Hawaii's Scare Showcases Importance of Simulated Learning


Many of CD2's clients select our platform for the built-in authoring tools and ability to create and deliver simulated learning.

It makes sense, training associates through experience alone is neither cost effective or safe. Learning through a simulated experience is faster, costs less, and is safer for your valued equipment and personnel. Simulations reduce harm to people and equipment. They offer opportunities to "simulate" an experience you may not be able to offer in the real world. It's a technique proven to accelerate learning and offer the opportunity to integrate the new knowledge and skills. Most importantly, simulations provide the opportunity to fail (make instructive mistakes) with the results being less costly than in the real world. There may be no bigger case for simulations than last Saturday's horrific bomb scare in Hawaii.

At 8:07 a.m. Saturday, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency activated its civilian early warning system to cell phones:

“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”  We now know the message was a complete accident, simple human error. Following the routine test of readiness, a staff member selected "live alert" rather than a "test alert." Absolute panic followed for the next 38 minutes.

Simulations and trials at this level of readiness are absolutely essential and obviously in use. Simulating an alert is to be commended. However, it makes you wonder about the training for initiating the alert system? Why did the buttons look alike!? Why wasn't there a confirmation box pop-up to double check the decision? You can bet there are board designers hard at work coming up with a system (and button) that is less confusing.

If there had been simulated learning on the protocol and screen/board itself, surely the confusing buttons would have been discovered earlier. This is the kind of costly, damaging mistake that can be avoided if stressful situations are practiced before being put into play.

Our hearts go out to the people of Hawaii for what they experienced. Given the availability of technology today, this may well be a chance for many organizations to assess their procedures and identify areas that could benefit from simulated training.

  We’ve recently published a whitepaper that details one client's journey from their previous “Sage on the Stage” training to new, engaging, interactive, and trackable online learning - including screen training on a point of sale system.  Read about their challenges, the solutions, and the exciting results here: