The Cone of Learning: 5 Reasons Why You Should Maximize Learning Efficiency with Simulation

Learning is a complex process, and to truly grasp and retain knowledge, active engagement is crucial. The Cone of Learning, a widely recognized concept attributed to the American educator Edgar Dale, beautifully illustrates how various learning methods impact retention. It indicates that we remember:

  • 10% of what we read
  • 20% of what we hear
  • 30% of what we see
  • 50% of what we both see and hear
  • 70% of what we say and write
  • 90% of what we simulate or role-play

This model underscores the importance of active learning methods, particularly simulation, which can lead to retention rates as high as 90%. Let’s delve deeper into why simulation-based learning is a game-changer:

1. Active Engagement: Learning by Doing:

Simulations epitomize active engagement. Whether it’s a flight simulator for aspiring pilots or a medical simulation for healthcare professionals, learners actively participate in decision-making and problem-solving. This level of engagement enhances comprehension and skill acquisition, surpassing the passive nature of traditional learning.

Imagine a medical student practicing surgical techniques in a virtual operating room. This hands-on experience immerses them in the process, helping them internalize critical skills more effectively than reading about it in a textbook.

2. Realistic Practice: Preparing for the Real World:

Simulation offers a remarkable advantage: learners can practice in realistic yet risk-free environments. It allows for trial and error without real-world consequences, facilitating profound understanding and skill development.

Consider a pilot-in-training using a flight simulator. They can face various weather conditions, emergencies, and technical glitches—all while safely grounded. This realistic practice hones their decision-making skills and builds confidence for actual flights.

3. Immediate Feedback: Learning from Mistakes:

Simulation platforms often provide real-time feedback. Learners receive instant responses to their actions, enabling them to adjust their strategies and learn from their mistakes promptly. This dynamic feedback loop accelerates skill acquisition and ensures that errors become valuable learning opportunities.

In the world of business, sales teams benefit immensely from simulation-based training. They can engage in lifelike sales scenarios, receive immediate feedback on their approaches, and fine-tune their sales techniques for real client interactions.

4.  Increased Motivation: Engaging Learning Experiences:

Interactive and immersive, simulations are inherently motivating. Learners are naturally drawn to the challenges and opportunities that simulations present. Moreover, the direct applicability of what they’re learning makes the experience even more engaging.

Think of a classroom where students are learning about history through a historically accurate simulation. Instead of reading about events, they actively participate, making decisions that affect the outcome. This kind of experiential learning fosters deep understanding and a lasting interest in the subject.

5.  Adaptability: Tailoring Learning Experiences :

Simulations are highly adaptable. They can be tailored to specific learning objectives and accommodate learners at different levels of proficiency. This adaptability ensures that each learner receives a personalized, targeted learning experience.

In corporate settings, leadership development programs often employ simulations. These simulations can be customized to address specific leadership challenges within an organization. They adapt to the needs of individual leaders, providing a highly relevant and impactful learning experience.


The Cone of Learning highlights the supremacy of active, experiential learning. Simulations, with their capacity to immerse learners in real-world scenarios, offer an extraordinary tool for efficient and enduring learning. As technology continues to advance, we can expect simulation-based learning to play an increasingly vital role in education, professional development, and skill enhancement.

So, whether you’re a student, a professional, or an educator, consider integrating simulation-based learning into your journey. This hands-on, immersive approach might just be the catalyst for mastering complex subjects, acquiring new skills, and fast-tracking your path to expertise. Embrace the power of simulation and embark on a transformative learning adventure

As you’ve explored the benefits of simulation-based learning in this blog post, I encourage you to take a bold step toward mastering a new skill. Commit to one action today, whether it’s signing up for a seminar, enrolling in an online course, or simply researching how to get started. Embrace the power of learning by doing through simulation, and watch your knowledge and expertise soar.

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