Research Publications & Presentations

Abstracts of some of my publications and conference presentations and where appropriate links to the full papers.











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Jeremy inducted as a fellow of the Association for Business Simulation and Experiential Learning (ABSEL) - reflecting his contribution to simulations for business learning
Best Research Paper - ABSEL 1994

Improving the design of business simulations and the learning they provide is a core business principle of mine. Because of this I spend considerable time reflecting on and researching simulation design and use. This page shares this with you.



Conference Presentations

What's in a Game

An article in the September 1972 edition of Data Systems describing my early experience and thoughts about the use of business simulations (management games).

File size 425 kBytes

Microprocessors and Marketing

This paper explored how the microporocessor would change marketing and business.

File size 425 kBytes

Chalk and cheese?: Executive short-course vs academic simulations

Jeremy Hall (1995) in The Simulation & Gaming Yearbook Volume 3 ed Danny Saunders, Kogan Page London

This paper discusses the differences that exist between the use of computerized business simulations on executive short courses and their use on academic full-time programmes. It argues that these differences are such that the simulations designed for one domain are not effective for the other. Although it specifically addresses the differences in the context of simulations, much can be generalised for academic programmes vs executive short courses. This is especially true for the suggestion that the central difference between the academic programmes and executive short courses is their respective focus on content and process. Further, the core need for academic simulations is learning effectiveness as proved by examination. For executive short-course simulations these needs extend to include efficiency and consistency.

(This paper was also presented at the 1995 ABSEL Conference in San Antonio, Texas.)

File size 425 kBytes

Complexity is it Really that Simple

Jeremy J. S. B. Hall & Benita M. Cox (1994) Developments in Business Simulations and Experiential Exercises Volume 21 eds. Precha Thavikulwat & John D. Overby, College of Business Administration, Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma

This paper challenges the assumption that complexity is necessary for educationally effective computerized business simulations by demonstrating, for a sample of proven simulations there is a correlation between complexity and the duration of the simulation.

It discusses complexity in terms of two mechanisms. The first mechanism gives rise to the assertions about complexity by suggesting that realism is a key determinant of educational effectiveness and that realism is produced through complexity. However, there is a second mechanism where the amount of cognitive processing performed by participants relates to the simulation's complexity. In turn, the simulation's duration relative to cognitive processing produces cognitive pressure that may lead to role overload. With role overload producing a negative influence on andragogic effectiveness.

When combined, these mechanisms produce a peak in the function linking complexity with andragogic effectiveness and, the position of this peak is determined by the simulation's duration. The peak in effectiveness is shown using data from several business simulations that have been used extensively on short courses by practicing executives. Finally, the findings are discussed in terms of the design and use of business simulations for Executive Short Courses.

This paper won the best research paper award at the 1994 ABSEL conference in San Diego, California, USA.

File size 425 kBytes

Computerised Business Simulations: The Need for Unfriendly Interfaces

Jeremy J. S, B. Hall (1995) in Journal of Intelligent Systems Volume 5: Nos. 2-4 Freund Publishing, London

This paper argues that, unlike conventional software, simulation-games used directly by executives on short courses need a user unfriendly interface. The discussion is based on experience of designing and running simulations over about two decades and the description of the user interface of a new project management simulation.

It is suggested that the nature of the experiential learning process means that users must be discouraged from using software. This contrasts with conventional software products where use is encouraged. However, impediments must be implemented in a proactive and practical manner.

The paper describes software paradigms that are conceptually analysed based on experience. These paradigms cover the architecture of an on-line hypertext help system, the control and monitoring of software usage and progress through the experiential.

Computerised Management Games: the feedback process and servo-mechanism analogy

Jeremy Hall & Benita Cox (1993) in The Simulation & Gaming Yearbook 1993 eds. Fred Percival, Sheila Lodge and Danny Saunders Kogan Page London.

