Simulations in Instructional Designing

Let’s begin with the basic question.

What is a simulation?

A simulation is a prototype or a model of a real life situation/product on the computer.

Why are simulations used in Instructional Designing?

Simulations are used in Instructional Designing so that learners get a feel of the real life situation/product and learn better.

For example, in most computer institutes, you will find trainers who randomly teach you software products/applications/programs. Such trainers usually do not have lesson plans in place and are very efficient in confusing the learners. Believe me, I joined such an institute and quit in a month or so. Above all I learnt nothing.

When it comes to a software product, anyone might feel less confident to use it instantly. Most people feel lost when they use a new product.Very few explore and learn. Most often instructors or trainers are of less help. In the present world, people hardly have time to teach you things in a systematic fashion. So no one is to be blamed.

In such a case simulations act as a boon to learners.

Coming to the context of software product training, you have two types of simulations used for training:

  • SHOW ME simulations
  • TRY ME simulations

SHOW ME Simulations

A SHOW ME simulation is a passive simulation, a demonstration. This simulation showcases the real life situation and does not allow any learner participation.

Most software product companies resort to SHOW ME simulations so that users get to know about the features in the product.

SHOW ME simulation example: Editing Movies in Captivate


TRY ME Simulations

TRY ME simulations call for active learner participation.These simulations allow learners to actually try out tasks on a prototype of the product with lots of guidance in the form of instruction texts.

Since the learner is learning by doing in this case, the learning happens a fast pace.

TRY ME simulation example: Creating a New Document in Dreamweaver


These simulations are not just for product training. These could be used for any training purpose. For example you can create a simulation to teach problem solving skills. This would be a real life scenario based simulation.

Here is a snapshot of a soft skill TRY ME simulation: (

Click on the thumbnail to view a larger image


Raptivity has a good collection of simulations. Check them here:

Hope this post was useful. Please send in your comments/suggestions.


One Response

  1. Rupa,
    I was going thru your blogs and wondering if you are interested to conduct session on Instruction Design in the Workshop we are planning to have in June at Bombay.

    Dipta @+98402-16528

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