Business Simulation versions to match your learning needs

Versions ensure that a business simulation meets your exact needs effectively and efficiently.

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Besides providing a wide range of different business simulations addressing different learning needs for different industries, to focus in on your needs further we normally provide each in a range of versions. This page explains why and provides examples.

Why multiple versions.

The diagram to the right shows how versions of the same business simulation might spread across Needs and Scope. Each dark blue circle represents the learning provided by the simulation and the red circle the learning desired. For efficient learning the overlap between the two must to be substantial. If there is a mismatch between the circles then learning will be compromised and to avoid this different versions of the same simulation must be developed taking into account:

Diagram showing spread of versions

Learning Needs
The starting point when choosing a business simulation are the learning needs and even if the scenario is appropriate there may be a mismatch between the learning provided by the simulation and the learning needed by the learners and the client. In the Venn diagrams above, the blue circles show the learning provided by the simulation and the red circles show the desired learning and demonstrate a good match. For example a short business acumen course might use the Classic version. But, a longer, more advanced business acumen course might require deeper financial awareness and include reports that treat markets or products and profit centres. In this instance, the Progressive version where these reports are introduced during the simulation.
Learn more about Learning Needs
Current Issues
Although a simulation may be a good replica of a businesses financial, operational, market structures etc, there is still a need for the simulation to raise the current issues facing the business. For instance, a few years back I developed a simulation for the financial services wing of a major bank. After using it for well over a year, the strategic direction changed. Happily, all that was needed was to reorganise the decisions made and the results produced extending the life of the simulation.
 
Experience and Knowledge
The experience and knowledge of both the learners and the tutor managing the learning impact the appropriateness of a business simulation version. For example, a few years back a school came to me to use my Executive Challenge simulation. Because the students' knowledge of business was limited, the simulation was simplified with decisions and reports removed and the scenario changed. Likewise, one long time user of my simulations has had special versions developed to reflect his needs.
 
Manner of Use
A simulation used at the end of a course to test and embed learning will differ from one used as a course theme or one used on an assessment centre. In particular, different ways of using a simulation will require the timing and range of decisions and reports. For example, when used as a Course Finale the simulation will need to address most of the issues raised during the course. In contrast, where used as a Course Theme, the simulation needs to introduce issues and experiences and embed prior learning. And, where the simulation is used as part of an Assessment Centre, a set of reports must be produced especially for the assessors.
 
Duration
Perhaps the main constraint to business simulation use is its duration. It is particularly problematic as if the duration is too short, learners will not have enough time to reflect on and embed what they have learned. And, if the duration is too long then the learners' time will be wasted. As duration is highly correlated with complexity it is adjusted by removing or adding decisions and results. Thus the Classic version (above) has fewer decisions and results than the Progressive or Compleat versions.
 
Language
There are two aspects to language - business terminology and foreign language. Business Terminology changes involves ensuring that the terminology used by the simulation matches that used by the company using the simulation and is necessary to eliminate confusion and make the learners believe that the simulation is totally relevant to their business. Likewise, the foreign language enables non-English speaking learners to be comfortable with the simulation. Examples of both are British and American terminology (both deemed to be "English" - for example British "stocks" translates to American "inventory" and British "shares" translates to American "stocks". (I am mindful of the first formal report I wrote in the USA while working for GE. I handed it to my boss's secretary to type. A few minutes later he called me into his office laughing - the secretary had asked him whether she should type as it was or translate first!) Because of the language need, my simulations are all driven from editable ASCII data files that allow for language changes.
More information about changing the language
Cost Efficient
Developing a new simulation can be costly while creating a new version is much less costly. Even if the relatively low cost, it can be significant compared to developing a new version of an existing simulation. In money terms a new simulation is likely to cost tens of thousands of Pounds, Dollars or Euros in contrast creating a new version can cost from a few hundred to a few thousand Pounds, Dollars or Euros!

Standard Versions

Below is information about the characteristics of the standard versions that I provide. But, as versions are added based on customer demand any specific simulation will not have all versions available but if needed they can be provided. The descriptions below are provided to help prospective users decide whether they need a special version and if so which would be appropriate.

CLASSIC

This is the entry level version of the simulation. It is designed to be used in the majority of training situations by trainers with little or no experience of simulation and where time is at a premium. As this is the basic simulation, this version is available for a majority of simulations.

CLASSIC +

This is slightly more complex than the Classic Version involving extra decisions and producing extra reports. So, it is designed for more experienced managers or where a little more time is available.

PROGRESSIVE

The complexity of this simulation increases throughout the  business simulation. This version is especially useful where the simulation is used as a course theme where new issues are progressively introduced and explored. Usually, the new issues are introduced through additional reports. So, for example, profit/investment centres are introduced through reports that look at how each product/market sector generates profit (and cash) and uses assets. And these reports are introduced about halfway through the simulation. Besides introducing new reports, some simulations are provided where additional decisions are introduced as the simulation progresses. And, to differentiate these from the standard progressive version we will be referring to these as PROGRESSIVE +. As the use of simulations spread across a course is popular and the progressive paradigm enables the greatest learning to be packed into available time, most of our most popular simulations are available in this version.

ASSESSMENT

This version is especially designed for where the simulation is used as part of an assessment/development centre. From the participants' viewpoint, the simulation is the same as the Classic version. However, a special series of team commentaries are produced to help the assessors identify participants' strengths and weaknesses and the issues they should be addressing. Because of their popularity for use on assessment/development centres, most of our Challenge Series are available in this version.

COMPLEAT

This is the most complex of all the versions of the simulations with all decisions and results introduced from the beginning. This version is designed for the most expert user with the most demanding of needs.

CONFERENCE

This is a special fun version of the simulation for use at company conferences. However, besides being fun, it provides team building with a business success focus and so differs from other team building activities (such as building bridges across alligator infested rivers or absailing down the Empire State Building). Normally, because of the demands placed on the organiser (and because why should you have all the fun) this version is run by ourselves for you!

STUDENT

This is the entry level version of the simulation for use in schools. It is similar to the classic version of the simulation designed to be used by teachers with little or no experience of simulation and where time is at a premium. To encourage enterprise and entrepreneurship these simulations are available at a large discount or free provided they are only used with full time school pupils.

ACADEMIC

This is more complex than the Student Version and is designed for use in universities. It is similar to the Progressive Version but with an extensive documentation pack allowing for the minimum of teaching support. To encourage enterprise and entrepreneurship these simulations are available at a large discount provided they are only used with full time university students.

Besides these different levels of complexity, the simulations can be provided in different languages and we can provide specially sponsored and branded editions.

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1999 Jeremy J. S. B. Hall

Most recent update: 08/01/15
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