Tutoring Support for Business Simulations

I see the tutor as an essential part of the learning process and this involves you performing several tasks and the design of my business simulations support you giving you time to coach and manage learning.

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Although this page discusses the role of the tutor in the context of using business simulations, the tasks described are applicable to running courses for business people where the course is learner led.

The information on this page is based on my and others' experiences actually running simulations on company training courses and articulated in several papers [1, 2, 3].

My Tutor Support System is key to my firm's values - effective, efficient and consistent business learning.

The Business Simulation Tutor's Tasks

ADMINISTRATOR

Here your role is to ensure that the business simulation runs smoothly. And although for business simulations, administration is mainly delegated to the computer there is the need for special functionality to ensure that everything runs smoothly and you are not faced with technology problems.

FACILITATOR

Here your role is to ensure that all the participants' questions can be answered completely and quickly as there is nothing worse than the business simulation user (you or me) to have to search frantically for an answer to learners' questions.  But, I see it as a passively, reactive tutoring task as it depends on the learners requesting help and hence is different from Managing Learning. This means that the business simulation must provide the information to help you answer questions..

MANAGER OF LEARNING

Here your role is to ensure that learning is stimulated proactively and the learners are coached and challenged when and as needed. Although business simulations are learner centred and leaning authority is delegated to them, the responsibility for delivering effective, efficient and consistent learning is still the responsibility of the tutor! he support needed to do this. This means that the business simulation must help you analyse learning, identify problems and provide the information to feedback and direct learning (learn more Tutor Managed Learning here).


Tutor Support System

In order to support these roles our simulations build in a Tutoring Support System that encompasses:

TUTORING NEEDS

Administration

Facilitation

Learning
Management

 Help System

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 Decision Screen

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 Explanations

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 Comments    

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 Tutor's Audit  

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 Team Commentary  

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Help System

This is an online, context sensitive, hypertext help system that explains how to use the software, explains the current task and, for direct use simulations, defines terms. The help screens displayed depend on the current task and what the simulator user is doing.

Decision Screening

Whenever decisions are entered into the simulator they are screened at three levels to see if they:

This ensures that mistakes and misunderstandings are trapped before simulation occurs. (Sophistic decisions are those that, based on the current business situation and trends, suggest a lack of business acumen and clear thinking.)

Explanations

This is a series of reports that show, in detail, how the financial and operational results are calculated. So, they allow the tutor to explain and reconcile results in response to questions asked by the participants.

Comments

Besides the usual quantitative reports, many of our simulations provide qualitative comments on team's strengths and weaknesses. These replicate the feedback that might be received from staff, customers, suppliers, etc.. The comments are deliberately fuzzy ensuring that the teams must discuss and decide the relevance of the comment and decide whether to change their actions. Examples of these comments are as follows:

Tutor's Audit

This consists of a series of reports that compare teams and so highlights and records differences between teams and allows the tutor to quickly identify which teams need coaching and which teams need challenging.

Team Commentaries

This records, for each team separately, their progress. It consists of several reports that analyse team performance. These commentaries can be used to help individual team coaches & assessors and provide a record that can be used in the post simulation review or as the basis of a formal report.

References

[1] Hall, Jeremy and Benita Cox (1993) Computerised Management Games: the feedback process and servo-mechanism analogy, Simulation & Gaming Yearbook 1993 eds Fred Percival and Danny Saunders, Kogan Page London.

[2] Hall, Jeremy J. S. B. (1994a) Computerised Tutor Support Systems: the tutor's role, needs and tasks, The Simulation & Gaming Yearbook Volume 2 eds. Roger Armstrong, Fred Percival and Danny Saunders Kogan Page London.

[3] Hall, Jeremy J. S. B (1994b) Computerised Tutor Support Systems Developments in Business Simulations and Experiential Exercises Volume 21 eds. Precha Thavikulwat & John D. Overby, College of Business Administration, Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma

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1999 Jeremy J. S. B. Hall

Most recent update: 02/11/12
Hall Marketing, Studio 11, Colman's Wharf, 45 Morris Road, London E14 6PA, ENGLAND
Phone +44 (0)20 7537 2982 E-mail
jeremyhall@simulations.co.uk