This paper suggests that the proactive management of the dynamics of the simulation process will better meet learning objectives in terms of transferable skills.

The paper explores the analogy between the system and behaviour of computerised management games and servomechanisms. The aim of this approach is to facilitate the measurement and control of the learning process so as to effectively and consistently meet learning objectives (transferable skills) through clarification of cognitive and affective dynamics.

To this end a conceptual, two dimensional model, in cognitive and affective space is suggested and explored in terms of learning and behavioural success.

Finally a classification of simulations in terms of feedback mechanisms, level of tutor interactions and degree of computer support is suggested.

File size 425 kBytes

Computer Paced Project Management Simulation

Jeremy J. S. B. Hall (1994) Developments in Business Simulations and Experiential Exercises Volume 21 eds. Precha Thavikulwat & John D. Overby, College of Business Administration, Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma

The problems uncertainties and dynamics associated with project management make it an ideal topic for simulation. Provision of computer pacing, real time operation, knowledge support system and centering the simulation on a data base provides the realism and flexibility necessary to stimulate and provide learning . The appropriateness of this approach is demonstrated using the PROTEST project management simulation. A demonstration that links software functionality to the use of PROTEST on a course for experienced project and commercial managers.

File size 425 kBytes

Computerized Simulation Design: OOP or oops

Jeremy J. S. B. Hall (1996) in The Simulation & Gaming Yearbook Volume 4 eds. Danny Saunders, Fred Percival and Matti Vartiainen Kogan Page London.

This paper argues that the cost and risk inherent in the design of computerized simulations can be reduced by using object-orientated programming (OOP) methodology. It describes object-orientated methodology, how it differs from conventional programming and how it is particularly suited for developing simulations. The benefits of the methodology, in increasing software reliability and reducing development time are illustrated by describing the development of a "family" of simulations - the Challenge Series. Based on an analysis of the literature, (on simulation design) the general usage of object-orientated programming is questioned and it is concluded that, despite the benefits, object-orientated design is not advocated in the (simulation design) literature. Finally, the general benefits of object-orientation are summarized and it is suggested that this methodology is particularly suited for simulation development.

Computerised Tutor Support Systems

Jeremy J. S. B. Hall (1994) Developments in Business Simulations and Experiential Exercises Volume 21 eds. Precha Thavikulwat & John D. Overby, College of Business Administration, Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma

This paper described the demonstration of a prototype tutor support system that was added to an andragogically valid business simulation to explore and test facilities to support the tutor running computerised business simulations on executive short courses.

The Tutor Support System (TSS) links to the simulation model to provide reports specifically for the tutor rather than for the participants. It is intended to help the tutor facilitate and manage the learning process and is described this context.

Although designed for a specific simulation, the TSS shown represents a general architecture that could be added to new or existing simulations.

File size 425 kBytes

Computerised Tutor Support Systems: the tutor's role, needs and tasks

Jeremy J. S. B. Hall (1994) in The Simulation & Gaming Yearbook Volume 2 eds. Roger Armstrong, Fred Percival and Danny Saunders Kogan Page London.

This paper identifies areas where software can support the tutor running computerised business simulations and so improve tutoring efficiency, effectiveness and consistency.

Traditionally, computerisation has focused on the simulation model and, by eliminating manual calculations, this has improves tutoring efficiency. However, modern microcomputers allow the role of the computer to be extended to provide timely and pertinent information that not only supports the tutor administratively but also facilitates and helps the management of learning.

Taking a systems approach the paper starts from a discussion of the tutor's role, needs and tasks. This discussion serves to suggest areas where software can support the tutor and, based on this, an architecture for a Tutor Support System is described and discussed.

(This paper formed the basis of discussion workshops at the 1995 SAGSET Conference at Warwick University, England and the 1996 ABSEL Conference in Orlando, Florida.

