General

With the new website design launch we decided it was time to give the Visual Purple blog a new look too, so welcome to our fresh new looks for 2011. Since beginning the Immersive Training Insights blog over two years ago we have delved into many topics from social media to virtual world training, intelligent avatars and serious games. We look forward to providing you with many more insightful blog posts and welcome hearing your comments. And remember that with a new year it may be a good time to look into new training opportunities for your organization, contact us – we’d love to help you save money and increase training retention!

We’ve been working behind the scenes updating our website to a more simplified format, although we thought Flash was pretty cool we decided it was time for a fresh website look to mirror our expanding hat trick of capabilities. We have some interesting projects with new technology in play that we’ll be announcing in the near future and the re-design of the website is an important step in the process. Click here to take a look around.

With the new site design we have also highlighted the newest training type that we offer called “Hybrid Simulations”. We are also excited to show off the latest and greatest technology that we offer, called “F.I.S.T” which stands for FloChart Integration System Technology.

I once attended this great school that had a mantra of “Learn by Doing.” Which I thought was pretty cool back in my college days, but as life has progressed I realize more and more each day just how important this mantra is (no matter what age you are). Each of one of us has gone through training that has been better than others, whether it was a driver’s training course when you turned sweet 16 or a training course for your job. Although you may sit through 8 hours of training it’s what you take away from it that counts, not that you were just a warm body filling a seat. It all boils down to Passive vs. Active Learning. So what’s that you might ask? Well the passive type of learning would be reading and hearing words (see graph below to see the low, low percentages of what is actually retained from passive learning). Whereas active learning involves doing the real thing or simulating an experience, just like what can be done when training through simulations. So I will let the graph below sell you more on the idea.

With the ringing in of the New Year it is once again time to recap the Top 10 blog posts from 2010. Happy New Year to everyone!

Study Shows Video Games Really Do Train People!
In the article entitled “Video Games Can be Highly Effective Training Tools, Study Shows: Employees Learn More, Forget Less, Master More Skills” a study from the University of Colorado Denver Business School established that those trained by video games do their jobs better, have higher skills and retain information longer than that of workers learning in a less interactive environment.

Top 10 Training Mistakes Organizations Make
All too often organizations make the same age old mistakes when choosing and implementing a training program. Below is a list of 10 common training mistakes that organizations make time and time again.

Linden Lab and the Future of Virtual Worlds
With the recent announcement of Linden Labs (you know the company behind Second Life) to begin restructuring, one must wonder what the future has in store for our friends. Does this really translate to the end of all the hype surrounding virtual worlds?

So it’s not exactly decision-based or a virtual world, what the heck is it?

We are officially announcing a new capability of which we are very proud: ‘Hybrid Simulations’…where we lovingly bake in the best elements of Decision-Based Sims with the cost-effectiveness and flexibility of Virtual Worlds.

Training Today’s Military Forces
Military forces around the world rely on computer-based simulators to provide invaluable training for today’s warfighters. More and more military branches are turning to the simulation and virtual training market to increase retention and performance of our treasured warfighters, maximizing the benefits of this training technology.

Entertainment…Militainment

Militainment, huh? Just the name makes it sound so gamey and just plain wrong for training today’s techno savvy warfighters. The title itself belies the high standards of military training today. Take for example the official U.S. Army game called America’s Army, while it is a wildly popular gaming application and not to mention a great online recruiting tool, it’s still just a game.

Emulating Human Voice-overs with TTS Voices, Part Two
Since there was great interest in a blog entry last Fall called, ‘Emulating Human Voice-overs with TTS Voices’ I have elected to present those lessons as a Vlog, and so it makes sense that we give this newer presentation the same title, but suffixed with ‘Part Two’.

Serious Training Calls for Serious Games
Proven to be more effective than traditional training methods, Serious Gaming (SG) has many unique advantages. It’s not a new concept- it has been around for awhile dating as far back as 1977 when Clark Abt discussed the idea and used the term in his book, although it wasn’t directed to computers at that time.

E-Learning: Is It Really Worth It?
In a prior post I touched briefly on how e-learning tends to be, well, oversold. To follow up on this I wanted to review the relative costs associated with e-learning and compare to other technologies. With nearly one-third of training content being delivered electronically (according to ASTD’s 2008 State of the Industry Report) it’s no wonder it is such an easy go to.

Virtual Worlds & Training…Do They Mix With Social Media?

Social media seems to be all the rage right now. Is it really possible to infuse social media into a virtual world space? Would it be beneficial or detrimental?

