Digital English Lab

Simulation-based Learning: 3 Reasons Why It Works


Simulation-based learning has been around for such a long time now that it has become commonplace. Several industries are using it:

  • Aviation – Pilots in training use flight simulators to get familiar with plane controls and practice flying in different weather and landing conditions.
  • Math – Mathematicians and economists are using simulations to study probabilities and statistics in a theoretical event.
  • Manufacturing – Such plants now have simulation tools to plan, design, and train automated processes and manufacturing systems.
  • Medical – Med students are using simulations to practice surgeries, crisis interventions, and administer prescriptions.

In the eLearning industry, the pandemic only accelerated simulation-based learning. Here are some real-life examples that can help you understand.

1. Recently, the University of South Australia conducted several simulated activities in-person when the campuses reopened. Several simulated scenarios (computed tomography sim, vacbag manufacture, tattooing, personal protective equipment, etc.) enabled the university to achieve all clinical placement learning outcomes.

2. Glendale Community College in California has developed a tax simulation game for a microeconomics principles course. It teaches students to explain the link between a tax system and income distribution, identify the distributional effects of different taxes, and justify the chosen tax incidence. Students can set federal, state, and local taxes.

3. BBC developed an interesting simulation on the refugee experience mirroring the Syrian refugee crisis triggered in 2015 to help students understand the experience of the refugees and the dilemmas they faced while fleeing to Europe.

What is simulated learning anyways?

Let’s get deep into what is a simulated learning experience. You can think of simulation as a novel teaching method that tests your knowledge and skill levels by placing you in immersive problem-solving scenarios. In a simulation, usually, the instructor defines the parameters, with the end-goal being to create a safe environment for hands-on learning experiences.

Simulated training is being used in several industries to teach learners the skills needed in the real world, as we saw from the examples above. A simulation is considered effective if it answers your question, “If I do this, what happens?”

In a simulation you can test out different scenarios to see what works through a trial-and-error approach, giving you the knowledge and confidence to apply your new skills in the real world. And today, with the help of video recordings and advanced analytics, the instructor can analyze training sessions, identify errors, and discuss alternative approaches with learners.

Why simulated learning works?

Three solid reasons why it works.

1. Practical learning: How many times have you all heard this in school – “Practical is always better than theory.” And there is merit to that. Simulations can give you practical experience in the real world and prepare you well. As a med student, you can learn to perform operations and understand human anatomy better through 3-D simulations. Or, if you’re a business school student, you can learn about building better products, market, sell and service them. Bottom line, you can focus on crisis resource management and develop knowledge, skills, and attitudes in a safe and secure environment.

2. Instant feedback and a great retention aid: Learning-based simulations offer real-time and prompt feedback. You can get constructive and instant feedback, which helps you improve your skills. You can also try new, alternative skills or methods to improve old methods and test new tools. Plus, simulations make learning fun for you. Think of how much you retain from watching a fun video on machine learning algorithms rather than reading a long pdf file filled with numbers and graphs. Simulation-based learning programs equip you to better understand the actions you can take in a situation, which validates the results of training and makes it effective.

3. Collaborative skills: Perhaps, another most significant benefit of simulation-based learning is developing your collaborative skills in a fun way. In a simulated environment, you are introduced to several real-life scenarios, which would need you to collaborate with other members of your team. You also get insights into your own behavior.

The future of simulation-based learning

With Virtual Reality simulators becoming more accessible, less expensive, and increasingly realistic, simulation-based learning are the go-to mode for bridging the gap between structured training and real-life experiences.

Today learners are digital technology natives, so their expectation is that training will challenge them, immerse them into a personalized learning journey. Simulation-based learning helps meet that learner expectations by offering VR experiences, 3D-avatar based learning environments or AI-based role-play simulations.

This helps to accelerate the learning curve of learners in a simulated environment, reproducing real-life conditions without time or space limitations and much fewer risks than real environments. It’s also supported by a recent study, supported by the Korea World Bank Partnerships Facility. The study shows that VR training is, on average, more effective than traditional training, developing students’ technical, practical, and socio-emotional skills. And the results are particularly promising in the fields of health and safety, engineering, and technical education.

How can Liqvid help?

