Tutor Mediated Business Simulation Manager

These simulation are where the tutor uses the software, entering team decisions, simulating and returning printed results to the participants.

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Home > Platform > Tutor Mediated Simulation Manager

Tutor Mediated simulations include most of my Total Enterprise Simulations and certain Functional simulations. They are simulations that involve and require interactions between teams.

Learning Purpose

These simulations can be used to::

Learning Use

These simulations are typically a day or longer and can be used as vary in duration and can be used

Learning Journey

These simulations involve participants running a business or a function for several periods (typically six to eight). Participants give decisions to the tutor at set times who enters them into the simulation and simulates the period. Results are printed and returned to participants to review and analyse. This means that all teams make their decisions synchronously.

Learning Management

The tutor manages learning by analysing the decisions as they are entered and by reviewing results. A tutor support system helps by comparing decisions and results and analysing the businesses.

Learn more about Tutor Support.

Meta-composition

The learning journey, duration and scope means that the simulation is likely to have a combination of progressions (economic, task, issue, viewpoint and business). The scope of these simulations mean that multiple decisions are made and their design must take into account ambiguity needs and the appropriate granularity. Further, linkages are likely to intersecting and hence complex and the Tutor Support System must unravel these so the tutor can explain any the impact of decisions on results. Additionally, Reflection Triggers can help reveal how decisions are impacting results and reasons for success (or failure).

Learn more about Meta-composition.

Simulator Process

The tutor-mediated simulation manager has these processes:

Simulation Initialisation

This is the process invoked when the simulation is run. If the simulation is in evaluation mode an Opening Screen asks you if you wish to release the full version. Once released this screen is not displayed during the release period.

After this the tutor is asked for the group name. The group name identifies the data files used to store simulation data.

If these files are not found then the software asks for data to set up a new group - the number of teams that will compete directly with each other (between 2 and 8) and, where multiple versions exist the tutor chooses which version to use.

If the group files are found then the software finds the last period simulated. However, an earlier period can be chosen.

Finally the Main Menu (described next) is displayed.

Note: If the simulation has been configured to allow it to be distributed in evaluation mode, before entering the group name you will be asked to release the full version.

Main/Master Menu

This menu allows the tutor to Enter Decisions & Simulate, Display Latest Results, (if wanted) Recover to Past Period (to correct decision entry mistakes), perform the Special Options that are infrequent and access the online Advice & Help screens.

Enter Decisions & Simulate

This is the process invoked when the Enter Decisions & Simulate option is chosen from the main menu.

Optionally, the tutor can ask for information about the issues, possible problems and what he or she should look out for when running the period. It is provided to help the novice trainer during his or he first use..

Optionally, the simulation can allow the tutor to change parameters such as market sizes or inflation rates to increase or reduce pressure on the participants.
Here the tutor enter's decisions and when all have been entered invoke simulation. This process is explored in detail next. The decision entry template is pre-populated with decisions that are the previous period's decisions or be preset by the simulation.
After each team's decisions have been entered they are checked to see if they are legal or unusual and hence inform the tutor of any problems. If the decision is illegal it is replaced by the pre-set decision, leaving the tutor with the ability to enter a legal decision. If the decision is unusual the tutor can choose to accept or enter a more usual decision.

When all the decisions have been entered and checked, the period is simulated and the data saved. Simulation processing sequence here is explored further here.

Finally, before returning to the Master Menu, predefine results are automatically printed. The results printed are detailed later.

Decision Entry

This is the process by which the tutor enters decisions for individual teams.

Decision Entry Menu

The decision entry menu lists each team and when all the teams are entered clicking simulation causes the period to be simulated.

Team decisions can be entered in any order and after entry this is flagged by <entered>.

In the first period a team name of up to six characters can be entered

Decision Entry Template

The template is pre-populated with appropriate decisions (usually the previous period's decisions) and only changes need to be entered. When a decision is changed it is shown in red and the mouse or the arrow keys can be used to move around the template. After all the decisions are entered the Confirm button is clicked (bottom, middle of screen).

Automatic Printing

These are the predefined reports that are automatically printed to be provided to teams and used by the tutor to manage learning and answer questions. Normally, the results are printed as hard copy on a printer, but the simulation can be configured to print to a .pdf file,

Preliminary Results are a few key results that are printed and returned quickly to participants for them to work on while the full results are printed. Normally a single copy of each team's preliminary results are printed but the simulation can be configured to print multiple copies.

Team Results provide detailed information of how the team's business performed and are likely to provide information about sales, resource use, profits & losses, balance sheet and key business performance measures. Normally a single copy of each team's results are printed but the simulation can be configured to print multiple copies.

Business Research provide inter-team comparisons and are likely to include prices, market shares, some financial results and, perhaps, editorial comments about team performances and actions. A copy of Business Research is printed for each team together with a copy for the tutor.
The Tutor's Audit provides information to the tutor (rather than the participants) to help identify which teams need to be coached and challenged and explain the "black-box" models.
Team Commentaries provide business analysis information about each team that can be used by the tutor and, if appropriate, printed and given to a team to stimulate reflection and discussion. Besides normal reports, the simulation can produce comments on strengths and weaknesses.

Display Latest Results

This allows the tutor to revisit and print the standard results plus access additional reports to help answer questions, identify coaching needs, answer questions about calculations and understand the impact of decisions.

Image of the main reporting menu showing the report groups.

Team Results allows individual team results to be displayed and reprinted.

Business Research allows standard and additional research to be displayed and printed.
Reconciliations questions to be answered about accounting and operations calculations.
Tutor's Audit allows reports to be displayed and printed showing reasons for team differences.
Team Commentaries provides business analysis of individual teams

Recover to Past Period

This allows the tutor to revisit a previous period to correct a decision entry. All teams decisions are save and so all that is necessary is to change the incorrect entry and this means that re-running very rapid.

Special Options

The Special Options are used rarely and are provided for exceptional purposes such as configure the simulation to run on a network.

Configure Simulator allows the simulator's printing and folder use to be reconfigured.
Change Team Name allows a team's name to be changed after the first period.
Delete Group Files allows group files to be permanently deleted.
Backup Team Data allows the group files to be backed up to external media.
Enable Full Version allows a release code to be entered.
Print Data Base (if shown) allows the full database to be printed.

Advice & Help

This provides access to the help pages associated with simulator use and tutoring and may be useful to help novice tutors with their initial use of the simulation.

General Design Aspects

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

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 can explains decisions and results.

Hardware Need
A single computer and a printer is required for up to eight teams of three to five participants. Thus a single computer and printer can handle a group size of up to 40 participating business learners. Up to four teams a Ink Jet printer is suitable but for five or more teams an Ink Jet printer may be too slow and a Laser printer is preferable.

Usability
The simulator is used by the tutor he or she can and should become familiar before hand. However, as all the decisions are entered at one time, speedy and error free entry and automatic decision checking are crucial. These are explored on my usability page.

Robustness
The simulation is fully journalised and this means 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: 29/05/15
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