Future-Proofing Software Development Using Virtual Reality Simulations

A Beginner’s Guide to Human-Centred Design

Around a year and a half ago, our company, Works, set out on a mission to develop a comprehensive simulations application solely for computer programmers. To achieve this, we carried out extensive research into the advanced learning systems which incorporate simulations, used by special forces, medical professionals, and astronauts.

Drawing inspiration from the successes of our predecessors, we have been able to make impressive progress. We’ve leveraged the most effective teaching techniques available, pushing the frontiers of science, business, and the arts. The good news is that these results are now achievable for everyone.

The knowledge we provide in this blog can be applied to formulate recruitment strategies, onboarding, retreats, or even extensive professional development programs which can engage and empower employees with valuable learning experiences. We encourage you to delve into our lessons and discover how they can be implemented in your own organization.

What Drives Our Dependence on Computer-Generated Scenarios?

The conventional educational landscape is experiencing a change. While most educational institutions still employ outdated and inadequate teaching techniques, the most successful educational programs today are rooted in evidence-based learning principles and supported by innovative simulation-based learning projects. These programs have achieved unparalleled success in facilitating knowledge acquisition and skill development.

Simulated training offers a secure and risk-free approach for individuals to achieve mastery in their respective fields. Simulations allow individuals to replicate real-life scenarios in a setting that is both authentic and safe. For instance, a fighter pilot can practice and refine their abilities, including emergency landings and radio communications, without exposing themselves to danger. As a result, individuals can gain essential skills that will be invaluable in obtaining their pilot’s license and advancing in their profession.

Our simulations offer an extensive and interactive learning journey spanning three months. We adopt a diverse range of learning techniques, complemented by adequate practice opportunities and guidance from our instructors. The feedback and assistance provided to learners will be influenced by their performance in the simulation. We also factor in the learner’s abilities and motivations when deciding how to direct their efforts.

What Are the Key Elements of a Simulation that Can Enable Life-Changing Education?

Goals of the Learner

To optimize the efficacy of our learning programs, we have identified the proficiency levels that we wish our learners to attain. To accomplish our training objectives, we have dissected these competency levels into 50 specific skills and around 1,000 sub-skills. These sub-skills serve as the fundamental components of our people code, which will assist our engineers in their pursuit of success.

When formulating your academic aspirations, it is crucial to deliberate thoroughly. To start building your learning program, you can draft a catalogue of the competencies that your learners should acquire. Our technology, education, and client service teams initially identified several dozen skills. We suggest that each skill should be phrased using a verb ending in “–ing” (e.g. Managing Expectations, Conducting User Research, Developing for Responsiveness on Mobile), accompanied by a brief explanation of what the learner will have the ability to do once they become competent in that skill.

As we expand our learning goals, we are receptive to refining and enhancing our original objectives based on feedback from our students. We have fortified our team with industry experts, and taken into account our developers’ performance in real-world situations. We have refined, expanded and tailored our educational objectives and are dedicated to improving our “people code” over time. We believe that taking individual responsibility for one’s own education is vital, and we encourage our students to contribute to formulating new educational objectives. All curriculum modifications are subject to scrutiny by domain experts prior to implementation.

Facilitating the Feedback Loop in Learning

Subsequently, our focus is on exploring methods to enhance accessibility after establishing the desired objectives. In the present-day online learning scenario, numerous organizations choose to employ the services of a facilitator. What distinguishes facilitation from instruction?

There are a myriad of learning methods that can be pursued in pursuit of a specific educational aim. While the lecture format may be efficacious for certain objectives, alternative techniques such as mentorship, collaborative problem solving, self-study, and experiential learning can be advantageous in accomplishing other educational objectives. Moreover, facilitation is a beneficial approach for empowering students to achieve their full potential by providing them with an enabling learning environment that comprises relevant resources, suitable peer groups, and adequate time.

Expert facilitators have an exceptional talent for acclimatizing to any given circumstance by virtue of their remarkably adaptable learning styles. These professionals can undertake diverse roles, such as instructors, managers, and leaders, contingent on the specific necessities of the situation. Additionally, to keep students engrossed and stimulated, facilitators need to meticulously consider both the program design and the individual requirements of the students.

In our simulations program, establishing a pattern of learning and practice is imperative. The key responsibility of the facilitator is to ensure that all participants are consistently and effectively progressing through the core learning loop of the program. Our specified “Prepare, Practice, Debrief” cycle is comprised of three phases.

  1. Prepare:

    At the outset of each day, our simulated developers gain insights into the desired outcome by participating in a skills session. This provides them with an occasion to deliberate and exercise the practical applications of the skills they will be utilizing that day. Moreover, when dealing with new clients, our developers initially concentrate on comprehending the clients’ business. In addition, our programmers conduct periodic meetings to discuss and exhibit the abilities that will enable them to promptly grasp the subtleties of a new organization.
  2. Practice:

    After acquiring the fundamental knowledge, it is time to put it into practice. The simulation furnishes an immersive experience that enables the learner to demonstrate their understanding of the subject matter. Our developers participate in a simulated launch call with a client, as well as a full day of office activities, to apply the skills acquired in the morning session on Understanding the Business. This helps them to improve their abilities and obtain practical experience.
  3. Debrief:

    Upon completion of each session, it is crucial to provide an opportunity for students to debrief with one another. This entails reflecting on their accomplishments and shortcomings, discussing how they can advance, and lending support to each other. Depending on the situation, debriefs can be technical and professional, or more personal. While it is advantageous to apprise learners of coding best practices, they may still need to work through personal issues prior to making further progress. An effective debrief should cultivate empathy, transparency, courage, and teamwork. Our simulated developers have a daily debrief with their facilitator and team to guarantee that they are taking the requisite measures to augment their skills.

Paving the Way to the Future of Education

In the years ahead, education is expected to become progressively decentralized. With an increasing number of people worldwide obtaining access to the information and networks required to participate effectively in the global job market, it is crucial to contemplate how this could influence the way in which we arrange existing educational endeavors. It is vital that educational programs are designed to incorporate this transformation in the landscape and empower learners to realize their complete potential.

To maintain a leading edge in the ever-evolving education landscape, we are modernizing our simulation-based education platform to cater to the demands of the future. In order to extend our reach and minimize our investments, we are devising our own internal learning tools that will be available to everyone at no cost. Furthermore, we are spearheading a novel approach to learning known as “distributed design.” This technique merges the proficiency of multiple learners to ensure the perpetual enhancement and advancement of our software. With these endeavors, we are confident that we can continue to offer our users the ultimate educational experience.

I am certain that you are currently exercising your cognitive abilities by exhibiting a sense of curiosity. I encourage you to take the knowledge you have acquired and put it into practice in your professional life without delay!

Return next week as we delve into how you can build a culture of learning in your organization using techniques like improv, role-playing, and other innovative methods.

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