Training simulations should not be created in isolation. Businesses need a robust learning management system for delivery and analytics to loop in feedback and continuous improvement of the learner. We have been creating simulations for educational institutions for a few years, and the demand has been increasing since the pandemic hit us.

One of our recent projects was about developing a multi-player, virtual pharmacy simulation game for a polytechnic in Singapore to make their students proficient in routine tasks performed in a pharmacy – receiving, typing, packaging, and dispensing. And the result – improved engagement, better learning, and retention!

Several top vocational training and education institutes are widely using simulations for skill development. Contact us if you need a partner to help make your simulation-based learning needs a reality.

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Talking Head Videos for eLearning: 4 Reasons Why They Work


Videos are great storytellers. They can get your audience to connect and communicate with you on a deeper emotional level, even more than words or pictures. They also help build trust as people can “see” you, what you stand for, and really “connect.”

This is where talking head videos are making waves, especially in eLearning. People are spending more time online. And though there are different kinds of video formats, talking head videos have gained a strong foothold— especially post-COVID, when the need for in-person interactions is sky-high.

And it’s also the most straightforward solution to use in your training.

What is a Talking Head Video?

A talking head video is, literally, a video with a person explaining or talking about a topic directly to the camera. In this video format, only the person’s upper body and head are visible.

The instructor is usually off-center in such videos, and the background is primarily blank or plain. Sometimes, the instructor’s image is showcased in a picture-in-picture (PIP) frame in the corner, and the rest of the screen is filled with a screencast, software simulation, or visuals to highlight or support the presenter’s points.

Here are some examples of talking videos in eLearning:

>> “The Future of Storytelling” MOOC by the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam (FH Potsdam) – A plus point of this video is that it’s not just a recording of a lecture that has been uploaded online. The instructor is natural in front of the camera and genuinely likable.

>> Algebra Basics by Rob in Math Antics – Another great example of a talking head video introducing the concepts of unknown values and variables in algebra.

>> Chief Learning Officer video – It’s a slightly different style of a talking head video, where the presenter talks about creating the infrastructure to support lifelong learning. This video creates a more immersive effect with the view transitioning from the camera laptop to the external camera and vice versa.

Done well, talking head videos can help your learners get to know the instructors and institution and provide a personalized experience.

4 Reasons Why Talking Head Videos Work

1. Cheap and easy to create – The sheer number of talking head videos on platforms like YouTube or Vimeo shows the popularity of this format. And it’s primarily because of the minimal operational costs. All you need is a camera, the video script, an editing tool, and you’re good to go! Anyone with knowledge about the subject matter can create them, and it’s also turning out to be a great resource for cultivating a knowledge-sharing culture.

2. Accommodate different learning styles – Not all learners are the same when it comes to retention and comprehension. And the larger your audience, the more diverse are their respective learning styles. Some people respond to words, while others learn better with visuals or audio. With talking head videos, you can ensure that every learner is receiving information in a format that’s easy to digest.

3. The human element – Perhaps, the most important reason for the popularity of such videos. Research suggests that we are more motivated when there’s a human figurehead providing guidance. Such videos offer a semblance and warmth of in-person interactions in the remote and contactless world through several nonverbal cues, including facial expressions, hand gestures, and intonation. Also, instructors often speak directly into the camera in a talking head video to create a personal, one-on-one learning experience.

4. Aligns well with microlearning – Microlearning (bite-sized learning, where the topic is broken into easy-to-learn small chunks) has become a dominant form of course delivery in eLearning. One of the microlearning course types resembles the talking-head video format, consisting of an interview with an expert where they are asked burning questions. The entire interview is recorded and then divided into several shorter clips or micro-videos.

Use More Talking Head Videos to Supercharge Your eLearning

Talking head videos are common, classic, and proving to be extremely effective in eLearning. Because they are so simple to create, practically anyone can make them with minimal overhead. However, there are several experienced eLearning content development companies like Liqvid who can guide you.

We can build your courses with a thorough understanding of your organization’s training goals and vision for the learning curriculum. We have designed several interactive video learning for various global education providers. Recently, we designed talking head-style video courses to transition the green rating certifications for GRIHA-certified projects online due to COVID-19. We integrated such videos into the existing modules with enhanced graphics, resulting in an uninterrupted certification program with a solid online learning experience.

Contact us today to see how we can create interactive talking head videos that work for you.

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