Software Simulations

People-Centered Software Simulations

On this project, I was a subcontractor in an external software development team hired to create proprietary software for a government agency.

The software would replace a complex paper process for handling specific types of state benefits.  The end-users were professional-grade workers –experts in their fields, who would be using the software to organize, store and share highly confidential client information.

I was tasked with:

  • Performing a learning needs analysis and devising a strategic learning plan;
  • Developing a series of AICC compliant e-learning modules, containing demo, practice and assessment activities;
  • Designing templates that could be used as the starting-point for further e-learning modules;
  • Conducting fact-to-face and virtual Adobe Captivate train-the-trainer sessions for the client’s learning team.



Software simulations assessment introduction



During the learning needs analysis, it became clear that the work that would be performed using this software was not only technical, but also multi-faceted. Segmenting the e-learning modules into work tasks was key, but the challenge lay in continuing to engage with learners throughout such a rigorous assimilation process.

Fortunately, another aspect of the work that emerged during my research was its focus on people. The sense of purpose exuded by the SMES and internal trainers revealed that they gained a sense of fulfillment from performing meaningful work that impacted lives.

I decided that an evocative way to engage these particular learners would be to reflect this aspect of their corporate culture.

It was important to demonstrate that while the software would take care of organizational, compliance-related and confidential tasks in a manner that was consistent with the laws and policies that governed and guided their work, the end goal was to empower them to spend more time helping people.

The client was excited by this approach and invited me to their site to meet face-to-face with their staff and colleagues. I noted that in every area I visited, the focus on respecting people and helping improve their quality of life was reflected in the way people were treated in the workplace.

While on site, the internal training team, SMEs and I worked together to build a collection of anonymized, real user experiences that we would use as back-stories for the simulations.  We matched each of these stories to a specific task that needed to be performed using the software. I then found endearing characters to use in each of the stories, taking care to reflect the diversity of age, gender, ability, ethnicity and background present in their clients.

Hence, we were able to keep the purpose of improving people’s lives front and center throughout the simulations.