People learn by doing, yes? Why then do we conduct learning in an inherently passive way through lectures and reading materials? This is where “serious games” come into play. Simulations and games can rev up engagement and learning comprehension while making learning more – well – fun. While this persists in being a controversial issue in education, many businesses are jumping on board with simulations and games to develop better managers in the workplace.
Practice Makes Performance
Organizations that are getting smart about this paradigm around learning and implementing new experiential learning strategies are using Enspire Learning among others. Enspire Learning, a business simulation (sims) provider, delivers three interactive games to develop increased management knowledge, understanding and skills:
- Business Challenge
- Executive Challenge, and
- Management Challenge.
These sims take professional development training to a whole new level and “learning by doing” to an extreme. They show first and foremost that practice makes performance. Simulations give employees a place to make mistakes without taking a fall. In addition, practicing simulated scenarios creates cognitive pathways and patterns that equip employees with the skills necessary to take on the real thing, according to Mindy Jackson the Director of Instructional Design at Enspire.
These blended learning tools also integrate an element of social learning while participants work on individual laptops and collaborate face-to-face. Employees also enjoy playing the game, making the business learning fun and engaging. After playing Enspire’s Business Challenge, one employee said, “This is so much fun, I could play it on the weekends.”
Games Model Reality
The games get employees into a competitive spirit while they formulate teams and set up business plans to tackle some of the most common challenges that model reality such as:
- Strategic thinking, and
- Ethical decision making.
Some of the adverse issues that may come up include mergers, government regulations, product recalls, merger rumors, and dealing with a recession. All of these challenges can be tailored or personalized to the needs of the company participating in the simulation. This means that businesses can target specific skills or realistic challenges that may occur in their industry.
Games Delivery Real Returns
Enspire conducted a case study on Business Challenge with ConAgra Foods, a Fortune 500 packaged foods company. A post-sim survey revealed that employees and managers felt that the multiplayer business acumen delivered real impact in the workplace. Participants were able to better understand the relationships between operation decisions and financial measures, increase financial literacy, and develop foundational expertise in ROI analysis, says the case study.
Games or sims can improve skills with challenges that model reality in an environment that lacks the detriment of consequences. These all can prepare business professionals to take on higher levels of management in their careers in a fun, engaging environment, tailored to the needs of the company. For more about Enspire Learning, visit enspire.com.