Why Many Industries Prefer Simulator Training Courses to the Traditional Approach
Climbing into a car or plane with an instructor could put both parties at risk. By contrast, simulator training courses eliminate danger and are more efficient. Many people believe that simulation-based training is a modern concept. In practice, there is evidence that stone carvings of the human form were used to instil confidence in students training as physicians in Eurasia as much as 26,000 years ago. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, also advocated models to enable his students to practice repeatedly and perfect their practical techniques.
While much of the early focus of simulations revolved around healthcare applications, models were also used to train Rome’s gladiators to use various weapons and coach medieval knights in the art of jousting. As the world became more industrialised, new skills were necessary. In many cases, imparting those skills using sophisticated interactive simulations rather than continuing to use traditional methods has proved to offer several advantages.
Simulators have retained and expanded their role in and beyond healthcare. Today, they are widely employed in aviation, space exploration, defence, firefighting, shipping, mining, manufacturing, science education and every branch of the energy industry, from solar and wind power to coal-, oil and gas-fired and nuclear plants.
What Are Simulator Training Courses?
If you are an online gaming fan, you already have a pretty good insight into the nature of simulator-based training. The latter leverages powerful gaming technology to create lifelike work scenarios with which trainees can interact and receive instant auditory, visual and, in some cases, tactile feedback. Like the games that employ this technology, they are compelling, capturing and holding the user’s attention to a degree that few human teachers or trainers could ever hope to match.
There is no magic involved in this technology. Simulations are merely computer programs, albeit exceptional ones, that can recreate the user’s workplace, equipment and various scenarios and enable the two to interact, much like a smartphone app. Users can operate controls via a touchscreen and observe the results. A program may provide helpful prompts if a trainee appears hesitant, record the time to complete a given task or require users to complete a task-related quiz to assess their performance. In short, game-based simulations can duplicate anything a human trainer can do but faster and more effectively.
Simulator Training Courses: The Options
- Generic: These draw on a library of objects and functions included in the development software with which a trainer can create animated approximations of equipment and control systems. While the scenes are models rather than perfect reproductions, the learning scenarios remain highly effective.
- Bespoke: Data from a 3D scan of the user’s workplace can be used to create a 3D model of everything scanned, accurate in every detail, to provide a more realistic experience.
- Partial or full-scope: While some simulator training courses may focus on just one or two aspects of an operation, others may include scenarios for all the required activities. The former can be helpful to familiarise existing personnel with a newly introduced system or upgrade.
- Virtual instructor: This refers to specialised software that can add tasks usually performed by a live trainer to a simulation, such as the hints, timed assignments and tests mentioned earlier. It can also enable the processing of data from testing to generate progress reports.
When deploying simulations via a LAN, trainees can access the system whenever they have spare time. Furthermore, their retention levels will improve because they can repeat every action as often as needed to perfect them. Networking also enables trainers to oversee multiple learners, monitor their activities and intervene to offer helpful suggestions when necessary.
Simulator Training Courses Create Employment Opportunities
Time spent simulating the operation of a heavy goods vehicle could earn you a job with a haulage company happy to pay the cost of completing your training. However, at the moment, South Africa’s electricity-generating industry is desperate for new blood due to its ageing workforce and steady loss of experienced operators through retirement. The national service provider has experienced great results following the introduction of training simulators in selected plants.
SimGenics is a leading developer and supplier of simulated training solutions using the world-renowned 3D PACT and SIMUPACT software, which it also supplies for trainers to develop their own. If you want a faster, safer and more effective practical training option, why not contact us to find out how we can help?