I have spent the last eighteen years designing and using management games and business simulations to help organisations overcome the challenges they face. One of the questions I have been asked, and have indeed asked myself, is will games and simulations still be relevant in a rapidly changing world where there are different challenges and many different channels and methods available for learning?
In this article, “The Value of Using Management Games and Simulations,” I’ve picked out some key points from my thinking. There is evidence that games and simulations have been around for centuries and there is plenty of research to indicate ideas and experiences offered through these methods result in higher retention and transfer rates.
Despite these arguments, games and simulations are still not widely used and I believe part of the reason is because of their association with fun. It’s a double-edged sword: the creation of an enjoyable experience helps retention and knowledge transfer, but at the same times many discard the method because it isn’t seen as serious or credible. A good game or simulation is a blend of structure with directed learning and fun, providing the opportunity to learn through discovery and interact with others.
I think there are a number of reasons why the use of games and simulations remain relevant and valuable in today’s environment. I am not advocating that all learning and development should incorporate experiential learning. There is without doubt a ‘set up’ overhead associated with many games and simulations, so it’s about picking the issues where this approach warrants the effort. However, in an era when there is a lot of individual e-learning and gaming, I think games and simulations played with others are increasing in importance. I also think it’s often difficult to identify the ‘right’ body of knowledge to teach when faced with rapid change. In this climate there is a greater need for agile thinking and collaboration across organisations. The exploratory setting of a game or simulation provides this opportunity to improve performance.
If your organisation is facing change ask yourself the following questions:
- How are you going to communicate the need for change?
- How are you going to build the picture of what the changes will mean to people?
- What will they need to do better or differently?
- Do you need to inspire people and win hearts and minds?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then using a game or simulation may help you achieve your goal. Please contact us for more information.