The key to any simulation for training is getting the trainee to suspend disbelief.  Whether the simulation is live role playing, high fidelity simulation, or virtual simulation, the trainee must engage in the scenario to get the highest training value.  In the military, the term used is “sweaty palms and white knuckles”.  If the trainee is engaged, the same indicators of stress and adrenaline will be evident just as they are in the real world.

For virtual simulation, there is often a tradeoff between behavioral realism and graphical realism.

Graphical realism is a common benchmark in modern immersive games.  The “first person shooter” genre of games has taken this idea to a very high level, continuously striving to provide more realistic looking environments, characters and effects within the game.  To achieve this sort of realism, game design companies spend 100’s of millions of dollars on artists, designers, story-builders, programmers, testers and actors.  They painstakingly craft each scene in the environment to provide a given effect.  The gameplay is tested extensively. Gamers leverage the latest hardware available on consoles and PCs.    Die-hard gamers will spend up to $10,000 to construct their gaming environment.

In leveraging gaming technology for training there is a temptation to think the same level of graphic quality is needed. The problem with this is that training has different objectives.   While we still want the trainee to feel a sense of immersion and suspend their disbelief, the way this is achieved is different.    If the training environment faithfully represents “how the world works” for a particular work environment, then trainees are able to suspend their disbelief.   It does not seem to matter if the shadows are right or the skin tone looks more “human”.   The fact that the devices work like they do in the real world, or the characters respond as they would in the real world creates the suspension of disbelief.   They can now engage the training environment as they would a real environment.

If devices and characters behave realistically graphical issues can be overlooked.  Conversely, if the graphics are photo-realistic but the devices and characters behave incorrectly, then the trainee dismisses the training as a “toy” or “game”.

 

Thanks for reading. Please share with colleagues who might find value. This post was authored by Discovery Machine, creators of The RESITE® Suite. RESITE enables instructors to capture their expertise to create their own realistic training scenarios. RESITE places trainees into an immersive 3D environment that helps them learn faster and see the cause/effect relationship of their decisions and hands-on interaction in real time. With over 16 years in the industry Discovery Machine delivers powerful, proven technology with a friendly, accessible front-end that translates to successful training programs empowered with intelligent interaction. For more information about The RESITE Suite, please visit Discovery Machine online or call 570-601-3226.