A business simulation is spread through the course acting as a theme and linking subjects.
This is perhaps my favourite way of using a business simulation as I believe that it provides optimum learning and helps maintain engagement throughout the course.
Reasons for Use
Practical Issues with use
Suitable Business Simulations
Besides this, most of my business simulations can be used in this way.
LINK THEORY WITH PRACTICE
Learning consists of several stages. Knowledge acquisition on its own is "bitty" and, without application, theoretical. By unifying the simulation with the course, formal session build knowledge and the simulation allows participants to link this with existing knowledge and relate it experientially to the "real-world".
PROVIDES A CHANGE OF PACE
The workload on a short course is often very high with executives working from 8:30am nearly continuously until 10:00pm or even later at night. The effect of this, very long day can be reduced by a change of pace. For instance, if the simulation is run in the evening, then this simulates the group that, otherwise, would be tired after a long day.
ONGOING TEST OF UNDERSTANDING
By testing understanding as the course progresses the tutor can provide remedial sessions to correct learning problems or increase the pace of the course if the necessary.
INTEGRATE THE COURSE
The course sessions designed to build knowledge and often to focus on one area of knowledge. This is often stressed by having different session tutors. Using a simulation as a theme integrates these sessions. (Alternatively, the simulation as a course "finale" does the same but then it may be too late to provide remedial learning.)
RESULT ORIENTATED LEARNING
The counter pointing of knowledge acquisition with knowledge application emphasises the relationship between learning and its practical use to improve business performance. Since most executives are results oriented, this will be motivating.
If you are having someone to run the business simulation for you having him or her sitting in for the whole course. However, as many of my business simulations are designed for you to run you are not facing extra costs - just the cost of renting the business simulation for your course.
Learn more about self-tutoring
INTEGRATION & CONTINUITY
The tutor must ensure that the simulation integrates with the course and continuity is maintained. This involves relating the learning issues raised to the other sessions. This is particularly important if different tutors run the other sessions. Continuity is improved if the tutor running the course runs the simulation.
Integration and continuity may require some customisation but as my business simulations are designed to allow for customisation this is not a problem. Further, often only micro customisation is needed and this is very low cost.
Learn more about customisation
The simulation can be timetabled into the after lunch and after dinner sessions where a stimulating session is required. If decisions are submitted at the end of these timetabled sessions, processing can be done in the tutor's "spare time"! The results should be returned at the start of the next business simulation period to ensure that teams do not work on them during the other sessions.
A problem is that the simulation's active, participative nature may contrast unfavourably with other sessions and may become the tail wagging the dog. As suggested above, working on the business simulation should be constrained to the sessions time-tabled. This can be done by not returning results before the start of the next business simulation period. Additionally, the tutor running the business simulation and the tutors running the other sessions should link the two.
CHOICE OF SIMULATION
The simulation chosen can be more complex than suggested by the time available. This is because teams will have time, probably subconsciously, to reflect on the simulation. Also, integration means that issues will be raised during other sessions. Finally decision processing and the printing of results can be done in "spare time" and so participants do not waste time awaiting results.
Source: Churchill Fellowship Study and chapter in my latest book - Corporate Cartooning Book (find out more).
Most recent update: 05/04/12
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