Online Technical Training Blog
4 Ways Simulation Software Is Effective in Online Technical Training
As technology continues to improve and individuals continue seeking flexible learning opportunities outside the traditional classroom, elearning simulation has become an increasingly popular choice for academic and professional training.
As a result, many colleges and universities now offer a large variety of online learning simulations across various industries that deliver unique content through online lectures, software simulation tools for training, online modules and tutorials, and interactive discussion boards.
Hands-on-experience is especially important in technical training. George Brown College School of Distance Education (SDE) bridges the learning gap between theoretical learning and hands-on-experience in its technical training programs by integrating elearning simulation software such as CircuitLogix, 3D Lab, RoboLogix, and PLCLogix into its online distance education certificate programs. Below are four examples of how software simulation tools can be effectively used in training.
Teaches and Demonstrates Abstract Concepts
What sets the simulation software apart from traditional approaches is that simulation software, especially online learning solutions, contain visuals such as 3D animated diagrams and demonstrations. This transforms abstract concepts into concrete examples that make it easier for students to visualize material. The behaviours and relationships between various parts of a system can be seen, leading to enhanced understanding and retention of the content. For example, RoboLogix is a state-of-the-art simulation software that emulates real-world robotics applications. Students can use a program in the software to practice spot welding and arc welding on digital vehicles, mimicking real-life applications.
Simulation software is interactive, and changes based on user action, which makes lessons enjoyable and bridges the gap between theoretical and practical applications. Students gain first-hand knowledge and experience working with the functions, programs, and tools of the industry through a simulated environment. In particular, using a tool like CircuitLogix allows the user the freedom to change part or component values and rerun the online learning simulations to see how these changes affect the circuit operation and performance.
The simulation software that George Brown Technical Training programs use (RoboLogix, CircuitLogix, PLCLogix ,3D Lab, etc.) emulate real world applications, and allow students to study while replicating and experiencing a simulated real world work environment (e.g., a plant or factory). For example, PLCLogix is a PLC simulation that replicates the operation of the Allen Bradley Rockwell series of PLC control software which is an excellent way to use software simulation tools for training.
The PLC Technician Certificate program has also been updated to include new features and content that are directly in response to industry needs and requests. The program updates include additional information on “program flow control related” items such as “Interrupts” and their usage, as well as content relating to closed loop control systems, specifically the PID instruction and how it is used.
Since online learning simulations are interactive, students can further personalize their learning experience by performing individual experiments on simulated equipment. In the real-world classroom setting, there may be a limited amount of equipment in the classroom and students might have to share, leading to limited time with the equipment. With simulation software however, students have unlimited time to experiment and practice freely, experiment in a safe and controlled environment, and avoid possible damage of real and expensive equipment. Engagement makes it easier to understand, process, and retain information while enriching the entire learning experience.
Within the George Brown College School of Distance Education’s PLC Technician certificate program, students have access to the PLCLogix elearning simulation tool, which allows them to control the virtual environment and run through multiple “what if” scenarios. “What if” scenarios can help students learn and experiment with various functions, implement programs, and modern control applications without risk of injury to themselves or their environment. This simulation software contains over 250 prebuilt labs, including 50 lab projects presented in 10 3D PLC applications.
As students are able to experiment and take assessments with software simulation tools for training purposes, the software can provide immediate feedback on activities such as indicating errors and results, allowing students to continuously learn and improve knowledge and skills. The software can also provide an objective, standardized, and quantitative measure of a student’s performance, and perhaps provide a tailored list of further resources for concepts a student is struggling to understand.
As technology continues to evolve, so do the tools used for education. Integrating simulation software enhances and enriches the online learning experience, and software simulation tools for training have numerous learning advantages. This ranges from demonstrating abstract concepts to encouraging students to become more experimentative, to helping them bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical applications. All these factors can result in effective training and preparation for students for work in their industry!
Originally posted on September 17, 2018