Stand Alone use of Business Simulations
This involves running a course that just consists of a business simulation lasting a day or more. Here I explore the simulation relative to other learning. reasons for use, practicalities of use and suggest some suitable business simulations.
Over the years, I have been involved in using a business simulation as a stand-alone training event many, many times. Here a group of learners gather, are formed into competing teams and then manage their simulated business - typically over a day but occasionally a little longer. Although the tutor coaches and challenges the learners as part of the business simulation and the learners learn from each other, there is not other input.
Today as basic knowledge acquisition is delivered to lone individuals by online e-learning the need for a business simulation to be used in this way is, I feel, more crucial that ever.
Reasons for Use
Integrate Prior Learning
Practical Issues with use
Suitable Business Simulations
INTEGRATE PRIOR LEARNING
By separating training into short, one or two day courses coupled with distance learning and Web-based training (personal development) there is a tendency for each course to address separate knowledge needs. These courses may be seen as separate entities. But management, especially general management, also requires the combination of knowledge.
Distance learning and Web-based training can be a lonely activity. If issues are discussed it is with the computer rather than with other executives. To balance this there is a need for executives to get together (on courses, at conferences and using a business simulation).
In contrast to integrating previous learning the business simulation challenges participants' understanding. This means that both the tutor and participants can assess their development needs. This information can be used to decide future development - whether this is general or individual.
REVISE & REVISIT LEARNING
People forget. By running stand-alone business simulations at regular intervals participants are reminded of past learning. This is particularly useful in areas that are peripheral to the executive's current job. For instance, an executive from marketing or operations may have attended a financial appreciation course. But, this, financial, knowledge may not be exercised on the job and therefore will be forgotten. Yet in the future, he or she may have need of this knowledge.
IDENTIFY FUTURE LEARNING NEEDS
On several occasions, clients have used a business simulation to help him identify and discuss with learners what future learning they feel that they need. By using a business simulation in this way the learners see their needs in the context of practical use of the learning needed and their future career..
A power of business simulations lies in the way they allow participants to apply their knowledge and experience practically. This builds understanding and integrates knowledge. On a business course the course tutor has a view of this knowledge base. But, where a business simulation is used as a "stand alone" session the tutor has no prior knowledge of participants' knowledge and experience. He must attempt to assess this based on the participants' previous course attendance, managerial position and the organisation they work for. If a third party (personnel officer, training manager or training consultant) provides this information the skills and experience of participants may be overstated!
Accommodation may be a problem. The business simulation may be run in a hotel or even in company offices. Breakout rooms in hotels usually range from poor to totally unsuitable (this is especially true if they are converted bedrooms). They may be too small, with inadequate lighting, no provision for displaying information on the walls and geographically spread in the corners of the hotel. In-company offices often suffer from the same problems. Additionally, telephone calls (both received and made) can disrupt the process. These can be especial problems as you may be have a "one-off" use of the facilities.
Learn More about accommodation
Source: Churchill Fellowship Study and chapter in my latest book - Corporate Cartooning Book (find out more).
Most recent update: 16/06/14
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