Although the icon suggests that I am moving from foolishness to wisdom, I am still a long way from wisdom.

My Learning Journey

Here I explore my life-long learning journey from today back to 1960! (I believe that history should be explored from today backwards rather than from the dim and distant past forward (dim and distant is especially relevant here as in the past I was (very) and my age makes it distant).











Site Map


I use the word learning rather than research as my purpose is not academic. Rather it is to improve the design and use of business simulations. My learning is informal, largely involving translating tacit knowledge to explicitly knowledge in a holistic way. But that is not to say that there is no structure or validation. Structure and validation involve creating and using the explicit knowledge. It involves thinking deeply about what I have done and asking myself why I did it this way. I focus this by writing articles (and papers), presenting at conferences, updating existing business simulations and creating new business simulations. It is a process that I see as "harvesting wisdom".

nstead of starting at the beginning and working forward, I describe my journey working back from the end toward the beginning!


Learning Focus Highlights


Design for Learning

I embeddes and pulled together my learning at the start of this decade  writing my second book on Business Simulations - "Corporate Cartooning - the Art, Science and Craft of Computer Business Simulation Design" and made it available as a free download.

Having explored learning purpose, practicalities of use, design methodology and structural composition, I am exploring how business simulations are actually designed starting with the structural composition issues and problems. Here I used as a case study the design of a business simulation to develop the business acumen of training providers. I am currently exploring (with another business acumen simulation) designs for learning - how the design ensures that thebusiness simulation meets learning needs.

In 2012 I was honoured to be made a fellow of the Association for Business Simulation and Experiential Learning (the worlds leading business simulation learned society).  An award that recognised my contribution to the business simulation knowledge base - suggesting that I am beginning to get things right.


Structural Composition
During this period I looked at the meta-design of business simulations. For many years I have seen business simulations at the mathematical equivalent of the strip cartoon. I discovered book on comic strip design (rather than drawing cartoon characters) by Scott McCloud
and used his comic strip design knowledge base to explain the artistic composition of business simulations. I mapped a simulation trapezoid to Scott's "Big Triangle" replacing his Picture Plane with a Model Domain where the dimensions are simplification and stylisation and his Word Plane with an Interactions Domain (decisions & results) where the dimensions are ambiguity and granularity. Beyond this I mapped the comic strip's Spacio-Topical System to Temporal-Topical System for business simulations that defined how decisions and results relate and change during the simulation. Improved structural composition improves design by ensuring that it is rational rather than based on conjecture - in other words, as for any art form, the use of structural composition separates the professionally trained artist from the amateur artist - the good from the bad.

In 2008, I was invided to keynote the International Simulation and Gaming Association (ISAGA) annual conference. The ISAGA conference is the premier gathering of simulation and gaming professionals and academics.

Design Methodology
During this period I translated my tacit experience designing some sixty different simulations into a design methodology (the Rock Pool Method). This is a methodology that rigorously designs a step-by-step process (the Rock Pools) that start with definition of needs and constraints and leads onto specification, design, development and validation to creating a finished simulations. Within each step (each Rock Pool) there is a creative, agile process consisting of several elements (individual rocks). Unlike the movement between the Rock Pools that is a rigorous step-by-step process, movement between rocks in a Rock Pool is unstructured and depends on the simulation and the creative process. The design methodology was validated using software design theory and experience designing several business simulations.

My Rock Pool Method was validated at the 2005 Association for Business Simulation and Experiential Learning conference in Orlando, USA. The best paper award is decided by the world's leading business simulation academics.


Architecture and Platform
In the last half of the Nineties I translated my explorations of learning needs, drivers and constraints into software. - an architecture and from this I developed a software platform. As part of this process I called on the software design knowledge I developed working for GE in the 1960s and Honeywell Information Systems in the 1970s, my two books on data processing and my experience developing some 50 business simulations. In parallel to developing the platform, I transferred existing simulations into the it and, not only did this validate
my architecture and platform but helped me refine it.

My Architecture and platform won an major London innovaltion award against major players like the the West Ham Premium League football club!

Learning Needs, Drivers and Constraints
At the beginning of the Nineties I decided to translate 20 years of tactic knowledge designing and using business simulations for company training into explicit knowledge.

