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People Development and Learning Through Simulation

A Highly Effective and Powerful Learning Methodology For Learning both Hard and Soft Business Skills

By Don Jones

It has been known for thousands of years that experience is a powerful way of learning. The famous and often quoted words of the 6th Century B.C. Chinese Philosopher Lao Tsu echo the ancient wisdom that underlies the modern day basis for why experiential learning in one form or another has stood the test of time as a highly effective learning tool. ” I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. ”

Today, close to 70% of corporations are using business simulations as part of their repertoire of training methodologies to educate their management and staff at all levels. One of the many reasons for this is that experiential learning programs have very high information retention rates amongst participants. A study in Training and Development Journal, stated: ” People retain about 25% of what they hear, 45% of what they see and hear, and 70% of what they see, hear and do. ”

Another study conducted by Linda B. Specht, CPA, J.D., and Petrea K. Dandlin, CPA, Ph.D., led both to the conclusion that simulations were equally good at teaching a new skill or idea as traditional methods, but they were clearly superior in long term retention of the information processed. The research is in. Simulations are a tried, tested and proven effective way of teaching a wide range of knowledge and skills without the costs and risks associated with trial and error learning in the real world; and they do this in dramatically compressed time frames.