One student at a time: how business education is evolving with the help of simulations
Louis Havriliuc // 13.03.2017
In the next few months tens of thousands of students from
some of the best universities around the world will enter their own business
simulation competition. For many of them this will be their first ever
experience similar to running a full scale enterprise. With so much excitement
in the air, let us bring into focus why this increasingly popular learning
method keeps engaging the minds of educators and learners alike and why it
keeps growing in popularity year after year.
Experiential learning methodologies in the field of business
education have taken off in great numbers in recent times helped also by
visionary educators and decision makers. Innovative companies and technology-versed
students are now using business simulations in all of their forms. These cover
an essential need: that of imparting useful, actionable knowledge on complex,
interrelated business subjects. With the help of active learning provided by simulations,
students are taken through all the main drivers of a company’s operation as
they experience managing their virtual firms from the position of a Manager or
a CEO. The emotional reaction is very much present: the joy of witnessing good
results in the simulation is sometimes contrasted by some frustration when a strategy
does not work out as intended. Thus the software can easily cement an
experience into the consciousness of students providing them with a
long-lasting lesson. And all of this is achieved with absolutely no risk and no
As the environment in which businesses operate today is
subject to constant change so do the tools and teaching practices have to keep
up in order to make sure no student gets left behind. Simulations on their own
are only as good as the one sitting on the learning end considers them to be.
Not surprisingly then, when put in the hands (and hearts) of passionate
educators they become disruptive learning tools, enabling a new way in which
education takes place.
The global educational system needs to realign to a new
reality, that in which facts & theories are not going to retain their
status as the most important type of knowledge. Facts change. Theories evolve.
The pace at which this is happening is faster than ever. The Internet is doing
a decent job on keeping us up to date with that. One thing which the Internet
cannot do well (at least not for now) is to give answers to some of our more
complex questions and provide us with a new type of information layer: that of
dynamic knowledge, of know-how, which is under constant change. We are entering
an era in which it is more important to focus on asking the right questions
rather than spend time looking up answers.
To conclude, the simulation methodology does come with its
own limitations, including the fact that there is a learning curve attached to
each methodology. Each simulation game comes with rules. But once students
learn how to use a simulation it does get them into the habit of developing a
structured approach of thinking and of setting up the right questions rather
than just serve them straight-up answers. And that’s why this teaching method
has a long life ahead.
It’s never too early or too late to start teaching with simulations.
At Simbound, you as an educator, are awaited by a global community of
educational technology professionals, educators and students all of which are
happy to share their passion for this efficient and fun way of learning. When
will you start your simulation?