Prior to founding Blueline Simulations, I spent nearly 10 years at Development Dimensions International (DDI). For those of you who aren’t familiar with DDI’s history, its cofounders, Douglas Bray and Bill Byham, were pioneers in the field of industrial/organizational psychology. They brought the power of assessment centers to corporate America through ATT’s Management Progress Study.
Okay, a few of you knew that already. But did you know that they also transformed our profession when they pioneered behavior modeling with the introduction of Interaction Management in the mid 70s?
Behavior modeling, in this vernacular, is just as it sounds. It’s the use of a positive model to demonstrate effective behavior followed by the opportunity to practice applying behaviors in their proper context. Over the last 40 years, DDI has helped to develop millions of leaders using the most advanced behavior modeling techniques conceived. And those techniques have been widely adopted and applied throughout our industry to develop a full range of interpersonal skills. But even with these advanced techniques, the success of behavior modeling has been limited by our ability as trainers to create opportunities for the learner to safely practice applying behaviors in their proper context.
Have you ever participated in a role-play or “skills practice,” whether pre-created or do-it-yourself, whether in bi-ads, tri-ads or quads? If so, then you know all too well the primary failure points: the role player and the coach. Let me see if I can recreate a familiar experience for you…
Imagine Stu, the role player who wouldn’t share anything with you no matter how much you reinforced his self-esteem, listened and responded empathetically, or asked for his help? Or, do you recall Sarah, the role player who spilled everything with you as soon as you opened the conversation? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! What about when Stu destroyed your self-esteem by explaining that you didn’t do anything right? Or when Sarah wasted your time by recounting that you couldn’t have done anything any better?
The big problem with role play is inconsistency. That’s because role plays are absolutely dependent on the role player. Success depends on the role player’s ability to do three very hard things extremely well: 1) play the role correctly, 2) deliver effective – and absolutely consistent – feedback, and 3) offer remediation to the learner. If you get a very savvy role player, you have an amazing experience. If you don’t, all that time spent in training was at best wasted, or at worst created confusion, fear, and who knows what else.
Simulation has long held the promise of being able to solve the “inconsistency dilemma” associated with role play. But candidly, very few interpersonal skills simulations feel real enough that the learner becomes fully immersed in the experience. It’s hard to create a human conversation with technology. And if the learner isn’t fully engaged retention suffers – in some studies, by as much as 60 percent.
The SIMmersion PeopleSIM™ is unique in that it blends cutting edge technology with sound instructional design to create opportunities for the learner to safely practice applying coaching behaviors in their proper context. It provides detailed feedback and offers comprehensive remediation on the spot. And it busts through the “reality barrier” with its optional voice recognition module and a massive database of nodes (or possible responses). In fact, it offers so many different discussion threads (guided by the rules and probabilities entered into its proprietary gaming engine) that if 100 different people spoke with the simulated direct report on the screen, they could literally all have different experiences. Try it for yourself with this free demo.
Want to experience the future of interpersonal skills development? Give the talent management experts at Blueline a call today and test drive Simmersion PeopleSIM™.