfamiliar happenstance.

Fully Engaging Learners

Skills-based learning via simulation replicates authentic experiences with real impact. They are immersive and based on reality, promoting maximum engagement and applicable skill development. Learners can weigh and make decisions in real time and receive timely feedback from facilitators, stakeholders, and coworkers. Moreover, many simulations employ familiar gaming elements, helping drive stronger engagement and retention. When learners are fully invested in their training, distraction is minimized and productive interactions thrive.

Going Beyond Basic Knowledge Retention

The learn-by-doing model facilitates active problem-solving and encourages critical thinking, leading to higher retention. But more importantly than its retention rate, this type of learning facilitates skill development through conscious practice, transcending knowledge retention and moving the learner into practical application. Feedback is also a huge part of experiential learning models, enabling learners to address specific topics and themes that need more attention. 

Additionally, most people learn best through personal experiences, so the immersive storytelling element of scenario-based learning makes information easier to remember and recall, especially as it combines with actual skill practice. This more engaging content helps evoke emotions and stimulate various senses in ways that traditional teaching cannot achieve.

Developing Confidence

Scenario-based learning simulations give learners experiences they wouldn’t otherwise have, allowing them to feel more confident in skills they’re still developing. As mentioned earlier, experiential settings mean learners can make and learn from mistakes without punitive consequences. 

A great use case of simulations is when leadership development is an essential part of an organization’s talent strategy. Organizations depend on their leaders to innovate for the future while adhering to the highest standards of ethical conduct. Learners develop the capacity to lead by practicing situations that demand strong leadership skills, such as ethical decision-making, interpersonal communication, and strategic thinking. By boosting confidence, competence also emerges, highlighting how practice-based simulations accelerate greater speed-to-performance on the job. This serves as a win-win for the employer and employee alike.

Encouraging Psychological Safety

Learning is often viewed as purely cognitive, but deep psychological and emotional fundamentals affect an individual’s learning process. A feeling of psychological safety, or “the belief that one can express oneself without fear of the negative consequences,” impacts comfort and ease in one’s educational journey. Simulations offer a safe, collaborative environment for learners to practice new skills that help them grow, learn, and thrive. By providing a metaphorical safety net, skills practice simulations further lessen the anxiety associated with trying something new and cultivates psychological safety in the workplace.

Participate in the Future of L&D

From building confidence to promoting psychological safety, the benefits of scenario-based learning, specifically skills practice simulations, for both learners and employers are clear. When designed and implemented strategically, simulations offer tactical advantages, including (but not limited to):

  • Risk mitigation
  • Scalability
  • Alignment to business strategies
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Transferable skill development 

Learners are evolving, forcing L&D initiatives to evolve with them. Employers must adapt or risk being outdone by competitors and losing valuable team members. It’s the organization’s responsibility to prepare its workforce for the future and retain their loyalty by providing ample learning opportunities. Skills practice simulations offer the answer, as they encourage teamwork, practical application of skills, and creative problem-solving, leading to better retention and results. 

The Regis Company partners with organizations to design, develop, and deploy learning experiences that are engaging, effective, and human-centered, better preparing learners (and their organizations) for the future. Request a demo and start building your path to productivity with our skills-based learning solutions.