Posted on 24 May, 2022 by Administrator
SIMBOUND has now officially crossed the 10 year old mark! For the better part of the last decade we have continued to remain a reliable partner to education establishments from across the world. Our work with implementing new technology and the research of new pedagogy continues making progress and the growing international community built around the learning methodology which we pioneered inspires us to continue to act in a responsible and sustainable way.
One significant improvement for the SIMBOUND product in Q1 of 2022 was the release of 2 new automatically generated reports that measure student decisions and student results data in order to provide instructors with fast and accurate insight on their courses.
This new set of reports allows the professor to quickly perform checks on all of their students from their course once this is underway and then to go into more detail with a team-level results report which contains decisions, rankings as well as the evolution of results for individuals or teams across time.
The interim report
The interim course report has the main role to raise red flags and present team decisions and results so that they can be addressed by the tutor in a reasonable manner. It has the interim term attached to its name because this report becomes more useful to consult whilst in the middle of the learning activity so soon after a simulation has passed the very first stage or round, and it will continue to remain relevant up until the simulation is near completion. If the report is used too early then it does not have enough decisions and results data to produce meaningful analysis and likewise if the report is brought up too late in the course, it might be too late to let the students know what to address within their decisions in order to try to lead them towards meaningful learning.
Here are just a few examples taken out from an interim report coming from a real course next to some quick explanations of each report item:
Having no pages means this team cannot progress in the simulation, as the pages are required by the other simulation sections: the Ads simulation & the e-Mail simulation. In fact ever since 2018 pages created in Simbound get transformed into e-mails, shortening the time needed to launch multiple e-mail campaigns.
Having multiple pages of a score below 70 indicates that most of these teams have made use of the automatised page creation facility in Simbound which sets up new pages with a few clicks but have not went on to review the standard content such as the text and the images which are inserted automatically onto each page, hence these pages have not been optimised and have most likely not been reviewed by humans. The simulation engine will reward pages that hold higher scores with more visits and even better results such as sales and conversions.
Failing to set the ads budget to its maximum amount in one round will render lost opportunities in the quest of brand awareness, collecting leads and reaching out to new customers. The main reason for this is that if any budget is left over during one round, this will not be carried forward to future rounds. Example: if a team sets the maximum budget of a campaign to 100 while having a disposable value of 1000 then they are missing out on an opportunity to spend: 1000-100= 900. While within a real-life company the budget will continue to be available in the future if it is not spent in the simulation there is a pedagogical consideration by which we try to stimulate students to think about the budget allocation process in an iterative way and not just regard it as a one-time decision. By reviewing all of their cost-producing advertising campaigns students are encouraged to reach the biggest possible audience factor and also to understand the role of cost on the return on advertising spending as well as in the seasonality of client behaviour and that timing is essential when carrying out marketing operations.
Whilst some teams that are included in this report line might not have even set up a campaign yet (teams meet the condition of spending <60% of budget by default, at the start of the simulation), for those which do hold active campaigns, spending less than 60% of their set budget is an important indicator that the campaign settings might not have been correctly implemented. There could be multiple causes: the campaign might not have enough keywords, or it could have too many keywords of a combined low search volume, they might have not inputted the required minimum amount into the Cost-Per-Click decision box, or simply they have not allocated all of the budget sitting at their disposal (explained in the previous point). Further there could be other issues which could be present and should be looked into: an incorrect ad format will not start to trigger ads. In some cases the student might have overlooked the fact that the campaign itself or parts of the campaign such as ad groups have been paused in previous rounds which prevents them from accumulating expenditure.
The Team-focused report (works for individuals as well)
The team-focused report goes one level deeper and looks at the performance of each team or individual and should be used to provide a highly personalized feedback to each team’s learning journey and also to provide suggestions on what they should do in order to improve their decisions and results. The team-focused report lists results and how these compare to those of the other teams or individuals in the course so that the tutor is able to provide more in-depth guidance and also know the relative position of each team or individual. Here is just one example out of the more than 14 distinct report items currently available with the team report:
Team Blue has an average page score of 59.
The average score of a page in the course is: 88.
This new series of reporting features are meant to reduce the time and effort required by tutors in their interpretation of simulation results while possible human error is diminished whenever trying to determine which individuals or teams the instructor should focus on first and provide support to. Managing courses that have a large number of students thus now becomes much easier due to these reports which will be improved based on the positive feedback received from our user community.
Peering into the future.
Some challenges lie ahead: how can we (SIMBOUND) best manage a product that caters to different types of courses, and also different geographical markets while trying to keep working on our initial promise of having a simple and efficient simulation experience that simply works time after time.
Some big questions yet to answer are how we can make use of new trends and technologies entering the educational space such as automatization and AI without compromising the tutor-student relationship and to avoid the undermining of the role that dialogue and social interaction have in learning. The content and complexity of the learning activity should and will eventually be adapted to each student’s skills and we trust that in this process the tutor will play an ever increasing role in determining the types of learning systems their school will choose to employ.
Explaining an evolving learning product to the many professors and students from around the world, some of which do not yet hold the fundamental skills or the resources needed to make full use of our services will probably be a big challenge in the years to come. We have a very interesting journey in front of us in which all of the parties who are involved in the carrying out of education are invited to express their needs and ideas so that we can together progress in the same excellent manner as up until now. Here is to the next 10 years and to the same carefully crafted quality of instruction service which has inspired educators the world over.