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#SimTect2015 #SimHealth2015 Wrap-up


Simulation Australasia really pulls out all the stops to make an amazing conference! Another SimTect and SimHealth conference is finished and we are left with a USB full of brilliant papers and a buzzing mind full of ideas – and if you were Garth from Thales, a selphie printer he won in our lucky draw competition.

We were on the SA government stand and as you can see from the photo, had a lot of people visiting us (even if it was to have their photo taken to win a printer!).

There were number of highlights, so I’m going to tell you about our top four.

Inspiration and immersion

Having been a trainer for a long time, it is rare that I have a formal learning experience that elicits that feeling of ‘oh gosh, what is happening here’. Well, that happened for me in Ben Krynski’s demonstration Moving Beyond: Simulation Training for the Wider Community.

I was one of three participants who were given a first aid kit and told to wait to find out what was going to happen. After a short period, we were grabbed and told a patient was in distress. Walking in the room, the loud music simulated the narrowing of focus when under stress and when the other participants crowded us, there was a real feeling of adrenaline, before even seeing the patient. We were confronted with a pale face, rapid breathing and red eyes and around the mouth. What do you do?? After the simulation, we had a quick debrief which was a great learning experience (especially hearing advice from qualified and experienced health professionals).

What I loved about the session was that it shows how effective a live simulation can be and simple strategies like music and make up add to the level of immersion in the simulation. Also, that wonderful feeling that you have no idea what is going on, which was so valuable.

Phaedra Boinodiris – Plenary

Phaedra Boinodiris (@INNOV8game) is the Serious Gaming/Gamification Global Leader at IBM and spoke about The Untapped Potential: Simulation Through Serious Games and Gamification as a lead in to a panel discussion.

In her presentation, she showed examples of how games and game technology interface with simulation and how these can help teach, motivate and boost productivity. When research shows that 70% of employees are disengaged, organisations are looking to motivate their employees in different ways. Games and gamification are a way of doing this as they are good at explaining complex systems as well as being instruments of change. Phaedra believes that we are at an interesting point in time, where the confluence of technology and data means we will be able to integrate real data into real time and use this information to optimise our work products.

Phaedra showed a range of examples of how this is happening, including a brilliant time-based game when the changes you make in the past, impact on the future (think Marty McFly’s photo in Back to the Future). It made me think of the ‘Back to the past’ module we developed for DECD to their due diligence training.

E-leaning panel

I was asked to host a panel session on e-learning and simulation – we discussed questions like when integrating e-learning and simulation, where is the line between e-learning and simulation? Is it important? This panel considered the practice of simulation in an e- learning context and explore how simulation and serious games can be incorporated into a cross-platform e- learning environment.

Our brilliant panellists were:

The panel shared their experiences and there was robust discussion. Ben described the importance of organisational and learner context when designing simulations, Justin told us about the organisational context that prompted the development of their Virtual Parametic training (watch the help video) and Hayley talked about the learner context that prompted them to develop e-learning supports for their simulation centre (problem based learning environment). We asked more questions than we answered, but it was great to see how e-learning can be used both as simulation as well as to support simulation.

Serious games showcase

There were some fantastic serious games up for awards – congratulations to HackNet (student) and Project desal (Monkeystack).

What stood out for me was a  developer (Scott Cabot) who spent time talking with us about the importance of accessibility and game development. As we spend a lot of time talking with our clients about accessibility, it was refreshing to talk with someone so passionate about the area. I’m keen to start a dialogue about accessibility standards in simulation and have taken it to the PD specialist committee – watch this space.

So there you have it, a top 4 experiences from SimTect/SimHealth.

On a final note, we spoke with lots of people about the importance of taking a problem-solving approach to learning and development, with simulation being a key way to train staff/students. If you have any learning and development problems that need solving, send us an email at

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