Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Simulations, Games & Case Studies - Clarifying Learning Outcomes

Simulations, Case Studies & 'Games' provide interactive approaches to achieve workplace learning. However, I'd suggest that it is easy to lose focus on the learning objectives being sought - as the design team get drawn into the game play and scenario writing.

With this in mind, I'd offer the potential value of drawing comparisons with training in professional team sports, such as football (ie soccer for those reading this in the US).

[ albeit in the workplace, most learning is on-the-job, and off-the-job training is a small % of overall time - professional team sports is mostly off-the-job training and (possibly) 90 minutes on-the-job on a saturday afternoon ! ]

So is the Simulation, Case Study or Game designed to:

  • build individual skill & knowledge - e.g. improve decision-making skills by facing a number of simulated business decisions and comparing the answers given to model 'expert' answers (or actual actions taken in historical case studies)
  • build fitness & stamina - e.g. improving decision-making productivity by learning to cope with data overload (the 'old in-tray' exercise)
  • rehearse set-plays (free kicks, penalties etc..) - e.g. improving stakeholder buy-in of decision-making by repeated testing of playing out the likely reactions to a range of options
  • act as a pre-season friendly - e.g. improving co-ordination of decision-making via generating practical understanding of how different individuals/departments need to combine together to collectively identify and process the data required.

Typically these build together - until it is all put together in the 'pre-season friendly'

However, in the workplace ...I'd suggest there can be a temptation to go straight to the full practice simulation !

Thoughts ?