Tutor Mediated Simulations

Here the business simulation is run by the trainer using a single computer and printer and where the teams concentrate on managing their simulated business rather than using a computer.

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This type of business simulation is used where it is desirable to have the teams interact and compete in the markets. This means that the teams submit their decisions to the trainer who then enters them into the simulator on a single computer, simulates their effect and returns the results to the teams.

An example of how a Tutor Mediated simulation is used.

Team working on running their business without the distraction of a computer.

Team working on running their business without the distraction of a computer. Team working on running their business without the distraction of a computer.

Tutor takes decisions from teams, enters them into the simulation and returns the printed results to teams.

Team working on running their business without the distraction of a computer. Team working on running their business without the distraction of a computer.

Team working on running their business without the distraction of a computer.

Example Business Simulations

All of my Strategy Series, most of my Challenge Series, some of my Tactical Series and my Sales Management Simulation are Tutor Mediated because the situation modeled requires interactions between the teams in the marketplace.

Strengths

The trainer is central to the process and so is fully aware of the decisions and results and so is able to identify coaching needs and manage the learning process. To help the tutor manage learning my simulations incorporate a tutor support system

Only a single computer and printer is required so the simulation can be run anywhere (such as a hotel).

Participants concentrate on learning and the business that they are managing and are not distracted by the computer.

Participants do not need to be computer literate and no time is wasted while they learn how to use the software. (The trainer is the only person who needs to know how to use the computer and this skill can be gained before the course. Further, since all my Tutor Mediated simulations use the same user interface, once the trainer is familiar with one the learning curve for the others is shortened.)

Weaknesses

An administrative load is placed on the trainer and if more than four teams are taking part an administrative assistant may be needed.

A reliable printer is required.

Participants may expect to be using computers and may feel deprived if they can't!

There may be a short time while decisions are processed where teams are idle. However, my simulation are designed to minimises this.

Interactive simulations require decisions being made synchronously. In other words, all teams submit decisions simultaneously. This means that slower teams may be rushed and faster teams under-worked. However, this problem is minimised if the teams are chosen carefully and balanced in terms of prior learning and experience.

Although not being distracted by the computer is a benefit for many simulations, a very complex simulation may require the teams to be supported by planning software. (This is explored on the page about Decision Support Simulations).

Practicalities

Normally, each team will be allocated a team room to work in. The exception to this is where the simulation is being used at a business conference where it may be attractive to spread the teams around one large room.

The printer is the bottleneck but my designs take this into account and print results in stages (preliminary results, full results and then business research). The preliminary results means that teams have something to work with while the full results are being printed.

Process

The process involved with this form of simulation

Brief Simulation This involves a short briefing about the simulation after which the group is assigned membership of teams and given the written participants' manual.
Familiarisation
and Planning
This involves the participants working in their individual groups becoming familiarising themselves with the task, assigning roles and responsibilities and deciding objectives and preliminary strategies. On training courses it is desirable if each team works in a separate breakout room. But, at company conferences it is desirable if all teams work on separate tables spread around a large room.
Decision Making This involves the repeating the decision-making between six and eight times. At predefined times teams submit their decisions on forms to the trainer who enters them into the simulator. When all are entered and checked the period is simulated and results automatically printed to return to the teams. Besides team results and to help the trainer answer questions and manage learning, the Tutor Support System provides additional reports.

After receiving their results teams analyse these and replan before making and submitting their next decisions.

Decision-Making Cycle

Make Decisions

Analyse & Replan

Submit Decisions

Simulate and Print

Review Optionally before the teams recombine to discuss and compare their results they can be given time to prepare a presentation.

Automatic Printing

Here I describe the automatic printing process.

Interim Results

Initially a single page is printed for each team separately that allows them to work while the full results are printed (these results can be used by the participants to manually create full results.

 

Full Team Results

Next one or more pages are printed for each team showing the results for their business.

 

Business Research

One or more pages of business research information is printed with a copy for each team and an extra one for the tutor.
 

Tutor's Audit

Comparative information about team decisions and results are printed to help the tutor identify which teams need coaching and which need challenging.

 

Team Commentaries

One or more pages are printed analysing individual team performance and identifying strengths and weaknesses.

2003 Jeremy J. S. B. Hall

Most recent update: 30/10/12
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