Software simulations – is it all button pushing?

Confused Woman Viewing Computer Monitor

A typical software simulation gives a learner practice and experience using the software by entering dummy information and clicking buttons in a safe environment. This is invaluable in helping learners become familiar with the software and understanding how it operates.

However, what a typical software simulation doesn’t do is provide context for why, how, and when the software should be used. Context is where thought is given to how the software will be used in different situations, rather than just learning how the software operates.  Practicing scenarios of how to use the software in realistic situations, such as, customer interactions, will provide context. Learning software in context can make the difference between successful software implementation and failure.

Story telling is a great way of providing context and makes learning more memorable. Stories can be embedded in software simulations so they aren’t just about button pushing. They will give real life context of how features of the software will be used. Here is an example of story telling by embedding a scenario in a software simulation:

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Some software simulations are better suited to being a blend of elearning methods. For example, as well as having screen captures, incorporating animations and audio to tell stories about why, how and when to use features of the system.

To learn new software you need to be able to do more than button push and enter information. First you need to know why you’re using the software and be motivated to use it! Then you need to know how to use it in real life situations.

Please share your thoughts and let me know if there was something useful for you in this post.

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