5 ways to create mistake-based learning environments
1. SimulationsSimulations are a snapshot of a programme or app. They allow users to explore a limited number of designated functions with customizable levels of scaffolding. Simulations either allow newfound knowledge to be put into practice, or offer an opportunity for employees to learn as they go.
Simulations can help learners to discover:
The basics of new software.
How to complete important activities using HR programs.
An overview of a new app.
How to navigate the UI of a new product.
How to resolve errors on machines, such as card payment terminals or mobile phones.
How to code.
Sandboxes provide an isolated, secure copy of a website or program, so any tasks performed using it have no effect on the original. Data can be copied over from the main site or platform, and, if the data is sensitive or personal, it can be anonymized. Sandboxes are typically used to test new pieces of software, but they are being used more and more within Learning and Development. They allow learners to engage with a wider variety of functions than a simulation, and are typically used without scaffolding.
Sandboxes can help learners to explore:
- How changes to processes can affect other employees or customers.
- Solutions to customer-based scenarios, such as ordering replacement parts or responding to communications.
- The effects of changes to website coding or database designs.
- Changes to measurements, materials, or environmental conditions in product, interior, or architectural designs.
Chatbots are programmed to respond to human input, such as customer queries sent through a chat function on a website. Levels of complexity vary drastically depending on the chatbot type and the intended use. Basic chatbots follow a script and may only respond in limited ways, whereas chatbots with AI draw on large databases of information and can replicate human communication. Chatbots can be combined with other approaches to mistake-based learning, such as VR, for more immersive learning experiences, or used as a standalone resource.
Chatbots can help learners to:
- Practise resolving customer queries in a contact center environment.
- Explore sales techniques when talking to retail customers.
- Pitch to potential clients.
- Investigate different approaches for coaching or HR conversations.
- Practice interview techniques.
- Test different voice commands for products.
4. AR (Augmented Reality)
Augmented reality (AR) inserts a virtual, computer-generated image into a person’s view of the real world. Wear OS by Google have created a virtual try-on experience for Fossil smartwatches to help both customers and employees to learn about different smartwatch models, and it can also help employees to understand the sales journey from a customer perspective. Using AR like this in training can help learners understand how their decisions affect the real world, and by using AR through a mobile phone or tablet app, screenshots of their decisions could be used to inform discussion and reflection.
AR can help learners to visualize:
- How furniture or product placement could affect employee or customer Health and Safety.
- The setup of different product bundles in a home or workplace.
- Different product materials, dimensions and features, to evaluate which are best suited for particular environments or locations.
- Plans for marketing and product placement within a store or showroom.
5. VR (Virtual Reality)
Virtual reality (VR) places the learner in 360° computer-generated surroundings which they can navigate and interact with. The logistics and aviation industry in particular has been ahead of the game using VR as an immersive training experience, allowing employees to learn in a safe, fun and truly memorable way.
In 2017, IATA launched their RampVR(™) solution, the First Virtual Reality Training Tool for Ground Operations, enabling ground crew to safely immerse themselves in ramp operations and experience a variety of scenarios in different operating conditions.
VR can help employees to make judgements about the environment they are in, and changeable factors within that environment.
VR can help learners to experiment with:
- The layouts of buildings, stores, and offices.
- Driving and piloting vehicles.
- Customer interactions.
- Different resolutions to problems they may encounter with their industry or workplace.
These approaches are effective when they are used for short, structured activities as a part of a training session or training curriculum. The outcomes of different scenarios can be used purely for reflection, or to inform the differentiation and personalization of future training for individual learners.
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