Direct Use Business Simulation Manager

These simulations involve the participants entering decisions rather than the tutor.

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Direct Use simulations include my Concepts Series, non-interactive Total Enterprise Simulations and certain Functional simulations. These are simulations that do not involve or require interactions between teams and are used where time is at a premium and duration must be minimised.

Learning Purpose

These simulations involve participants in exploring a concept (such as the product life cycle or pricing) or running a business (such as a professional services company or not-for-profit organisation) where competition with other teams of learners is not appropriate or necessary.

Learning Use

These simulations may be used

Learning Journey

Each period participants enter decisions, these are simulated producing results that participants take away to analyse before making the next set of decisions.

How the simulation progresses pariod-by-period

Learning Management

As participants enter their own decisions it can be difficult for the tutor to identify learning needs, problems and opportunities. Ideally, the groups should be spread in teams around a room as this allow the tutor to move from group to group observing, listening, looking at results and questioning.

Meta-composition

A short duration, means that cognitive load is the critical constraint. that is handled by restricting the number of decisions and reports. For example my two hour Product Launch simulation has three decisions and produces a single report with ten lines. In contrast, my PriceWize simulation (another two hour simulation) has more decisions and reports by makes extensive use of meta-composition (temporal-topical progressions, ambiguity and granularity reduction) to reduce duration.

Learn more about Meta-composition.

Simulator Process

This is the process by which individual teams use the simulation software (enter decisions, simulate and receive results).

The opening screen is optional and is used as a title page for the simulation.
The team name is used to identify team data and results. It must be six letters or less.
The period advice screen is optional and reminds participants about the period's decisions, results and issues.
Here the participants enter and change decisions in one or more template.
After decisions are entered they are checked to see if they are illegal or unusual and may need changing.

This stage takes the decisions and determines their impact. The processing sequence here is explored further here.

Normally, results are now printed.
The results advice screen is optional and suggests which results and issues are important.
In additional to the printed results they may now be displayed on screen
The reflection advice screen is optional and suggests what issues need now be discussed and, if appropriate, new decisions and reports.

After taking participants through the above process, they are returned to the team name question. Where it is not possible for each team to have their own computer and printer this means that up to three teams can share the computer.

Tutor's Options

Besides the normal processing cycle (above) where the software is used by the participants, the tutor can access a series of options.

End Selection exits the Tutor's Options and returns to the Team Name.
Quit Simulator allows the current run to be stopped temporarily.

Reconfigure Simulator allows the printer etc to be changed.
Delete Team Files causes selected team data files to be deleted
Copy Team Files allows files to be copied to a memory stick or another folder.
Tutor's Review invokes access to reports that review of team progress.
Tutor's Audit invokes access to reports that explain results.
End and Review terminated decision entry and invokes the simulation ending review
Reinstate reverses the simulation termination.
Recover allows the simulation to be rerun from a previous period.
Enable Full Version allows the simulation to be switched from evaluation to the full version.
Change Version (if shown) this allows the version to be changed.

General Design Aspects

The design assumes that the user is not necessarily computer literate, should not have to waste time navigating the interface and be robustly error proof.

Decision Entry
As participants will be entering their own decisions it is important that they do not waste time learning how to use the software. Additionally, the decisions need to be screened to prevent illegal decisions being entered and unusual or inappropriate decisions should be questioned.

On-line Context Sensitive Help
To help answer participants' questions the simulation has an on-line helps system that helps with software use, the current task or report and explains decisions and results. Optionally, a hypertext participants' manual can be made available.

Hardware Need
One computer and, usually, a printer is required for each team of three to five participants.

Competitive Information
Although with these simulations participating teams do not interact with each other, they see themselves in competition. I find it useful to use large wall charts for each team to share information. Each period teams update these charts. The charts serve to drive competition, provide information to help teams and speed up the slower teams!

Robustness
The simulation is fully journalised and this means (as illustrated in the Tutor's Options) it is always possible to recover to a previous period to correct for mistakes. Further, period data is saved before printing and to protect against printer problems. Finally, the decision screen traps decisions that might crash the simulation or is unusual (and hence cause business problems).

2015 Jeremy J. S. B. Hall

Most recent update: 13/07/15
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