Values: Effective, Efficient and Consistent Learning

Here I explore the values that I try to build into business simulation design and use.

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When defining value I believe that it is important to define who the learners are - for my business simulations and the advice here, participants are business people who want to be more successful. That is to say they are adult learners rather than students in education. This leads me to suggest that for business people the purpose of a business simulation is “the extent to which the training environment prompts the essential underlying psychological processes relevant to key performance in the real-world setting” [1].

This is articulated by my firm's tag line: taking participants "from knowledge through simulated experience to wisdom".

Design must deliver value by ensuring::

Effective Learning where learning is relevant and focuses on doing rather than knowing and where topics and issues are not just included because they exist in the real world but are included because they are relevant and being faced by the participants.

Efficient Learning where duration is minimised without overwhelming learners and where each moment delivers relevant, useful learning. Including irrelevant topics and issues add to duration and reduce learning efficiency. Equally, reducing duration too much means that learners cannot reflect and do not discuss enough - and this reduces learning (effectiveness).

Consistent Learning is important because the range of business peoples' knowledge and experience is wide and this makes it difficult to deliver effective and efficient learning to all individuals and on all courses. Also, individuals will have different needs, wants and satisfactions and consistent learning and this effects effectivenenss and efficiency. Having participants work in small teams where the session is managed by a tutor help ensure consistent learning.

Value is delivered by::

Design Principles
For painting, design principles are the fundamental ideas about good visual design. For business simulations, design principles are the fundamental ideas about good experiential design. These are the principles that satisfy the needs and wants of organisational users, tutors and participants.

Details of Design Principles.

Content Design
To deliver effective learning the content delivered by the business simulation must be relevant and appropriate to the learners. To ensure efficient learning, irrelevant content should not be included
even if the extra content "adds to realism!" . To ensure consistent learning content should take into account the range of participants' prior experience, knowledge and perceived needs together with an appreciation of the way the simulation will be used.

Content design must be based on learning needs.

Process Design
To deliver effective learning the business simulation's process should take into account the fact that it is a systems dynamics process and an evolving experience. To deliver effective learning, decisions, results, issues, topics and challenges must evolve and change throughout the simulation. To deliver efficient learning the process needs to ensure efficient and relevant use of the participants' time. To deliver consistent learning, the design must allow for adjustments to handle learning problems and take advantage of learning opportunities.

Process design is at least as important as content design and arguably more important.

Structural Design
To deliver effective learning and efficient learning the meta-composition of the business simulation must be take into account cognitive processing needs and cognitive load.

Structural design is independent of content and link to process design.

Engagement Design
Here the design takes into account the emotions of the participants and is impacted by perceptions, relevance, challenge, achievement and workload. For adult learners, content impacts learners' perception of the benefit and relevance and through these their engagement. For all learners, process impacts workload and challenge and through these their engagement.

Engagement design interacts with Content and Process Design.

[1] Kozlowski, Steve W.J.and DeShon, Richard P. (2004) A Psychological Fidelity Approach to Simulation-Based Training: Theory, Research and Principles in SCALED WORLDS: Development, Validation and Applications Ashgate Publishing Company, Aldershot.

© 2015 Jeremy J. S. B. Hall

Most recent update: 19/01/17
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