role-play

eSimulations: Are You Up to the Challenge?

In my last blog, I outlined the merits of eSimulations and explored some compelling reasons why recent advances have made them more effective than live role-play. In short, today’s eSimulations:

  • Can now contain hundreds (and in some cases thousands) of video-based nodes, meaning they can accurately reflect small changes in tone and language.
  • Deliver a consistent experience for every user, eliminate the variability inherent in a live human role-player and can be scored in such a way that they eliminate rater (coach) bias.
  • Provide significantly more practice opportunities than classroom-based live-role play.

So yes, it’s a great time to consider (or reconsider) bringing eSimulations into your training and development curriculum. Blueline Simulations would be proud to partner with you to find the perfect fit for your organization.

Look before you leap

What if this all sounds good, but your organization isn’t quite ready to make the leap all the way into “intelligent” eSimulations? That’s where Management Challenge™ comes in.

Management Challenge™ offers many of the same benefits in a hybrid solution that utilizes technology to enhance the live role-player experience. It delivers a role-play with the consistency of experience of a well-designed eSimulation that’s responsive to managers in the age of social media and engagement… yet doesn’t sacrifice the individualized feedback and coaching of a live classroom.mgmt-challenge-questions

Working in table teams, learners are quickly drawn into a computer-based simulation in which they must run a fictional organization for three consecutive quarters. They compete to deliver the highest return on human resources by identifying, motivating, coaching and developing talent.

Along the way, they face realistic challenges such as:

  • How do I allocate my resources most effectively across multiple projects?
  • How do I increase employee engagement?
  • How do I handle conflict among coworkers?
  • How do I develop my people – both through assignments and through coaching?

Management Challenge™ delivers a vivid learning experience that parallels the real experiences faced by every manager you know.

I invite you to contact us to learn about any of our custom classroom simulations, Blueline Blueprint™ learning visuals or other innovative delivery methods that have been generating notable business results in leading organizations worldwide for more than 13 years.

eSimulations: Has Live Role-Play Met Its Match?

It’s a common belief that, for all of their plusses, the big minus with eSimulations is their inability to discern nonverbal communication. And with research showing the significant role tone of voice and body language play in human communication, that’s a very big minus.esims-more-effective

Recent advances, however, have changed that. In fact, for many applications, today’s eSimulations are more effective than live role-play on every level. Here are a couple of reasons why:

  • Level 4 eSimulations (using a rules-based gaming engine) are extremely realistic. Now that developers can create hundreds (and in some cases thousands) of video-based nodes, eSimulations can accurately reflect small changes in tone and body language. Throw in the use of voice recognition, and you have an unparalleled user experience!
  • eSimulations deliver a consistent experience for every user. Notice that I didn’t say the same That wouldn’t be accurate because, in theory, depending on the number of nodes, hundreds could face the same choices and have the same opportunities, but because of the decisions they make, have a completely unique experience. eSimulations eliminate the variability inherent in a live human role-player and can be scored in such a way that they eliminate rater (coach) bias as well.
  • eSimulations can provide significantly more practice opportunities than classroom-based live-role play. For each live role-play, you need to engage two people and optimally three, who often then rotate roles. In the same or less time, all three people could accomplish three rounds of practice each, and probably more, through eSimulation.

That said, eSimulations still aren’t for everyone – primarily because of price. While development costs have dropped dramatically as developers have improved processes and tools, the relative value of this technology is still dictated by the volume of users who can benefit. While some off-the-shelf solutions can serve small numbers of users cost effectively, custom applications typically need an audience of 100 or more users to be cost effective.

I invite you to contact us to learn about any of our custom classroom simulations, Blueline Blueprint™ learning visuals or other innovative delivery methods that have been generating notable business results in leading organizations worldwide for more than 13 years.

Coaching Skills Faster Than Ever Thought Possible with Breakthrough Technology!

Prior to founding Blueline Simulations, I spent nearly 10 years at Development Dimensions International (DDI). For those of you who aren’t familiar with DDI’s history, its cofounders, Douglas Bray and Bill Byham, were pioneers in the field of industrial/organizational psychology. They brought the power of assessment centers to corporate America through ATT’s Management Progress Study.

Okay, a few of you knew that already. But did you know that they also transformed our profession when they pioneered behavior modeling with the introduction of Interaction Management in the mid 70s?

Behavior modeling, in this vernacular, is just as it sounds.  It’s the use of a positive model to demonstrate effective behavior followed by the opportunity to practice applying behaviors in their proper context. Over the last 40 years, DDI has helped to develop millions of leaders using the most advanced behavior modeling techniques conceived. And those techniques have been widely adopted and applied throughout our industry to develop a full range of interpersonal skills. But even with these advanced techniques, the success of behavior modeling has been limited by our ability as trainers to create opportunities for the learner to safely practice applying behaviors in their proper context.

Have you ever participated in a role-play or “skills practice,” whether pre-created or do-it-yourself, whether in bi-ads, tri-ads or quads? If so, then you know all too well the primary failure points: the role player and the coach. Let me see if I can recreate a familiar experience for you…

Imagine Stu, the role player who wouldn’t share anything with you no matter how much you reinforced his self-esteem, listened and responded empathetically, or asked for his help? Or, do you recall Sarah, the role player who spilled everything with you as soon as you opened the conversation? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! What about when Stu destroyed your self-esteem by explaining that you didn’t do anything right? Or when Sarah wasted your time by recounting that you couldn’t have done anything any better?

The big problem with role play is inconsistency. That’s because role plays are absolutely dependent on the role player. Success depends on the role player’s ability to do three very hard things extremely well: 1) play the role correctly, 2) deliver effective – and absolutely consistent – feedback, and 3) offer remediation to the learner. If you get a very savvy role player, you have an amazing experience. If you don’t, all that time spent in training was at best wasted, or at worst created confusion, fear, and who knows what else.

Simulation has long held the promise of being able to solve the “inconsistency dilemma” associated with role play. But candidly, very few interpersonal skills simulations feel real enough that the learner becomes fully immersed in the experience. It’s hard to create a human conversation with technology. And if the learner isn’t fully engaged retention suffers – in some studies, by as much as 60 percent.

Introducing SIMmersion PeopleSIM: Coaching and Performance Counseling.

The SIMmersion PeopleSIM is unique in that it blends cutting edge technology with sound instructional design to create opportunities for the learner to safely practice applying coaching behaviors in their proper context.  It provides detailed feedback and offers comprehensive remediation on the spot. And it busts through the “reality barrier” with its optional voice recognition module and a massive database of nodes (or possible responses). In fact, it offers so many different discussion threads (guided by the rules and probabilities entered into its proprietary gaming engine) that if 100 different people spoke with the simulated direct report on the screen, they could literally all have different experiences. Try it for yourself with this free demo.

Want to experience the future of interpersonal skills development? Give the talent management experts at Blueline a call today and test drive Simmersion PeopleSIM™.