File size 425 kBytes

Corporate Cartooning: The Art & Science of Computerized Simulation

Jeremy J. S. B. Hall (2001) ASTD TechKnowledge Conference

This article is designed to explore the use of computer simulations to help develop managers. Beginning with a review of what computer simulations are and why organizations use them for management development, it explores what is required for their successful use. Next simulation design issues are explored in the context of an actual simulation and different approaches critiqued. Finally, simulation development is summarized in terms of specifying and choosing simulations.

File size 425 kBytes

Designing the Management Challenge

Jeremy Hall (1989) in This is Qatar Jan/Feb 1989.

This article describes the design and development of the Benson & Hedges Management Challenge. A contest running throughout the Arabian Gulf and involving, each year, over five thousand contestants. As such, the Benson & Hedges was probably, the world's largest and most successful management contest.

EXEC - Management game system: exploration of software functionality?

Jeremy J. S. B. Hall (1994) in The Simulation & Gaming Yearbook Volume 2 eds. Roger Armstrong, Fred Percival and Danny Saunders Kogan Page London.

This paper describes and discusses the functionality and facilities provided by computerised simulation-games. These functions are discussed using a specific management game as a case.

After describing the game, its software functions are listed based on experience running the simulation on executive short courses over a six-year period. This experience is further generalised, based on other games that address other learning objectives.

Although this paper was written in 1994 and described functionality and facilities (such as real-time and networked operation) that are currently viewed as leading edge, yet the simulation described was developed in 1970 and was widely used between 1970 and 1976!

Whither academe or wither academe: a personal view of the future of learning

Jeremy J. S. B. Hall (2001) in Interact Spring 2001 ed. Peter Walsh SAGSET Tyne Wear.

This paper explores the future of academic education and how this will alter over the next twenty years. First it discusses the change factors. Next it suggests that learning will move away from just building knowledge to developing wisdom and this will lead to the academic sector moving away from being a craft based industry to one where learning product design is separated from manufacture and delivery. Finally, the paper suggests that conventional universities will wither and die being replaced by large commercial providers of education.

File size 74 kBytes

Structuring Innovation: A design architectonic

Jeremy J. S. B. Hall (2003) Business Innovation in the Knowledge Economy, 2nd Annual Conference, Warwick UK

Innovation is to do with being different but this differentiation must be meaningful in terms of market needs, wants and perceptions. Thus innovation without a strong focus on market needs and wants is meaningless. This paper explores using a structure (architectonic) that links market needs through design needs to market wants and the outcomes in terms of product architecture and development.

This exploration uses, as a case study, the development of a computer simulation architecture that recently won an innovation award and is being used to reduce simulation development times by some eighty percent while incorporating leading-edge learning delivery paradigms.

Although the design architectonic is explored in the context of an actual innovation, it is believed that its structure may be used for other innovations to ensure that they meet market needs and wants in a focused and structured way.

File size 402 kBytes

Computer business simulation design: the rock pool method.

Jeremy J. S. B. Hall (2005) Association of Business Simulation and Experiential Learning (ABSEL) Conference, Orlando Florida USA

This paper explores software design methodologies in the context of business simulation design and proposes a methodology - the rock pool method that provides structure while maintaining creative freedom.

Developing computer simulations for management development and business education present particular software design problems. On one hand, for computer software development there is a need for a rigorous, structured approach. But, equally, creating simulation models that deliver learning in an effective, efficient and consistent way is a creative process.

The "rock pool" metaphor was chosen because the process can be likened to exploring the rock pools on a beach after the tide has receded. Each rock pool represents a stage in the design process. Within each rock pool there are several design elements (the rocks) but these are not processed in a predefined order and are revisited several times. Although moving between rock pools is systematic, the order the rocks are explored within a rock pool depends on the simulation and the movement between rocks is based on creative needs.

The methodology is explored in the context of the development of a complex entrepreneurial planning simulation (Strategic Exploration of Entrepreneurial Directions (SEED)) for students of science, technology and medicine and other simulations.

