Business Simulations in Today’s Learning Environment (Part 2 of 4)
In this four-part series, Robb Gomez, COO of Paradigm Learning and Rob Brodo, CEO of Advantexe respond to interview questions about the use of business simulations in today’s changing corporate learning environment. In part 1, Robb and Rob provided their insights on how simulations fit in the changing virtual talent development landscape. Today the team will review the essential elements of asynchronous simulations.
Question: What design elements are important in an asynchronous simulation?
An asynchronous simulation must be able to educate learners without the assistance and intervention of a facilitator. That means that it is important to build teaching, coaching, and feedback directly into the design.
The simulation must also be realistic (this could happen in my organization), encouraging (you are doing well, keep going), and engaging (this is fun and interesting) to ensure that the learners work their way through the entire journey.
An asynchronous program must also be reasonable in length for the self-paced learner (3 - 4 hours, with opportunities to save and return and/or to play again), mildly competitive (leaderboard comparisons to other learners and kudos along the way), and must contain a variety of ways to get and study information (short videos, “talking” characters, reading supplemented by voiceovers, etc.).
One of the most powerful elements about asynchronous simulations is the ability for the learner to learn-by-doing. From a design perspective, learners need to be presented with enough data to understand the story, the enterprise, the key challenges, and the key opportunities of a case study that comes to life. They then need the opportunity to explore and discover as they go through the process of decision-making.
Another very important aspect of the design is systemic thinking versus linear thinking. Reading a case study, going through an eLearning module, or sitting through a boring lecture are all linear ways of presenting learning. An asynchronous simulation puts the power into the hands of the learners to see the entire system. Maybe the learner starts with understanding the challenges in Sales or Marketing. Or perhaps it is the potential inefficiencies in Production. It doesn’t matter. What matters is the learner can control their own learning flow through the simulation in a systemic way that fires up both sides of the brain.
This process of learning-by-doing in a systemic way triggers more memory building and stimulates the cognitive ability to take the learning from the simulation and apply it back to real world situations.
To Read Part 1 of the series, please click here.