Why are simulations better than conventional training methods?

Simulations are being used more than ever before in the field of training. One of the many reasons for this is that they provide a more effective learning experience than traditional methods of instruction. The real power of a simulation is that it enables participants to explore and deal with real-world situations without the real-world risks of harming the company or brand.

Simulations enable learners to develop problem-solving skills in a safe and controlled environment. Additionally, they allow students to practice in various workshop formats, including virtual ones, which can help facilitate cross-cultural understanding, something that is becoming increasingly important in today’s multicultural working environment.

Compared to conventional training methods, simulations are more engaging, efficient, and cost-effective, the ‘lessons learned’ being far more likely to be retained. Furthermore, simulations can be tailored to the needs of the learners, allowing them to gain ‘just the skills they want and need’ in a wide range of realistic situations. Ultimately, simulations offer a more effective and immersive learning experience than traditional ‘listen and learn’ training


What are simulations?

A simulation is a realistic, interactive representation of a real-life process or system. It allows students to practice their skills and strategies in a safe virtual environment that has been intentionally structured to resemble real-world conditions. They can be used in various disciplines, from the military to medicine and business.

There are various types of simulations, ranging from low- to high-fidelity. Low-fidelity simulations are abstract representations that do not include details, while high-fidelity simulations are highly realistic representations that attempt to have as many relevant details as possible.

Although low-fidelity simulations can be less costly, they often provide less realistic training experiences. High-fidelity simulations are more expensive and time-consuming to create. Still, they provide more engaging and practical training experiences, making them more cost-effective in the long run.

Benefits of simulations compared to conventional training methods

Simulations provide a more effective and engaging training experience, often leading to higher retention rates. They are also more efficient and cost-effective than conventional training methods as the ‘message’ can usually be delivered faster. Additionally, simulations suit a more comprehensive range of ‘learning styles,’ which, regardless of the student’s cultural background, allows them to be more efficient at delivering the required knowledge.

Ultimately, simulations enable learners to apply the knowledge they have gained in more realistic and relevant contexts, which helps facilitate the transfer of skills.

How simulations support learning

As mentioned above, the main strength of simulations is that they allow learners to practice and apply their knowledge in a safe yet realistic environment. The fact that the learning process takes place in a real ‘space’ also helps to form new skills and transfer knowledge between the different team members.

In other words, simulations help learners develop metacognitive skills, including critical thinking and problem-solving, which can be applied in various contexts. These skills can help learners to navigate complex and challenging situations in the real world more effectively.

Concrete examples of how simulations can facilitate knowledge transfer and skill formation include: –

– The use of simulations for decision-making exercises allows learners to explore different options in a safe environment and reflect on the outcomes of each option.

– Scenarios that allow learners to apply their knowledge and skills in various contexts and situations.

– The use of simulations for modeling allows learners to experience the outcomes of their actions.

Advantages of simulations over conventional training methods

Simulations have several advantages over conventional training methods. Because they ‘immerse’ the student in an engaging and realistic situation, rather than just having them listen to a teacher and look at potentially boring slides, the information can be transferred in a shorter timescale. Better still, as the skills and knowledge are learned in a ‘do and understand’ way, these new skills tend to ‘stick,’ which makes the whole process more efficient and cost-effective than conventional methods.


Simulations are more engaging than conventional training methods, which can increase learner engagement and retention. They can also be designed to include elements of surprise and uncertainty, which can help to keep the student engaged and interested. Significantly, simulations allow participants to choose their paths through the scenario. Some will select the wrong way, but that, to a degree, is the point, as learning what does work and does not is a vital part of the whole learning process.


Conventional training methods often involve high repetition, which can be time-consuming and tiring for all students. This is particularly the case for learners who are inexperienced or have low confidence in their abilities. On the other hand, simulations allow learners to practice and learn differently, enabling them to make mistakes without fear of punishment or ridicule, everyone being in the same ‘boat,’ so to speak. Learning in this manner can therefore be faster and thus more efficient.


Simulations are often cheaper to implement and maintain than conventional training methods when examined from the overall effectiveness angle. High-fidelity simulations can indeed be expensive, but when the retention level is considered, even these more costly simulations can work out cheaper. 


Simulations are becoming an increasingly popular way of training staff, as they provide a more effective learning experience than conventional methods of instruction. If you are considering using a business simulation as a part of your training portfolio, please consider discussing your requirements with Prendo. They have years of experience and a range of simulations that meet many business and leadership training needs and are sure to help your business become more efficient and profitable.

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