Feb 262011

Simulations: Three Types of Learning Simulations

Simulations: By Bruce Lewolt, CEO of BrainX

Here is an overview of the three types of learning simulations :

1. Instruction simulations

These have scenes where the learner has to answer questions, pick which of the answer options most closely matches their answer and read the explanations for why their answer was right or wrong. If it was wrong, the learner reads the material on why the right answer is right. The learner answers the perfect practice question and records their perfect practice answer. Finally, the learner records the perfect practice answer and optionally sends it to a manager, or subject matter expert for review.  These simulations are done multiple times. The number of times and the number of days to skip between practice sessions are suggested by the intelligent learning  system, using the algorithms  developed, on the ideal spacing to build the brain to mastery in the shortest amount of time.

2. Benchmarking simulations

The client can use prior to building instructional simulations to capture what everyone is currently doing. These simulations don’t provide any answer to choose from, or any suggestions as to what the right way is to answer the perfect practice questions. Learners simply write their answers to the questions and record their answers. The answers they write to each question, as well as the responses they write and record in the perfect practice sessions are captured to a database where they can be analyzed. Generally, management looks at the top 10 highest performing people, the top 20 average performers and the top 10 lowest performers.  The numbers are subjective and are totally up to the client – for example, the client could analyze every response if they desired. The analysis provides a clear picture of what the top performers do that makes them so effective. It also helps  identify the most common mistakes.  The answers and recordings from the top performers are used to create the Best Practices in the Instructional Simulations.  It’s easy to capture the two or three very best recordings and let future learners listen to them in the Perfect Practice sessions that are provided in the Instructional Simulations. The most common mistakes become the wrong answers in the instructional simulations.

3. Contest simulations.

These are most often used to raise product awareness and build excitement prior to a national sales meeting, or live training. They work like the Instructional simulation in that they have questions, that have to be answered after watching a scene. Unlike the benchmarking simulations, the learner is shown a list of possible answers and they have to pick which of their answers most closely matches the correct answer.  The difference is that in the grading, they don’t see which is the right answer or how many points they earned. In the perfect practice there is no guidance as to what the right response should be. They simply answer the question and record their answer.  The intelligent learning system knows the correct answer and their answers are graded and points are assigned.  It is just that these are all hidden from the learners as they are taking the contest simulations.

Each person can only take the contest simulation one time and after they have completed a scene they can’t back up. As they go through, their points and answers are captured to a locked database and report. Only people on the contest administration team can see the reports. At the meeting, or live training, the results are unveiled. The learning committee can decide to show individual results, but the best thing is to show the total points earned per office. That way offices compete against each other and every members score is important as it adds to the total. Additionally, at the meeting, the committee can play the 3 or 4 best verbal responses and give people prizes for the best.

Training option:

Contest simulations and instructional simulations have the option for the learner to receive training prior to taking the simulation. In the contest simulation, the committee can create some training material on the new product service that is going to be the focus of the meeting. For example, in advance of a sales meeting people on the learning committee can send out training material on a  new product, or material on an existing product that is going to be a part of a big marketing push for the next year. Sales people study the material and have to use the material in the simulations. Because the simulations are a fun contest and because their results and possible their recordings are going to be unveiled at the national meeting, they have a high level of motivation to learn the material and do well on the simulations.


In addition to the learning benefit of the contest simulations, these contest provide excitement for the meeting and generate a buzz about who did the best.  All of this helps make the meeting or training a learning success.

Related Simulations and Sales Performance Improvement Information:

My Gift to Sales Leaders –  Sales Metrics Tools

Sales Learning, Roleplay and Transfer Technology

Sales Employee Selection and Employee Development

Sales Performance Improvement Comprehensive Toolset


Tom McDonald, tsm@centurytel.net; 608-788-5144; Skype: tsmw5752

simulations, McDonald Sales and Marketing, LLC