The Truth About Simulators

Uncovering the facts about whether a driving simulator is the most critical element of a simulator-based training program

A common mistake is made by assuming that the simulator is the most critical element of a simulator-based training program; after all, use of this term places all of the emphasis on the simulator. However, our experience reveals that the quality of the curriculum and training content is far more crucial to the success of the program than the fidelity of the simulator.

Use of the term curriculum in the context of simulator-based training represents “the practical application of training content that can be effectively presented using a simulator to promote learning”. This essentially describes the tactics regarding how the simulator will be used during the training process. The methodology in which the simulator will be utilized is the most important determining factor regarding success or failure of a simulator-based training program.

This fact was clearly revealed by research conducted by the National Center for Transit Research entitled, “A Qualitative Analysis of Bus Simulator Training on Transit Incidents” published June of 2013. This study documents the struggles experienced by transit properties in Florida (and across the US) attempting to use simulators to achieve safety performance improvements. A lack of a clear plan (regarding the initial implementation and effective on-going utilization of the simulator) was cited as primary causes for concern.

Such deficiencies are precisely what separate L3 Driver as a training solutions provider from device suppliers. Device suppliers often lack expertise in instructional design and human performance forcing them to focus exclusively on technology and product development. Simply put, they focus on what the product “is” as opposed to what the product “does”.  The true purpose of the simulator is just one of the tools used to support a training process that will produce safe, efficient and prepared drivers.