We here at Visual Purple pride ourselves with the 21st Century Storytelling that we are able to create for our client base. So you may ask “huh?” Well we call it that because our approach to creating custom-built simulations is somewhat unique compared to what others do in the industry. As we all know…people connect with stories. Therefore simulations built around the ‘power of story’ allow the player to connect in a way that may not be possible with traditional methods of training. One big advantage of utilizing stories to deliver this type of training, is that it sticks. Although the trainee may not always be able to remember all of the material presented via traditional training methods, such as table top exercises or e-learning/ PowerPoint methods, when a training product tells a story one can relate to it more and refer back to the story line easier than trying to remember what they learned in a book. It’s just the way we’re wired!

We’re pretty excited! This post has been a long time coming… We are officially announcing a new capability of which we are very proud: ‘Hybrid Simulations’…where we lovingly bake in the best elements of Decision-Based Sims with the cost-effectiveness and flexibility of Virtual Worlds. Decision-Based Simulations are great except when it comes to expanding the world or making rapid changes in a cost-effective manner. Virtual worlds make it easy to expand or update but often fall short when it comes to perceptions that trainees won’t stay on task. We’ve learned through experience that many clients are looking for something beyond the perennially popular decision-based simulation, but aren’t quite sold on virtual worlds, mostly because of the negative perceptions associated with SL-based worlds. Working with select clients over the past 18 months, we have created a successful new approach and began delivering Hybrid Sims earlier this year – marrying the best of both worlds.

These interactive, decision-based virtual environment simulations perform exceptionally well and are produced quicker (in a few months) and at lower cost. We think we like to call it “3D vWorld-DB simulation software” – though our CEO still calls them Hybrid Sims. So, maybe, just maybe, we’ll stick with Hybrid Sims. These 3D animated simulations are custom built and the scenarios play out in a private virtual world. So what other advantages do these custom-built simulations present you may ask? Increased immersion, interactivity, layered decision-making, and feedback to the user (just to name a few). And perhaps the biggest advantage of all, is that this hybrid vWorld-DB simulation, er, I mean Hybrid Sim, is able to run in a browser!

Hybrid simulations also bring their own ‘tool kit’ if you will, which includes the following:
• Idea Generating Tools designed to break current, routine thinking patterns and encourage thinking beyond the status quo through the use of provocation and challenge;
• Focus Tools designed to broaden where, and from whom, students search for new ideas;
• Treatment Tools that are designed to consider real-world constraints, available resources, and other means of support; and
• Harvest Tools that are designed to maximize value received from idea generating output.

Visual Purple isn’t the typical virtual world builder where the ‘average’ virtual world will offer a free roaming character that the trainee can navigate around, our virtual worlds have walls (visible and invisible) and threaded missions to accomplish rather than just the free roaming nature that so many businesses worry about turning an employee loose in, just to “wander” around aimlessly. So there you have it folks, our latest and greatest way of presenting our clients with cutting edge simulation technologies. Stay tuned for more in-depth reviews of the new Hybrid Simulations.

The results are in and Visual Purple has been recognized as one of the top performers in the global simulation and training industry for the third consecutive year!

Military Training Technology is proud to recognize the 2010 top performers in the industry. These companies have been singled out for recognition for their significant impact in the military training industry.

To learn more about the awards or view the awards list, click here.

Between new projects (sims and whole-cloth new technologies), vacations and additions to the family, we have been a little sidetracked to the say the least. But the good news is we will be launching soon a newly updated website to kick things off right! Stay tuned over the next few weeks for some exciting announcements around new technologies, one of which has been in the works for nearly 2 years. In a nutshell we are enjoying the summer, are well and ramping up for a very exciting fall…so, stay tuned for September goodies! A special thank you goes out to all of our loyal readers and clients.

With Easter right around the corner I began to think about having all of your eggs in one basket…by this I mean having all of your training delivered through one consistent method. Although for some organizations this may work, consider for a moment having multiple types of training within your organization. What are the benefits of this you may ask… well a few types of training are always better than just one type. If your organization is still stuck in a rut and utilizing table-top learning or e-learning without any other alternatives than you might consider this as having all of your training in one basket. Rather, it is best to have different types of training that incorporates a variety of enhancements. Such as a 3D immersive environment that has interaction, back-up documentation, and is realistic to the trainees’ natural work environment. Any time you put all your eggs in one basket you’re setting yourself up for a serious crash.