Most of us would think that video games are more popular among the younger generation. However, this is changing with the advent of more immersive and challenging games. According to a report, almost 70% of adults admit indulging into these games often. It is also interesting to note that games, if focused in a certain manner, can be one of the most engaging learning platforms for all learners – young or old. This fact is being universally acknowledged, and the trend to utilize interactive games in education and corporate training is gaining global popularity.
Business simulation games are a specialized form of experiential learning that focuses on improving business decision-making skills. Learners find it an easy and effective way of learning through technology-aided mode within a gamified environment. Business simulations provide an interactive learning experience that help learners apply what they know or have learned in a robust, risk-free learning environment. Through business simulations, learners build relevant skills, improve conceptual knowledge, and gain a better appreciation of the systems of business management.
Here are some tips to make a business simulation an effective tool for learning:
Real-life Scenarios: Simulations depicting real-life scenarios and situations make the learning simpler and effective for the learners. The learners are able to imagine themselves in the familiar situation and recall better, as well as assimilate the new learning.
Real Life Case Studies: All situations cannot be made part of the gaming environment. However, it is possible to add relevant case studies through images, graphics, animation, or even audio-visuals. Though the case studies do not add to the gaming experience, they help learners make better decisions and perform well in the game.
Creating Suitable Push: Though learners agree that business simulations are a fun way of learning, when creating the simulation, designers have to focus on the learning outcome. To ensure this, a suitable ‘push’ for learning has to be created within the simulation environment. One way of doing it is to ensure that the learner completes one stage of the game to progress to another so that reluctant learners do not have the option of skipping a section. It pushes the learners to take their performance in each section seriously. Another way of creating a ‘push’ is to set a maximum score in each stage of the game as a target they must try to achieve, thus enhancing the competitiveness.
Provide Some Support: While the experiential approach to learning provides excitement, as developers, we have to keep in mind that some learners may be unfamiliar to the technology-aided platform. It is necessary to provide some avenues of support to prevent discouragement. A ‘Help’ button can be included to assist learners if they take more than the allotted time, or make a wrong choice more than two times. The learner can then choose to get some assistance; but that would mean losing certain points from his or her kitty. This ensures that the Help button is used sparingly and not as a frequent crutch to get ahead faster.
Job Aids: Most learners use job aids to make their work easier, and these job aids become a part of their everyday work life. Including job aids in the virtual environment provides additional support and makes the virtual environment more ‘real’ as well. The job aids may include tools like virtual calculator or documents, or background check forms that can help them score well within the game and increase the overall efficacy of the game as a learning tool.
Scoreboard: To see how well the learners are performing, scoreboards can be included in the business simulation. For every attempt that the learner makes on the simulation, he or she will get a glimpse of how well they and their peers are performing. Top performers can be given special stars or other collectibles that others can aspire to achieve as well.
Certificate: However, irrespective of their performance, all learners should be acknowledged for their efforts. At the end of the simulation, if every learner is provided with a takeaway like a certificate, it adds to the feeling of achievement. The certificate can be saved, or the learners can also take a printout to display or share with their peers. An actual takeaway from the experience is the added incentive to motivate the learner – to score well and learn more.
Skills developed through business simulations are acquired through an interactive experience that has a positive influence on performance. Learners are able to learn quicker, perform better, and apply the skills in their area of work.
– Arunima Majumdar, Sr. Marketing Consultant at G-Cube
Arunima is an e-learning enthusiast. She loves exploring and blogging about innovations in training and learning for the new-age corporate sector.