The first time I immersed myself in a video-based simulation, I felt like something was off, uneasy, or just plain awkward. For those musically inclined, it was like hearing a half cadence or a sequence of incomplete notes. These half-cadence simulations are a source of great frustration because simulations are meant to bring the learner as close as possible to the ideal behavior or skill. However, when you fail to use this principle as your guide, you risk impeding the flow of realistic dialogue and creating an assessment rather than a simulation. What’s more, while an assessment is effective, it lacks the learner engagement necessary to achieve comprehension and retention.
To help instructional designers avoid half-cadence simulations, designers should follow 13 key guidelines. (I’ve created this job aid based on my past failures!)