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Analytics! Get the Most Out of Simulations and Virtual Experiential Training

Oct 17, 2019 2:02:03 PM


Analytics 2

Do you wish you could measure where your learners struggle with applying their training in real-world situations? Wouldn’t that data be invaluable when considering additional or follow-up programs? Many of your L&D colleagues have the same wish. In this post, you will learn how you can actually obtain this data while substantially boosting the efficacy of your training programs.

The Need for Analytics in Experiential Training

Acquiring knowledge is important, but for training to be truly effective, it must be experiential. Many training programs - even gamified ones - fail simply because they focus only on knowledge acquisition, and the “metrics” are only a knowledge assessment.

Building 2D simulations within e-learning tools like Articulate, Captivate, iSpring, Elucidat, etc., is a step (albeit a small one), into experiential training. Many L&D professionals lament the lack of analytics in these 2D simulations. There’s a good reason for this frustration.

Traditional e-learning platforms are designed for knowledge acquisition, and lack the power to truly immerse the learner in situations and measure the results.

Therefore, these tools do not provide a detailed, actionable view of learner competency within specific decision-making behaviors.

Skill-building is critical to effective knowledge transfer. When we assess learners’ gaps in their performance, we find that they often struggle with applying knowledge from their training in realistic situations. That’s the true barrier to knowledge transfer. We all know how to gain skill: practice with expert coaching. The challenge with this is that it’s difficult to scale, and even more difficult to gain insightful analytics on what coaching and behavior change is taking place. New immersive technologies can provide an innovative solution.

Immersive Learning Technology with Analytics

Immersive learning technologies are an excellent fit for skill development using the experiential, learn-by-doing, paradigm. We can create realistic virtual experiences, where learners practice making decisions and receive expert coaching. Through this experience, learners recognize patterns of optimal decision making.

To be effective, this virtual experience needs to emulate how humans interact. In a perfect role play for instance, a learner would make different decisions, and their coach would respond, providing feedback through nuanced, mentoring conversation. With this practice and coaching, the learner starts to internalize high-performing behaviors.

An immersive simulation can emulate expert human coaching. In a simulation, virtual humans not only converse with one another, but also respond directly to the learner regarding their behavior in real-world situations. This requires built-in artificial intelligence (AI), to drive decision making, the way a video game would. What is the result? You guessed it: We can capture detailed analytics on each decision!

Capturing data in a digital experience is easy, but reporting it in an accessible format is not. For example, if you know a learner made a certain choice, how do you know the context of that decision? Do you know what performance gap it was related too? This useful context is very difficult to ascertain if all you know is what response or path a learner choose, without a deep understanding of the content.

Decision-specific analytics can be integrated into immersive learning. Building an immersive experience that captures actionable analytics is difficult. It requires that the entire platform be designed from the ground up to capture analytics in a meaningful way.

Most experiential learning systems bolt analytics on at the end. They’re focused on the “experience,” and do not provide insight into the learner’s behavior.

How are insightful analytics integrated into a platform from the beginning? After many years of research, we found that a learning platform must be able to intelligently integrate all essential performance gaps, so they inform on each choice, in every situation. That means every choice is mapped to specific performance gaps in a way that captures the context of the choice and the context of the coaching feedback.

Decision-specific analytics maximize value. Decision-specific analytics, when done well, can show you what performance gaps each learner struggled with: where they needed the most mentoring and coaching before they arrived at optimal decision-making behaviors. Because each learner is exposed to the same situations, you can also gain a consistent, objective view of where the program most impacted their competency across these performance gaps.

Aggregated data across all learners, provide holistic insights into how they are performing. You get an overall view of which performance gaps they struggled with the most. Then you can dive into the specific aspects of those performance gap that were the source of their struggles. These insights can be used to inform on where you might want to focus future training programs. In addition, by adding learner profile data, you can determine which profiles struggled the most with different performance gaps. For example, you may find differences based on geographic region, or perhaps years of experience as a manager, etc.

The Power of Combining Analytics with Immersive Learning

Immersive learning technology is emerging as a powerful tool for organizations to improve performance through scalable learn-by-doing programs. Platforms that report decision-specific analytics can provide actionable, holistic insights into learner competency that are not a “nice to have,” rather a “must have” to ensure the greatest value and best results from your training programs.

About Syandus: Virtual immersive learning technology that transforms knowledge into real-world performance. We immerse participants in realistic virtual situations with one-on-one expert coaching that gives them experience making optimal decisions. Syandus Learning Modules combine cognitive science principles, the realism of game technology, and our customer’s proprietary content, to deliver rapid skill acquisition. Modules are cloud-based for easy deployment, fully trackable with embedded analytics, and can be used on any web-enabled device.

Douglas Seifert, PhD

Written by Douglas Seifert, PhD

Doug leads a team at Syandus that combines cognitive science with virtual game technology to create rapid skill acquisition. The company has won several awards from the National Science Foundation’s Education Division.