The Business Simulation Blog

5 Reasons Why Business Simulations Are Great Learning Tools

Posted by Zsuzsa Jakab on Wednesday, November 09, 2011 | Reading time: 4 min.

studentsIf you think that gaming is only the domain of the young and nerdy, think again. A study shows that six-in-ten Americans ages 18 to 29 and 53% of those ages 30 to 49 say they play video games often or sometimes, with the rest of the world showing equal signs of interest. Not only are games entertaining; moreover, if focused correctly, they are also one of the most engaging learning platforms a student can encounter.

Thankfully, educational institutions are taking note, and there's an increasing trend towards utilizing persuasive and serious games in all levels of education across the globe. Business simulation games are a specialized form of experiential learning focused on improving business acumen by tapping into students' natural aptitude for technology coupled with their love of gamified environments.

Here are 5 reasons why your students will enjoy and benefit from business management simulation games as educational technology learning tools:

1. Risk Free Learning and Coping with Uncertainty

One of the foundations of the 'learning by doing' concept of business games is the acceptance of failures, and the ability of deriving valuable learning from them. According to Professor Steve Blank at Stanford University, this very tenet is what made Silicon Valley become the unique and striving start-up hub it is today, and it is an invaluable skill for students to get a handle on before embarking on their journey as working adults. But before you send your students out into the world to lose all their savings on a badly executed venture, there's a safer way of helping them to first learn how to navigate the landscape of a real company: business simulations.

What makes business strategy games an excellent tool to practice real world business decision-making skills is that everything happens in a risk free simulated learning environment, where students are encouraged to try out different strategies, observe the results, monitor market fluctuations, then pivot their direction, all without real-life repercussions.

See Manisha Kumari's comment on the risk free simulated business environment in How to Improve Student Employability with Business Simulation Games.


2. Competitive Multiplayer Environment

With the surge of massively multiplayer online games, most college and university students today are familiar with, and tend to prefer an environment where they get to interact with other players in either a cooperative or competitive fashion. Games like this are bringing millions of people from around the world together in virtual worlds, mirroring the phenomenon of increased internationalization and cross-border cooperation between businesses as well.

In online business simulation games, students form the management team of a virtual company that competes against other companies in the same market. And with a fully web-based platform supported by an in-game messaging system, these teams can form anywhere in the world to improve cross-campus cooperation and create exciting competitions between partner universities.

With the mission to enlighten our future leaders on strategy and business management, Cesim simulations has long been the simulation provider for many international student competitions in the world. In these competitions participants can test their business analytical and decision making skills and also meet like-minded individuals from all over the world.

For more information on the simulated game environment, refer to the typical game flow of business simulations.


3. Application of Theory and Interactive Gameplay

Another appeal of many games is their real time feedback on decisions made. This not only makes them more engaging, but helps students to put in practice the theories they learn in class. They can practice a number of different strategies in a short period of time to discover what works best.

Cesim simulations employ a round-based system, thus giving students the opportunity to strategize with their teammates before making the final decisions, and allowing instructors to schedule and manage courses better. The dynamic aspect is prevalent in the decision-making areas, where students can immediately see the effect of their choices once they start experimenting with the decisions. After every decision-making round, students' decisions will be contrasted against those of the other teams, and the results of the round are immediately available on the simulation platform.

Want to explore Cesim simulation games and test how interactive they are? Get your free trial here.


4. Dynamic Story Arc

Good stories have captivated humans since the dawn of time, and it isn't any different today. In business as well as in games, story driven marketing and gameplay are very successful in enticing large audiences.

In higher education stories have often been encapsulated in case studies. Although these do take students through a particular segment of a company's life, they happen in a non-interactive format. The importance of this interaction we've written about above.

In business management games, students can take one step further towards full immersion by actually becoming the protagonists of their company's story, and determining its fate through decisions made in a volatile environment. Not only does this give students a greater sense of purpose, but they will be much more likely to think carefully about their actions when they don't exist only in theory.

For example, in Cesim's marketing management simulation game SimBrand, there is a playable scenario focusing on fast moving consumer goods. Student teams are put in charge of the marketing activities of a company that produces soft drinks and juices that come in many flavors and sizes, catering to a very broad customer base.


5. In-Game Rewards and Team-work

What would this entire experience be without satisfying rewards however? Just like in traditional games, business simulation games also reward players with leader board rankings and different financial and other indicators. Being able to share the triumphs and tragedies with team-members will forge learning that the participants will remember long afterwards.

Read more about the educational benefits of business simulation games >>

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Tags: Educator 2.0, Why use business simulations

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