One of the earliest applications for simulator-based training was to train airplane pilots. Today, simulators are used to train people across many professions, including as health care (e.g., for surgeons), aviation, military, aerospace, shipping, nuclear, oil & gas, chemical and many other industries in which workers have high levels of responsibility with the possibility that mistakes could result in harm to people, equipment and/or the environment.
Although a well-rounded program that includes classroom, online and on-the-job training is important, ongoing research indicates that for operations and other personnel in many types of industrial plants and facilities, operator training simulators (OTS) can be particularly beneficial. This is because simulators enable operators to practice operations in a situational context. Unlike training on live control systems, operator training simulators can be used to practice real-life scenarios (both normal and abnormal) without the risk of adverse consequences. In addition to gaining an understanding how the plant functions, simulators can enable workers to learn how to solve problems and make better and faster decisions.
Research has shown that companies that have utilized simulation in training have workers that learn faster, retain information longer, and perform much better than workers who have only been trained through more traditional training such as on the job, on-line, or classroom training.