Key Words: simulation software design methodology

This paper won the best simulation paper award at the 2005 ABSEL conference in Orlando, Florida, USA.

File size 153 kBytes

Computer Business Simulation Design: Novelty and Complexity Issues

Developing a business simulation is a time consuming, costly and potentially risky task. And, the risk of time and cost overrun is associated with the novelty and complexity of the simulation. This paper suggests the aspects of simulation novelty and complexity that are the sources of design risk and explores these in the context of a range of actual simulation designs so that designers can take action when forecasting costs, the development schedule and starting the design and development work.

The areas of design novelty and difficulty are described and discussed in the context of five representative simulations. Following this the impacts on actual design difficulty and complexity are discussed and analyzed for the simulations. Finally, a design time model is proposed that empirically links model size with duration and novelty and design time with model size. In conclusion, the paper suggests that design time can be forecast from simulation duration provided the forecast is adjusted to take into account simulation novelty.

File size 103 kBytes

Corporate Cartooning: The Art of Computerised Business Simulation Design

Business simulation design is a combination of art and science. And, although the science aspects are arguably domain specific this paper suggests that the art aspects are not. It argues that computerized business simulations are a sequential art form that parallels the strip cartoon or comic. And that this parallel can be used to explore the art of computerized simulation design and, especially, the tacit and instinctive aspects of simulation design that can be made explicit using the sequential art knowledge base.

The paper explores how the relationship between the comic’s pictures and words parallel the business simulation’s models and interactions with learners. Using this parallel the paper argues that it is possible to classify and position simulation models in terms simplicity and stylization. And decisions and results (interactions) in terms of ambiguity and form. Beyond this, the paper draws a parallel between the comic’s panel or frame and the simulation’s period. And explores the parallel between the comic’s transitions between frames and the different ways the simulation progresses period-to-period. Also, just as the comic artist must consider how the gutter enforces closure, the simulation designer must consider how to ensure reflection. Next, the paper explores the parallel between the cartoon’s verbal/visual relationships the simulation’s model/interaction relationships. Finally, the paper discusses how balance between the clarity and intensity of a comic is replicated in the need for a simulation to balance learning and engagement.

In summary, the paper explores the parallel between the strip cartoon or comic and the mathematical equivalent – the business simulation-game.

Key Note for the 2008 ISAGA Conference.

File size 425 kBytes

Computer Business Simulations: Design for Process

Designing a business simulation is far more than just assembling a series of algorithms into a model. It is also necessary to consider the dynamics of the learning process. This paper describes and explores a systems dynamics based learning process model. From this practical usage problems and issues are discussed and ways to overcome these during design and use of computer business simulations are described.

Presentation at Innovation 2008

Existing and Emerging Simulation Game Design Movements

Business Simulation-Game design is arguably a creative art and like painting and architecture there are several movements that describe the artistic style of individual business simulation-games.

This paper describes that several aspects of Fine Art movements are relevant to business simulation-game design. These (realism, aesthetics and functionalism) can be used to position Business Simulation-Games and define existing and emergent simulation movements.

The paper suggests these movements are the established Real World movement and the emergent movements of Teach and Murff’s Small Simulations, Serious Games and my Corporate Cartoons. Each of these movements is positioned in the realism, functionalism and engagement (aesthetics) space and parallels drawn with the relevant Fine Art movements. Besides positioning the movements the paper critiques individual movements based on their position in the realism, functionalism and engagement space.

Presentation at ABSEL 2009

File size 103 kBytes

40 Simulating Years: a personal exploration of learning, simulations and technology between 1970 and 2010

This paper explores the forty years that I have spent designing and running computerised business simulations for management development and business training in companies around the world. As such it parallels SAGSET’s 40 years, exploring the colossal changes in computer hardware but, with simulations dating to the 1970's still in use suggests that there have been minimal changes in business learning needs. Finally, the paper explores the three aspects of design that I believe are crucial to the design of simulations that effectively, efficiently and consistently provide learning.

