Learning Engineer

How my engineering background impacts my business simulation design and my focus on process and practicalities rather than just theory and content.

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Engineering Degree

I obtained an Honours Degree in Electrical Engineering from Imperial College (one of the world's leading universities). At first you may say what is the relevance? Firstly when designing an electronic circuit you build a model of it and this meant that it was natural for me to move to creating business models. Second, digital circuits require the ability to deal with logic - again a skill required when designing business simulations. Third, an engineer has mathematical skills and this is important when designing simulations. Finally, as described next, part of my degree involved learning about control systems and I used this as the basis of my Systems Dynamics Learning Process Model.

An engineering degree from Imperial

Systems Dynamic Learning Journey Model

My degree coupled with extensive experience using simulations led me to realising that like the servo-mechanism a business simulation was a feedback process. This led to my developing a systems dynamics model. This model has three interacting dynamics - cognition (learning), affection (engagement) and (cognitive) workload.

As the simulation progresses these change forming a learning journey. A learning journey that must be created during design and managed during use. In the workload and cognition diagrams to the right, the basic learning journey is shown by the black line. Above this there is a dark green band showing how economic calibration increases workload and learning. Similarly, the middle green band shows how evolving decisions and results ramp learning and workload. Finally, the light green band shows how the tutor ensures good use of time, learning and engagement (affection) during the simulation.

My systems dynamics learning journey model

Rock Pool Design Methodology

Designing business simulations that are delivered to time and to cost require a rigorous design process. But to provide an effective and engaging simulation requires agility and creativity in an iterative artistic process. These two needs conflict and led to developing my Rock Pool design methodology. As a child I enjoyed exploring rock pools on the beach. I moved purposely between the pools but explored each pool in an iterative and agile way searching for critters under rocks. The rock pool method replicates this with you moving purposely in a rigorous fashion between design stages but with each stage working iteratively with agility.

As you can see to the right my methodology was recognised by the Association for Business Simulation and Experiential Learning (ABSEL).

Leanness & Waste

My early career work in manufacturing means that I espouse leanness in design and use - focus on learning purpose and ease of use.

In the diagram to the right the area A+B defines the simulation and its duration. Focusing design on learning purpose (B) rather than modeling reality (A) minimises waste and shortens duration (ensuring efficiency), improves relevance (effectiveness and engagement).

Besides a learning focus, there is a need to minimise the waste associated with use - decision entry, simple interfaces, automation of report production, journalisation, error checking and recovery etc.

Finally there is the need for lean design and customisation - something ensured by my software architecture and platform.

2014 Jeremy J. S. B. Hall

Most recent update: 10/04/17
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