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Masters' Q&A - Guy Wallace

Experts Answer 5 Questions on Simulations - Guy Wallace

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I'm delighted to start this series of interview blogs with Guy Wallace. Guy is an important voice in learning design, performance improvement, and human performance technology. I'm proud to have him in my professional network.





Guy has earned the Honorary Life Member Award from ISPI – the International Society for Performance Improvement -- for his contributions to both the technology of Performance Improvement and to ISPI. As an Instructional Design professional, he has worked with over 80 clients since 1982. He is the author of 35 books and over 100 published articles on performance consulting, learning design, and L&D leadership.


To learn more about him, his work, and his advocacy, go here.


DAN: Why do you think leaders at all levels get so much from learning in simulations?

GUY: It's the authenticity of the simulated situation and their ability to reflect on that situation and their response - and perhaps to try it again - that allows them to improve their performance.


DAN: How have simulation participants demonstrated their learning back on the job? What’s the return on this investment (financial or non-financial)?

GUY: My clients seldom shared what they tracked regarding ROI in financial terms, but over the decades, I have heard plenty of stories about training participants who demonstrably performed what they had learned from a series of simulations, as my design efforts usually avoided any "one and done" approaches to Practice with Feedback.


DAN: What makes the learning through simulation experience unique and meaningful?

GUY: The closer it reflects the real-world performance tasks and outputs of the learner it moves from addressing topics to their application, which unfortunately is seldom done, because of the time it takes to conduct a simulation exercise.


DAN: Some Talent Development Teams partner with Finance leaders, HR leaders, Project professionals, or even senior Operations executives on topics in their area of expertise. How have simulators been adapted in collaboration with these subject experts? What have been the results?

GUY: Back in 1987, I developed a series of simulations targeting Product Development Team Meetings where each participant progressed through the Product Life Cycle, each playing the functional roles of teammates representing Product Management, Engineering, Manufacturing, Sales, and Service. My clients reported back testimonials from the target audiences' management regarding the improved conduct of team meetings and the consensus developed around the critical issues the teams were facing.


DAN: What energizes you about your work?

GUY: I am always energized when I see the recognition by my clients, stakeholders, sources, and learners that Performance-Based Instruction and the authentic Application Exercises that are central to the design reflect the realities, including the typical challenges, and will be impactful in the learners' ability to perform back on the job. After all, that's what it's all about.


Want to read more?

Guy has been a prolific, determined, and gracious professional his entire career. He continues to share his expertise, along with that of other L&D experts, in posts, books, articles, presentations, and blogs. Here are a couple of places where you can learn more from him on the subject of simulations for learning and performance improvement:





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