Simulation Model Domain
This explores the business simulation model in terms of simplicity and stylisation and the implications of this in terms of learning and engagement.
Business simulation models differ in terms of simplicity (horizontal axis) and stylisation (vertical axis) on the Simulation Model Domain. Simplicity and appropriate focus ensures learning efficiency. Stylisation to emphasise issues ensures learning efficiency.
Simplicity impacts directly a simulation's duration and through this development costs and this impacts learning efficiency.
Stylisation allows one to emphasise issues, help learners understand the relationships between decisions and results and engagement and this impacts learning effectiveness.
Business simulations on the Simulation Model Domain typically replicate
These these attempt to replicate a business exactly. Because of this they suffer from several problems. They are complex and this means that they have very long durations. The focus on replicating reality misses the purpose - providing learning and engagement - it is difficult for the learners to unravel cause and effect and see how their decisions impact their results. Also commonly, some learners have preconceived ideas about the simulated business and become disaffected when these are not reinforced..
These replicate in a stylised and simplified way a particular industry and it's issues. Simplification helps reduce duration. improve learning and engagement. Often these are more than adequate for use on business acumen, business appreciation and financial for non-financial managers courses..Examples of this form of simulation are the Challenge Series - each of which address the issues of different industries and model their financial, marketing and operational structures. Generally, it is vitally important to use a business simulation that is appropriate to the industrial background of the learners and replicates the issues facing them.
These simulations use invented products and market situations to provide an engaging and challenging business situation. A situation where learners have to think deeply without preconceived ideas. This allows marketing and business strategy to be explored in depth. So, for example Global Operations uses an imaginary virtual patient; Product Launch uses an imaginary self-heating soup and Service Launch uses an Imaginary taxicab company servicing the party animal market - Chucker Cabs.
At the top of the Model Domain is where the stylisation becomes surreal. I have only developed one simulation that could be regarded as surreal - my Politico Game. This replicated the spin elements of the British Political situation. However, it has been suggested to me that it was the situation modeled that was surreal rather than the simulation.
I have found that simulations positioned in the Generic Business level and the Imaginary Business level have delivered the best and most engaging learning provided that they replicate the learners' industry. I have found that business simulations that attempt to replicate real businesses accurately are confusing, take too much time and as a result do not deliver effective and efficient learning.
Learn more about factors impacting choiceof scenario
A professionally designed simulation will be appropriately simplified and stylised based on learning needs, efficient and effective learning.
This page summarises information from my book "Corporate Cartooning: the art, science and craft of business simulation design" and my keynote Presentation at the 2008 ISAGA Conference.
Most recent update: 30/10/10
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