Using a Business Simulation as a Break
A business simulation is used to divide a long course into two parts and so provide a break between knowledge acquisition sessions. Here I explore the simulation relative to other learning. reasons for use, practicalities of use and suggest some suitable business simulations.
On several occasions clients have used a business simulation towards the middle of a long course. Here the business simulation acts as a final exam and review of the first part and an introduction to the topics covered by the second part.
Reasons for Use
Practical Issues with use
Suitable Business Simulations
OVERCOMES THE "ENERGY GAP"
In the middle of most longer courses (those lasting two or more weeks) delegates tire and learning diminishes. Sessions at this time must help overcome this. The active, stimulating and student directed nature of simulations overcomes this "energy gap".
SEPARATES TWO PHASES
Using a simulation lasting a day or so provides an opportunity to separate clearly the two phases of a course. This clear separation helps where subject matter and therefore teaching processes change. Where a long course consists of several, separate, residential periods, a simulation can be used to provide a link between these and ensure delegates do course work in the breaks!
The business simulation can be regarded as a "mid-term exam". If a lack of understanding is suggested this can be remedied either by personal tuition (where individuals have problems) or additional group sessions (where there is a more general problem).
Working course members over a weekend is an interesting experience. Even those who normally would not take an interest in sport, their family or working around the home develop compulsive interests in these! Yet, especially where delegates have come a long way to the course, there is a need to work them over a weekend. Weekend working also increases the effective length of the course. Most one-week courses consist of only four and a half working days. Yet, a two-week course, with weekend working, has eleven and a half working days. By providing a student centred, stimulating and, possibly, competitive weekend activity dissonance is reduced.
Practical Issues with a Business Simulation to break-up a course
This use is most appropriate where the course divides into two parts each of which cover interrelated topics. For example, the first half of one course addressed soft skills (team working, negotiation) and the second half addressed hard skills (finance, marketing, etc.).
SUITABLE BUSINESS SIMULATIONS
The business simulation chosen needs to explore in some depth the topics covered in the first part of the course but have a relatively basic exploration of the topics covered by the second part of the course. So the risk is that the issues explored by the business simulation relative to the first part may be too trivial or the issues explored by the business simulation relative to the second part may be too difficult. As a result the business simulation may need some customisation and other activities need to be built into the business simulation.
Learn more about customisation
Learn more about additional tasks
The business simulation should be positioned to act as a natural division between different parts of the course, or to provide an opportunity to refresh and test understanding. On longer courses running the business simulation over a weekend is particularly attractive.
The business simulation must be integrated into the course structure. Its tutor should be able to link it with proceeding sessions and provide a foretaste of later sessions. Tutors running later sessions should be informed of these expectations and told of learning needs. And, tutors running earlier sessions may need to return to provide remedial sessions.
Source: Churchill Fellowship Study and chapter in my latest book - Corporate Cartooning Book (find out more).
Most recent update: 15/06/14
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