I first explored why and how companies used business simulations for training and what constrained this use. I did this by looked at why clients had used my simulations and coupled this with my business course design experience with Honeywell Information Systems (1970s) and Ashridge Management College (1980s) and my line management experience with both Honeywell and GE. I honed this knowledge talking with HR executives and trainers and writing my third book "SIMULATION: Virtual Business Experience".

Second, I exploring the learning process associated with business simulation use and the role of the trainer (tutor). I starting by reflecting on my experiences runing business simulations and conceptualising a systems dynamic learning process model (that provided a structure that made my tacit knowledge explicit). I tested and honed this by writing papers and making presentations at conferences in the UK and the USA.

Me receiving my Churchill Fellowship Award (from John Major, UK Prime Minister) for my study of why and how business simulations were used for company training.


Building Tacit Knowledge
Even by the end of the decade, microcomputer use was sparse and difficult. Consequentially, most of my work involved actually running business simulations for clients in the UK, Europe and around the world. Most weeks I would be spending two or three days running a business simulation on a company training course, at a company conference or, as illustrated to the right, on a massive international contest (from 1984 to 1989). This helped me develop deep tacit knowledge of the learning and technical issues and problems associated with using business simulations to teach business people.

The Benson and Hedges Management Challenge ran from 1984 to 1989. Each year some 5000 contestants competed and the competition gained 11,000 column centimeters of editorial coverage.

Dawn of Micro Computing
Although I had studied and written about the potential of microcomputers in the late 1970s, I did not purchase my first microcomputers until 1980. The big advantage of Micro Computers over Computer Time Sharing was that marginal cost was zero and so there was no financial constraint on my use of personal computers. Not only did my use of microcomputers improved my productivity massively as I used word processors, desk top publishing and automated my firm's accounting but also allowed me to quadrupled the number of business simulations that I had developed . Developing these new business simulations built on my tacit knowledge of business simulation design.


Building Teaching Knowledge
During my time with Honeywel, besides advising on business model design, l I taught C-level executives about the benefits of using and the issues with using computers, taught on selling courses and had a training department reporting to me. In the mid 1970s I left Honeywell to teach quantitative marketing and write about the business impact of microcomputers.

Of the ten business simulations I developed in the 1970s two wer used to run three National Business Contests.

Building Computer, Financial and Marketing Knowledge
In 1969 I returned to the UK to launch the first interactive modelling package in the UK. To support this and because the idea of business modelling was new I created a business simulation. Working for a GE subsidiary and then Honeywell Information Systems enabled me to build my knowledge of computing, software and corporate systems design - an understanding that I embedded and honed by writing two books on data processing (published by Cassels) and refined my knowledge of business modelling by helping large companies create financial and corporate planning models, writing articles and developing a total of ten business simulations ranging in duration from two hours to two and a half days.


Dawn of Personal Computing
On January 21st 1967 I entered the computer age using Computer Time Sharing. I used a teletype to access a remote computer over ordinary telephone lines. This worked so well that within six months I had a teletype on my desk and I had taught myself to program in BASIC and Algol. Also I had blown the department's budget for Computer Time Sharing but in doing so had done five years work - a massive improvement in productivity. Although Computer Time Sharing massively increased my productivity this was costly as charges were on a usage basis with connection time and processing time charged separately.

The first version of personal computing was Computer Time-Sharing where one used a Teletype to contact a remote computer over ordinary telephone lines. You shared the computer with up to 30 other users and had a massive 15k of Ram avaialble for your programs. The Teletype communicated at 110 bits per second and stored your programs and data on paper tape.

Business 101
My degree in Electrical Engineering was especially relevant for several reasons. First, electronic design involves building a model of the circuit and this I feel is paralleled by the business models. Second, there are the mathematical and logical skills both of which are necessary wto build business models. And, finally, And, finally, there are the dynamic feedback elements of electronic systems, knowledge that I used tacitly to manage learning and in my designs before making it explicit in the early 1990s.

After leaving Imperial, London, I went to the USA to work for GE on their Manufacturing Management Program and later, while working, attended their Advanced Management Methods course. Besides learning about manufacturing, the former taught me about finance and the latter about statistics - knowledge that I have refined and used over the years when designing business simulations.

2013 Jeremy J. S. B. Hall

Most recent update: 07/06/13
Hall Marketing, Studio 11, Colman's Wharf, 45 Morris Road, London E14 6PA, ENGLAND
Phone +44 (0)20 7537 2982 E-mail