Scenario based learning – combining theory and practice

Filling the gaps between “old school” linear learning models of teaching and “real life”, through simulation-based training.

Johannesburg, 12 Jul 2019
Read time 4min 20sec
Clinton Meerholz
Clinton Meerholz

We work and live in a very complex world and IT is forever changing in order to adapt to the demands of business. The requirements to solve simple problems, implement efficient and effective ways of work are multidimensional. Training today is linear in nature, creating a mismatch between the real world and the training world, and, unfortunately, many organisations feel they are not receiving the return on their investment they require.

For years, we have delivered classroom-based training with great success, ensuring the delegates pass and get certified in their chosen focus area. Delegates may be stimulated by the presentation, engaged by the graphics and even motivated by the energetic trainer; however, it all seems to fall short when they return to the office. Remembering what they were taught is slim and being able to apply the knowledge they have obtained in the workplace becomes a big challenge for the delegates. Training is designed to teach delegates to define, recall and recognise, as well as being able to understand or grasp what they have learned. The training does not allow delegates to apply, analyse and evaluate all the theory they have learned in their working environment.

David Kolb and Ronald Fry developed a way of looking at a learning process called the Experiential Learning Cycle. Learning is the acquisition of new knowledge, skills and attitudes. According to them humans go through a four-step process of learning:

  • Concrete experience
  • Observation and reflection
  • Formation of abstract concepts
  • Testing in new situations

Over the years, Pink Elephant has delivered IT simulations that have focused on best practice frameworks such as ITIL, where delegates are no longer only told “theory” like in classroom training, but rather a blended approach is proving more successful as participants run through the simulation, figuring things out themselves. These simulations have proven very useful in being able to show the theory in practice through this hands-on approach. With these simulations, delegates can get to understand the true business value of service management, by experiencing true service management challenges and the impact these challenges have on the business. The simulations are based on focused sessions or “rounds”. After each round, the delegates can improve service delivery by implementing “lessons learned” from the previous sessions and apply best practice, and, in so doing, help business achieve solid business results.

With the challenges faced with traditional delivery of “slide and talk” training, advantages seen with the simulations and applying the four-step learning process results in greater skills transfer. Pink Elephant has designed a blended learning approach combining a day of “lite” theory in order to let delegates understand what the specific best practice is about before allowing them to experience it practically. On the first day the delegates cover the very basics of the relevant service management framework, so they are able to understand and “speak” the same terminology at work. This day of theory is followed by a second day of “fun”, where delegates will partake in a practical day of the simulation. This is designed with the participants in mind and aligns with the job performance that participants are expected to achieve once the training is complete. Participants will see that they are able to “fail fast and fail forward”, in a safe non-production environment and benefit from the fun-filled event, allowing them to fail, and in turn, will help them build the capacity to fix mistakes using best practice as one would in real life. This will allow them to make decisions, implement improvements and experience the improvements, all within the same simulation.

Delegates will find that through implementing best practice processes, they will move from a chaotic environment to a well-managed and optimised environment. They will have a better understanding of the impact of good communication between business and service management, as well as the benefits of working together in order to deliver business results. Delegates will be able to see the theory in practice through this hands-on event.

Pink Elephant believes simulation-based training is more fun and it teaches people to learn from their mistakes, which is an incredibly valuable educational tool.

About Clinton Meerholz

Clinton Meerholz is a renowned, accredited ITIL lecturer, an ITIL V3 Expert and ITIL4 Foundation, with solid ITSM experience and over 1 000 hours of training. Meerholz is also a qualified facilitator of the Polestar ITSM simulation, a high-impact, energetic way to accelerate understanding, involvement and acceptance of ITSM. He has consistently enabled delegates to achieve above industry standard examination results. Specific expertise surrounding the service desks, problem management and release management environment is part of  Meerholz's core capabilities.

Editorial contacts
Head of Professional Services Graham Herbert (087) 405 5715 g.herbert@Pinkelephant.co.za