Computer software training is one of the main areas of IT training. A key format of software training in e-learning is simulation. This article examines the most frequently used simulation formats in computer software training, compares development tools and methods in each of the training formats, analyzes the pros and cons of the different approaches, and provides information on the latest trends in simulation development. As rapid e-learning development plays an increasingly important role in training, more and more user-friendly and robust simulation development tools are introduced into the market, and subject matter experts (SMEs) are expected to become the primary resources for content development. Nevertheless, instructional design principles and process should still be an integral part of development methodology for simulation projects.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Simulation: In the training context, a computer simulation is a technique used to help people to learn how to use a piece of computer software or how to deal with a real-life situation by putting them in a computer-based training environment that imitates a live system or a real-life scenario.
Instructor-Led Training (ILT): ILT is a traditional training format that is facilitated by a trainer who is the classroom in person.
Rapid Development: Rapid development is a generic term used in the software development industry that describes the development approach adopted in projects with short schedules. In the e-learning context, rapid development means to develop informational content quickly and efficiently.
Computer Software: Computer software can be divided into two general classes: system software and application software. System software consists of low-level programs that interact with the computer at a very basic level, which includes operating systems, compilers, and utilities for managing computer resources. In contrast, application software (also called end-user programs) is specific to the solution of an application problem. It includes software such as database programs, word processors, and spreadsheets (http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/a/application.html).
Process Capture Software: Process capture software is an emerging category of software that captures each of the steps performed on a computer by recording not only the screen displays, but also the interactions between the users and the objects in the software. Once completed, the captured file lists all the steps the user performed in the software, with screen captures and the interactive object for each step.
Traditional Authoring Tools: Authoring tools usually refers to computer software that developers use to create multimedia, interactive contents.
Screen Capture Software: A screen capture is an image taken by the computer to record the visible items on the monitor. Usually this is a digital image taken by the operating system or software running on the computer.
Subject Matter Expert (SME): Subject matter expert is the member of a project team who is most knowledgeable about the content being instructed upon, an SME is often an expert contracted or assigned by an organization to consult on the training being created.