Learning by Doing Book Review

Been reading a book called Learning by Doing by Clark Aldrich. Even though many of the examples in the book come from industry and the military, his frameworks allow those examples to be translated into higher education. I liked it because it had guidelines for developing and implementing simulations in real-life. I thought I would share with you all my findings.

System simulations, created using software such as Adobe Captivate or Articulate, serve several purposes when used in eLearning. They are a great way to learn system navigation without using the actual system. I have been developing solutions using these products for years and it is quite amazing how flexible and fun it is to build these. For those not in the know, you can create simulations in several different ways, depending on the type of interaction you are looking for in your course.

Demonstration (aka Show Me based simulations) – Here, the learners watch it just like a video. The learner watches the steps in a procedure with text describing what is happening. You can even use audio using a recorded narration or text-to-speech technology. While this may be a good way to introduce system navigation, I feel that it lacks the interaction required for the learner to truly get “hands on” experience in using the system.

Guided Practice (aka Try Me based simulations) – This simulation type guides the learner through a procedure. It is as if the learner is actually using the system, but it includes text and/or audio to help guide the learner what to do. I found this the best way to use a system simulation in an eLearning course to teach the user navigation, because it includes click-by-click instructions. It also is a safe environment where the learner can make mistakes without interfering with a live system or real data.

Assessment (aka Test Me based simulations) – This simulation, is similar to the Try Me mode and has the learner click through a sequence of steps to reach a desired result. The difference is that there is no guidance/help cues. The learner has to rely on their own knowledge to complete the simulation. I find that this is the most effective way to identify if the learner has truly learned to navigate the system. However, usually you can only set it up to follow a specific path. Also the learner could get confused and can get “stuck” in the simulation if they do not follow the correct path and cannot proceed. I overcome this with feedback “bubbles” that appear when the learner clicks in the wrong places after a certain amount of attempts (usually 3).

So, there you have it, an insight into how I create simulation based eLearning solutions. Hope it helps some of you out there.

Published by theirishduck

I love the ability where I can plan, prioritise, design, develop and deliver blended learning solutions for a variety of markets. I love to consult and advise about the best use of digital learning and improve design standards in line with evolving ways of working. I also enjoy to keep up to date with, understand and regularly recommend emerging technologies and practice to improve individuals, teams and organisational capabilities. With over 12 years digital learning experience and demonstrated experience in both instructional design and eLearning development, I have also a lot of experience conducting training needs analysis including how to leverage principles such as design thinking and root cause analysis to understand and address performance gaps. I also have led many facilitation workshops and even presented at iDesignX and Game Developers Conferences both here in Australia, Wales and in the United States. I bring loads of coding experience in Java, ASM, C++, HTML, JavaScript, SCORM and xAPI, as well as proven capability using Adobe Captivate, Trivantis Lectora and Articulate Storyline 360 Studio authoring programs. Of course, Adobe Creative Cloud is also part of my toolbox which I also use daily. Being taught traditional and advanced 3D animation techniques, I love hand drawing and polymer clay sculpture, but can also use the Blender, 3D Studio Max, Maya and Softimage applications. With strong multimedia, training and programming backgrounds, I understand modern learner behaviour including micro and social learning, I am very familiar with most LMSes and app-based (XCode and Android Studio), adult learning models and e-solutions. I also possess the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously, whilst being pro-active in delivering work independently with minimal supervision, but enjoy working in teams. I've been told I am a resilient, relationship focused guy which can manage and navigate conflicting views and stakeholders/subject matter experts.

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