Pittsburgh Technical Council

A Better Way to Learn: Simcoach Games Celebrates 10 Years of Making Job Training Fun

A Better Way to Learn: Simcoach Games Celebrates 10 Years of Making Job Training Fun

Article Published: March 5, 2015

By Michelle Szemanski, The Hardware Store

Whoever knew that job training could actually be fun and games? Simcoach Games CEO Jessica Trybus did a decade ago when she founded the company as Etcetera Edutainment.

When you think of job training, you probably don’t picture yourself playing games. It usually looks like a thick packet of text and diagrams, page after page of raw information. The real training happens on the job, half trial and error and half-advice from a helpful co-worker. It’s hard to remember anything from the instruction manual when the reality of a situation presents itself.

But it’s 2015 and Simcoach Games has pioneered better ways to learn by updating the idea of effective learning and behavior change with games. In a world of smartphones, tablets and laptops, corporations are starting to realize how playing games can help employees work smarter and adapt to the demands of a modern workplace.

Jessica Trybus, CEO of Simcoach Games and Professor at Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC), explains the shift in thinking that Simcoach has mastered. “When you navigate through a game, you’re making choices and seeing the consequences play out in front of you. Games can allow you to role-play and practice the task at hand in context —so you can have the benefit of relevant ‘lessons learned.’ This is closer to reality than anything you’ll hear secondhand or see on a page. Educational games are active learning, and that’s the kind of learning that sticks.”

A brief look at Simcoach’s portfolio of games reveals the diversity of applications. It doesn’t start and end with job training—Simcoach Games helps people get better prepared and practiced for their task or work, cognitively or physically. Simcoach’s games also address patient engagement and patient satisfaction. From job safety and customer service to ethical decision-making and cognitive exercises, Simcoach has crafted intuitive games that engage players and make it easy for skills to transfer from screen to real time.

The decision to rebrand the company’s original name, Etcetera Edutainment, reflects Simcoach’s revitalization as a force in educational games. The new moniker mirrors the company’s guiding mantra: Simple, Interactive, Measurable. Simcoach’s games provide a measurable impact on user behavior through active learning with defined outcomes in mind.

A decade ago when Trybus founded Simcoach, learning by playing games was practically unheard of, especially in the corporate setting. The company was founded on her research while attending  Carnegie Mellon University’s ETC, and her first clients were the corporate heavy hitters of Pittsburgh, including ALCOA, U.S. Steel, and UPMC. Simcoach’s client list keeps expanding and diversifying, including the likes of Electrical Training Alliance, Constructors Association of Western Pennsylvania, Kelley School of Business, Honeywell and the US Department of Labor, to name a few.

In fact, business is so brisk that Trybus has plans to build out the company’s workforce over the coming year with more game designers, game developers and software engineers.

As the company grows its capacity, all clients can depend on great game design, rapid prototyping, weekly builds, and a close working relationship with Simcoach Games that consistently delivers a maximum quality product. As Simcoach expands its capacity for innovative game design with renewed energy and focus, clients can offer better training and users can employ new skills with greater confidence.

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