corporate training

All posts tagged corporate training

By Ed Heinbockel, Visual Purple’s President/CEO

We’ve been producing compelling simulations for 15 years now. Initially interactive video, because our clients’ hardware for the most part was 2-5 years behind the technology curve, then for the last 9 years various flavors of virtual worlds: decision (scenario) based, real-time immersive 3D, and hybrid (a user efficient mash-up of the two).

We’ve trained everything from counter-terrorism to sales training. We’ve learned over the years that our first-person thinkers play best to preventing things from going boom. Yes, boom. In other words, wherever there exists the potential for bad things to happen, you better be employing training that is realistic and sticks. That the individual needs to know what to do and now. That can often make the difference between life and death. This all means that we at Visual Purple have become obsessed with playing to the highest and best use of our technology and collective expertise. This has become our mantra and strategy for success.

So, today, you find us fervently committed to applying our F.I.S.T. toolbox to difficult situations – situations demanding of accuracy and realism in a high consequence environment – all the while lashing it all together through the power of story.

Left is good…Left of Boom, that is!

Blogs are great if you treat them right! Our mea culpa is too much to do, and not enough time. So, things had to take a back seat…like blog posts.

We are coming out of two major technology advancements for both our simulation technology: F.I.S.T., and GisterPRO 2.0. Only recently have we been able to breathe a sigh of relief and look out to the real world of business development. So, thank you for your patience as we go about updating our websites and working to communicate our exciting new capabilities and relationships. Stay tuned!

All too often a client gets confused with all of the different types of training available, from E-Learning to CBT and Decision-Based simulations to Virtual Worlds (and now Hybrid Simulations)… the possibilities just seem endless. For those unfamiliar with the different styles of training available on the market today the task of choosing the right training method can be daunting. In the end it all comes down to utilizing the right tool to get the job done, in the most cost efficient and timely matter.

Let me highlight a few differentiating factors that an organization should consider when looking into employing a new type of training, you’ll notice that Visual Purple offers checkmarks in all of the below boxes.

Highly interactive
• 3D
• Intelligent World – trainees don’t have the luxury to just ‘play’
• Compelling storyline
• Character development and quests
• After Action reviews
• Aptitude screening
• Realistic scenarios
• LMS reporting
• Reduced cost
• Short development time
• Easily updateable
• Reference documents

The obvious choice here is a modern approach to workforce training whereby an organization can cost effectively build an efficient training tool that is proven!

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.


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?

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.

1. Trying to fit too much content into the simulation
2. Trying to encapsulate too many different storylines/ perspectives
3. Addressing too many topics
4. Not having designated subject matter experts in the organization
5. Changing the course of the project near the end when management finally looks at it
6. Being unrealistic in what to train on and who the training is for
7. Being too general in the target audience
8. Not being able to fit a training program in the budget
9. Skimping on training now that could have prevented accidents/ poor job performance later
10. Not thinking ahead by building to a matrix that cross-leverages content and makes future changes or updates easy and inexpensive

More often than not we here at Visual Purple meet with a client during an initial project kick-off meeting to lay out the project work plan, but by the end of the project so much has changed. It’s like you take a look back in time and think “gee if I had it to do all over again I would have done it this way…” Well I guess I should first say that this happens a lot in life, but when building a project from the ground up you must always anticipate that you could have done it a million other ways- just like building a house. You meet with the architect and draw up the plans, hire the contractor, pick fixtures and finishes and by the time the home is completed you still think, “I should have built the kitchen bigger and added an island or I should have added a window here.” Our goal here at Visual Purple is to help clients leverage our vast experience when considering possible ways of presenting training materials in an engaging manner. All the while thinking outside the box so the simulation is built in a way that the client doesn’t want to go back in time and say “I really wish they would have told me to present the training in this manner.” Well this is where our expertise and years of experience are here to help! Granted one of the many benefits of Visual Purple’s training products is our proven technologies that allow for rapid updates and changes. So unlike a newly constructed house that is more difficult to make any major changes and/ or updates to, Visual Purple simulations can easily be ‘remodeled’ later should the need arise.

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.

What are organizations searching for when it comes to training? 1) A new and innovative solution, 2) or a road-tested and proven solution. And if the answer is number two- then by definition do virtual worlds fit the bill?!

One size does not fit all when it comes down to training (and most clothes), no matter what the type. You don’t want single use training- meaning to use it once and then discard it. There is no cost savings in this. The learning environment can be the key to success or the ultimate in failure. What’s to ensure that your organization’s next training initiative is the right fit for your employees? Many others and I say that active participation is key, thus leading to higher retention rates and higher ratio of success. And guess what…. Virtual Worlds do offer the right fit for many organizations at a low cost and short time frame of concept, to development to implementation.

ASTD, recently released their State of the Industry Report. Here are a few key highlights of note:
• US organizations spent $134.07 billion on employee learning and development in 2008
• $88.59 billion was spent on the internal learning function
• $45.48 billion was allocated to external services
• Average annual expenditure per employee fell 3.8% from 2007 to $1,068
• The figure for learning expenditure as a percentage of payroll was 2.24% a small increase from 2007
• The average number of employees per learning staff member was 253

I thought I would outline a few of the major highlights that virtual worlds are able to provide the user with:
-Ties to the real world
-Sense of Space
-Sense of Presence
-Collaborative learning
-Interactivity & Immersion

Did I miss any? Leave a comment below with additions/ suggestions.