Posted By Allyson Freedman,
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Today’s webinar on "Experiential Learning Through Simulation Technology” highlighted the potential that simulations hold to prepare students for the volatility and complexity of real-world situations. Led by Dan Davidson of EDIT 515 and Jeffrey Strauss of the Center for Technology and Innovation Management at Northwestern University, the discussion provided valuable insight into the development and use of simulations for experiential management education.
As the Marketing Director for EDIT 515, Davidson has been involved in simulation management for over four decades. He stressed the importance of experiential learning as a means to create teambuilding, enforce behavioral studies and simplify the complexities of an overall business environment."They allow participants to gain insight in the complexities of business environments and the business scenarios,” said Davidson.
Davidson also showcased the Global Management Challenge, the world’s largest international strategy and management competition. The Challenge is a simulation competition in which teams work through real world scenarios that help them grow both as a team unit and as future business leaders. "In terms of the decision-making strategy, students have to decide a strategy, agree on a marketing plan, forecast sales through production, staffing and finance, build flexibility and ultimately make the decision,” said Davidson.
Jeffrey Strauss focused on how simulation technologies can help students gain insight on emerging markets. He emphasizes the importance of understanding how to operate in "VUCA” (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) conditions with uncertain and conflicting information. "The technologies allow students to experience conditions of high levels of uncertainty in a controlled environment,” said Strauss. "It effectively applies tools, approaches and technology appealing to new generations of students in an engaging challenging and fun way.”
The new simulation technologies display different types of trade-offs and problems within a global environment that are not prepackaged and do not give perfect solutions. The technologies minimize the quantitative data and number crunching and instead pose challenges and data that are more prevalent in the real world.
Both Davidson and Strauss agreed that simulation technologies are a powerful tool to prepare students for the uncertain environment and complex problems they will encounter in the real world. With simulation exercises used in government agencies and business schools across the world, people are learning how to deal with problems before they happen in the workplace.
To prepare faculty to use simulations effectively, Strauss and Davidson suggested that they go through a simulation experience themselves and work with more experienced instructors to integrate learning objectives into the simulation experience.
As business schools aim to provide more practical, globally focused education, simulation technologies are a powerful tool that can provide invaluable perspective and experience to students before they step foot on the job.
Allyson Freedman is the Communications and Conference Intern at the Global Business School Network. She attends George Washington University and recently returned to Washington, DC from studying abroad in London.