Simulators and emulators provide the opportunity for recruits to train on equipment or systems with which they can interact (to a lesser or greater degree) as they would with the real equipment or systems. The benefits include minimising the time the real equipment is off line for training duties and avoiding the possibility of damaging or catastrophic accidents.
An emulator is generally a screen-based representation of equipment, which provides a high fidelity, graphical interface through which the student interacts with a software model of the system to undertake experiential training against realistic scenarios.
A simulator is a high fidelity, high functionality training device into which the student is usually fully immersed where the physical form and feel is of equal importance to the functionality of the system being modelled.
Either approach allows trainees to become competent and confident prior to progressing to training with the real equipment. The ultimate decision on emulator or simulator comes down to the five ‘Fs’ – required levels of form, fit, feel, fidelity and function required to meet the training requirements.