The internet is changing the world of learning and rules of the game. It’s providing education market an absolutely new image. Increasing venture capital investment is the measure of the optimistic expectations that the market holds for digital education. If I talk about few years back such as in 2005, the investment observed in technological advancement was about $52 million. By 2012, this figure multiplied by more than 20 times i.e. around $1.1 billion in venture capital invested in digital education and learning. Out of this total, 60 percent is accounted for the United States[1]. As far as simulation is concerned previously, the training simulations took pictures of high tech cockpit mock-ups and the regulated burning buildings to mind. However, today, simulation can also occur in a classroom or online setting with just about any kind of professions. This post revolves around these two fundamental concepts lying underneath today’s learning and training industry, i.e. digital learning and the simulations.

The new education market had reached a great size some time ago and more growth is anticipated. One instance could be the MOOCs which gained popularity in late 2011 and sooner reached to their peak in 2012[2]. Therefore, there is a commercial aspect to the changes in the market, with critical technological product development and innovations. Social interaction between the teacher and student and the trainer and the trainee,creative learning like group work and collaboration among students are common place in today’s online or digital learning. This implies that the second generation of the online training offerings is greatly more advanced than the first generation, which rose in the market for the first time almost a decade ago.

We are aware of the fact that simulations in highly technological, technical or risky situations are the necessities, but why should it be used in various matters of business training like operations, strategy or even leadership, when everything is getting digital?[3] The answers are quite simple and straightforward, which you would get by the end of this article.

Corporate e-learning in a digital form is proving to be one of the most impressive and rising growth segments in the education industry, which is itself witnessing a faster growth. By 2011, almost 51 percent of the European companies started an online training division, which more than 50 percent of their employees exploited. Among these countries, Spain and England show the highest preference for the e-learning, however, this is still bit lower than that of United States. By the same year, 77 percent of the businesses implemented e-learning[4].

Talking about the simulations, one of the key results of a business simulation is the aspect of implementation. Quite a lot of times, even in our own professions, we find that the knowledge is something fantastic but that implementation and execution of knowledge is little further out of the reach. This is the point probably where digital cascade might seem lacking behind. Up-and-coming executives could be trained in an online classroom and even on job, but their ability to implement complex strategies is a muscle that is not much tested[5]. Think of the fact that trainees can take decisions and observe their results in a controlled setting, for only about any kind of situation your business might face. If the implementation is not quite right, the trainees can go back and then try again, which is most often not easily possible in digital learning where learners and teachers are on either side of the system. The trainer or teacher might simulate the strategy or process of a particular idea, yet the implementation at the learner side is not attained at the same time.

Another feature of the simulations which is often missing in digital learning cascade is the team building aspect, in particular, with new teams or organizations. In online or classroom setting, most of the time the work, assignments and competitions and even grading are on individual basis. On the contrary, simulations mostly are based on team based form. One more difference lies in the right away practical implementation, as mentioned earlier as well. In simulations, as group members start to deal with a real life scenario right away, they are always able to learn the strengths and opportunities of their team members and work together for a common objective. In digital education setting, even though if the team based structure is also seen, yet the goal is not common, since some work for the motivation, some work for grades while others for gaining knowledge[6]. The real time implementation emphasizes the gaining of knowledge and thus ensures learners are grasping what is being taught.

The digital education, integrated with social media and advanced technologies like video training, graphical simulation, case studies demonstrations etc is on its way to reduce the gap between itself and simulations. In future, we might see simulation, whether in any form, either manual or technology driven, as the concrete part of most of the online or digital education settings.


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Bryant Nielson is heavily involved in the Corporate Training and Leadership and Talent space. He currently is the Managing Director for CapitalWave Inc and the training division, Financial Training Solutions. He brings a diverse corporate experience of organizational development, learning and talent development, and corporate training, that also includes personal coaching of top sales individuals and companies of all sizes. For the prior 4 years, Bryant was the Managing Director and Leadership and Talent Manager for Lengthen Your Stride! LLC. In this position, Nielson was the developer of all of the courses for MortgageMae University (MMU), the Realtor Development Center (RDC), and of Lengthen Your Stride! (LYS). In that position, he developed material, refined over many years of use and active training, and condensed the coursework and training to be high impact, natural learning, and comprehensive. Bryant has over 27 years of Senior Management experience encompasses running his own Training and mortgage firm, in New York City. He strongly believes that the corporate training is not to be static but should 'engage and inspire' students to greater productivity and performance.