Article
There’s probably no substitute for on-the-job training, regardless of your profession. Spending time solving problems in real-world settings with regular feedback from more experienced supervisors and team members is one of the best ways to learn – and you’ll likely remember what you’ve learned this way longer.

Training Simulators – Their Scenarios May Be Virtual, But the Learning Is Real

Chuck Ross
There’s probably no substitute for on-the-job training, regardless of your profession. Spending time solving problems in real-world settings with regular feedback from more experienced supervisors and team members is one of the best ways to learn – and you’ll likely remember what you’ve learned this way longer. Of course, that’s the logic behind the apprenticeship programs electricians progress through on their way to gaining a license.

Training simulators can’t take the place of such apprenticeship efforts, but they can offer a great supplement to these programs, and the latest versions are designed to keep participants engaged while also allowing supervisors to track student progress at a detailed level. The most sophisticated products even use virtual-reality headsets and controls that create a real sense of being in the tight quarters electricians must deal with every day in the field. Even experienced professionals can benefit from the troubleshooting exercises simulators offer, along with opportunities to learn what’s needed to expand their own service offerings into areas like electric vehicle charger installation and rooftop solar systems.


Simulator benefits can include:

  • Cost-effective training. No equipment will be broken, or employees injured using training simulators, and the same programs can be used by multiple trainees, based on whatever software license might come with the program.
  • Safe learning. We all learn from making mistakes, but those errors can be dangerous when it comes to live electrical systems. With simulators, users can experiment with different problem-solving approaches without fear of electrical shocks or other hazards.
  • Realistic scenarios. When well-designed, simulators can replicate specific real-world situations, including faults and other wiring problems, to train even experienced electrical pros to become better troubleshooters.
  • Engaged learning. Many simulators use progressive difficulty levels, instant feedback and scoring systems to make learning more like a game. These designs help build student interest, which means lessons learned are more likely to stick.
  • Assessment options. Both participants and supervisors can track performance to understand where more work might be needed.
  • Flexible training availability. Online and desktop simulators let learners work at their own pace and schedule.

Training simulators are available for a range of electrical specialties, from basic power and distribution to more complicated motor control installation and troubleshooting. In many cases, training modules and scenarios can be customized for specific learning objectives or experience levels. While in-person, hands-on learning is still critical to bringing on new workers to the field, simulators can be a valuable add-on for both those students and those managing their training.







Photo courtesy of Eaton
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