Simulation-Based Training

Simulation-Based Training

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An instructional methodology in which the trainees, through simulations or situation scenario, can learn by practising skills taught and experiencing mistakes before interacting in the real world. This methodology is typically goal oriented and focus learners on specific facts, concepts or application of reality. For example, simulation exercises are often designed to evaluate a wide range of contingency plans and to train the personnel involved.

Simulation-based training is often associated with full replicas of real equipment - often with computer systems, motion systems, and high-quality graphics. This is not the case, as simulation-based learning in broadest sense can include:

  • Real equipment used in a non-operational training context
  • Basic computer-based multi-media graphics and animations
  • Desk-top computer-based training and assessment
  • High fidelity driving and signalling simulators
  • Tabletop exercices and role play where technology-based simulators are not available: Tabletop exercises normally consist of interactive discussions of a simulated scenario among members of a response team but do not involve the mobilization of personnel or equipment. They are usually conducted in a conference room or series of rooms connected by telephone lines, and focus on the roles and actions of the individuals, the interactions between the various parties and the development

of information and response strategies. A simple and early form of tabletop exercise would be a response team going through the contingency plan, page by page, testing each other’s activities in response to an imaginary situation. A more complex tabletop exercise might involve several groups, including outside parties, playing their roles.

For the acquisition of critical assessment and management skills, simulation-based training give more results than problem-based learning. The key components of simulation-based training are as follows:

Toolkit.png Implementing a Simulation-Based Training

General Guidelines

  1. Identifying where simulation is appropriate or essential.
  2. Understanding the training needs and requirements.
  3. Defining instructional design such as performance measurement and feedback must be embedded within the simulation.
  4. Creating crafts scenarios based on guidance from the learning outcomes.
  5. Creating opportunities for assessing and diagnosing individual and/or team performance within the simulation.
  6. Guiding the learning.
  7. Focusing on cognitive/psychological simulation fidelity.
  8. Forming a mutual partnership between subject matter experts and learning experts.
  9. Ensuring that the training program worked. [2].

Guiding principles

When designing and conducting exercises, there are certain guiding principles that should be observed:

  • Set clear, realistic and measurable objectives for an exercise.
  • The thrust of exercising is to improve - not to impress.
  • Simpler, more frequent exercises lead to faster improvements initially.
  • Do not tackle complex exercises until personnel are experienced and competent.
  • Too many activities and participants can overcomplicate an exercise.
  • Evaluating the exercise successfully is as important as conducting it successfully.
  • Planning and conducting a successful exercise is a significant accomplishment.

Planning Process Step by Step

Exercice planning consists of four separate activities - design, develop, conduct and review - that collectively describe the process for creating and running realistic and successul exercises. The process is defined as follows:

  1. Design: the design phase sets the objectives and scope and approval sets out the timetable necessary for completion.
    • Appoint coordinator
    • Set objectives
    • Determine scope
    • Establish plan
    • Set the date
  2. Develop: the development phase describes those steps that are taken to create the exercise and prepare and organize fully for exercise activities.
    • Establish coordination /initiate Steering Group
    • Develop scenario
    • Finalize plans
  3. Conduct: The actual conduct of the exercise activity consists of initiating and maintaining the exercice by simulating, monitoring, controling and facilitating activities to ensure that the exercise remains within the design parameters. It also involves documentation of the participants'activities and termination of the exercise.
    • Brief participants
    • Initiate play
    • Maintain exercise
    • Evaluate activities
    • Teminate play
  4. Review: The review phase consists of collecting and analising data, documenting findings and recommendations for improvement. and ensuring information is fed back to management or people concerned. As the activity plan is revised and updated, the exercise programme is similarly adjusted to take into account the lessons learned from prior exercises.
    • Collect data
    • Analyse events
    • Report findings
    • Make recommendations
    • Effect improvements

Job Aid

Pdf.png Simulation-Based Training


  1. Wikipedia (21 January 2009), January 2009), January 2009)
  2. (21 January 2009),