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ATD Blog

How not to talk about simulations


Tue Apr 26 2005


This has happened to me more times than I can count. A bunch of people are in a room, invited for a two day meeting to talk about simulations. The moderator starts out by asking the group why they are interested in simulations.

One says, "Oh, I love simulations. I lead role-plays all of the time in my sales class, and they work really well."


Then someone says, "That's right. I build online certification programs, and simulations are critical."

Another says, "I agree. I love simulations. My kids play computer games all of the time. They are great."

Another says, "Simulations are the best. When I was in law school, we did moot courts, and they were very powerful."

The next person says, "Sure. I have spent decades modeling simulations using all sorts of tools like Stella, and they are great."

Then someone adds, "Absolutely. Simulations are necessary because learning needs to be made a lot more fun."


Another says, "Absolutely. I was a pilot, and we lived in the flight simulator."

"That's right," someone agrees. "The simulations are the most used part of our e-learning library."

Another says, "Oh, I love simulations. I was in the military and we practiced everything a hundred times."

Then someone says, "I work in IT, and we rigorously simulate every new architecture before we implement it."

At this point, I know the conversation is doomed. We have, in five minutes, dug ourselves into an intellectual hole that will take at least a day and a half to dig ourselves out of before we can actually move forward.


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