A couple of weeks ago, I had organised a Third Place visit to go and see the Building Leadership Simulation Centre in South Melbourne. It was the first time I had organised a visit to a training facility with Third Place (our social networking and co-working group) and once I advertised the tour on Meetup, it was over subscribed immediately with learning professionals keen to see and learn more. (Mental note: tours are quite popular…I must organise more).
The simulator is a state-of-the-art simulator technology that is the one of its kind in Australia that provides training to the building and construction industry. Rather than explaining it, you can see exactly what happens in this video below.
Unfortunately, on the day of our visit there weren’t any groups going through the training. (This was just as well as I believe our large group could have been a distraction for those under training and observation). However, the excellent presentation by Marc Lyons, General Manager, as well as the tour of the facility, site sheds, training rooms, briefing and debriefing rooms gave us an excellent idea of how the training occurred. It was also an eye opener because the centre uses professional actors who take on various roles and different scenarios to test the trainee in situations that they would come across in their normal course of daily work.
What I liked was the big 15 m wide parabolic screen where images of various work sites (in different states of progress) in real Melbourne suburbs could be viewed. Using a joystick, you could enter various rooms of the building site and point out areas that needed work, were unfinished or unsafe. I didn’t find it surprising when they mentioned that sometimes trainees find the experience ‘too real’ and quickly succumb to the situation forgetting that they are in a training scenario. You can see more about how the training is conducted in this video.
My own experience of simulator training when I was in the military many years ago which used this form of training, “learning by doing” in different operational scenarios. The one simulation that I remember was the Bridge Simulator at HMAS Watson where all seaman officers were trained in navigation skills. The training was run ‘on watches’ – much like what you’d be working when on an actual ship. The platform also moved to simulate various sea states and instructors could change this as well as the weather. There was a catalogue of different harbours that they could key into the scenario and the trainees would apply their knowledge to steer their ship through different scenarios.
Have you been through a simulated training environment like this one? Please feel free to share your experience!