Key Note for the 2010 SAGSET Conference.

File size 103 kBytes

Designing the Training Challenge

This paper explores the detail design of a business simulation, the issues that arose during the design and the reasoning behind the design actions. The Training Challenge is a simulation that was likely to present particular design challenges because of its industry setting, short duration, ambiguity, uncertainty and dynamic behaviour. Unusually, perhaps uniquely, the Training Challenge replicates a training company addressing the issues facing a small service-based knowledge transfer business. Unlike other total enterprise simulations with similar learning purposes that last a day or longer, this simulation needed to be run in half a day as it was to be used as part of a one-day workshop and this very short duration would be a problem. Reflecting the decisions facing such a company, many are ambiguous and so it would be difficult for learners to predict the impact of their decisions. Because of nature of client demand the simulation needed to be stochastic and this could cloud the analysis of results. The need for learners to position their company in terms of portfolios of customers and services, manage the short-term, tactical development and the long-term, strategic development of the business would mean that dynamic calibration would be crucial. Finally, as the simulation was to be part of a Business Acumen Workshop, the simulation needed to link with and support the rest of the workshop.

Overall this paper attempts to capture the issues and “reasoning” throughout the design of a new business simulation.

Presented at the 2012 ABSEL Conference and nominated for the best simulation paper award,

File size 103 kBytes

Customising Business Simulations: an exploration and a hierarchy

Developing a new business simulation is a time consuming and hence costly task. A way to speed development and reduce cost is to customize an existing simulation. Here the ways an existing simulation was customized to create three new versions and three totally new business simulations are described. The case study simulations are used to propose and illustrate a customization hierarchy that consists of two parts – micro customization where a new version of the original simulation is created and macro customization where a new simulation is created. The reasons that drive the need to customize are described and the software aspects that ease and support customization are explored.

This paper was presented at the 2013 ABSEL conference Oklahoma City.

File size 103 kBytes

Quality Assurance in Business Simulation Design

The paper explores the elements of business simulation design that impact software (model) quality rather than learning quality. The exploration draws on the computer software knowledge base and extends this to take into account the special characteristics of business simulation software. Business simulation models are complex and where the users are extremely wide ranging with limited knowledge of the simulation software and are commonly very emotionally involved - issues that necessitate a high level of software quality. Business simulation model complexity is explored in terms of model size, arithmetic calculations, cyclomatics, structure and dynamics. Error types are those normally associated with software (syntax, run-time and logical) and require testing using of black-box (functional) testing, white-box (structural) testing, code inspection and, additionally, for business simulations structural and dynamic testing. But, as quality cannot be tested into the simulation Total Quality Management is vital and explored in terms of methodology, software structure, modelling language, defensive programming, refactoring, documentation and verification support.

Seemingly, this important subject has not been addressed in the business simulation literature!

Presented at the 2014 ABSEL Conference and nominated for the best simulation paper award,

File size 103 kBytes

Business Simulations: Reality and Beyond

My presentation at the 2015 ABSEL conference explores for business simulations

And suggests that design focus for business simulations used in an academic (university) setting differs significantly from business simulations used by business people to improve business performance.

File size 103 kBytes

Time and the Meta-Composition

Instead of exploring how real-world time is replicated in a business simulation this paper explores how time impacts meta-compositional design where meta-composition is the structural elements of the simulation that are independent of the real-world situation modelled. The paper explores business simulation as a time-based systems dynamics process and the temporal aspects of meta-composition structural design.

The concepts explored by the paper are illustrated using a business simulation designed for company training use where there is a the need for relevant and necessary cognitive processing (learning) and a short duration (time) that limits cognitive load. The paper focuses on the temporal aspects of the learning process, learning effectiveness and learning efficiency.

Best Paper at the 2017 ABSEL Conference.

File size 103 kBytes

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