Countless reports have been published (including this by Lord Young) stating good entrepreneurship education requires experiential, hands-on learning. So you might think it would be easy to answer the question: Why use business simulations?
Engaging learners so they make decisions, deal with risk and consequences as well as solve problems creates a rich and dynamic environment. It certainly improves on the ‘expert’ providing a passive audience with a sleeping pill of a lecture…
The power of tradition
Over the last 8 years I’ve met many teachers/trainers who are keen to champion new ways of learning but complain their decision-making colleagues favour more traditional approaches. As a result, when hailing the value of business simulations I’ve often been asked for evidence (sometimes reams) to justify their educational value and relevance. When providing information I’ve dared myself to ask whether up-to-date research is required to justify age-old approaches.
Fortunately, many customers and users have published research and case studies following their use of SimVenture. So if you are asked ‘why use business simulations?’ and foresee making your own case for the software, here are links to just some of the publicly available sources.
Independent impact research evaluations
Several impact research studies have been carried out by universities and colleges that use the software. Here are three for you to consider:
1) Written by Suresh Gamlath at the University of West London (formerly Thames Valley University), this research looks at the ‘Experimental Evidence of the Impact Simventure had on a University Enterprise Course’.
4) Led by Dr Kelly Smith, The University of Huddersfield is also exploring the benefits of using a business simulation to embed enterprise education in teaching and learning. Dr Smith is keen for the research to examine how SimVenture is used at other Universities and aims to develop case studies based on the findings. The project team is also designing a survey on the use of computer based business simulations which goes live in September 2014. All outcomes will be made available and more project details are available here. If you want to be part of the research, contact the project team at firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition to independent research studies, students have also spoken out about their experience with the software. These 4 example blogs provide a valuable insight into student thinking.
1) “Ah, what a waste of time for me, I would never need to play this game”, this was my first reaction when I heard that it is part of project for Uni…” Click for more.
2) Angel Cano uses a storyboard on his Blog to share his experience with the software.
3) “Sim Venture was an incredibly interesting experience…” says the ‘Boomerang Student’ from the University of West England. Read about his experience here.
4) Student, Yew Sheng, shares his entrepreneurial journey.
How to teach and train
A variety of reports and posts have been published on the web which highlight how people are teaching with SimVenture and how courses incorporate the software. Here are 3 examples:
2) The University of Nottingham has been using SimVenture within its Business School for the last 7 years. Details of the course, the module leader Chris Mahon and the assessment process can all be found here.
3) During his time as a lecturer in Wales, Matthew Draycott wrote about his experience of teaching with SimVenture on a Business Decision-Making course.
Partnerships, books and podcasts
If you’re looking for more in-depth sources, then the following examples show how SimVenture has helped a university build bridges in India, be a key strand of an academic text and feature within a tutor’s podcast.
The University of East London used SimVenture as a key ingredient to win a prestigious UKEIRI bid as part of a wider project in India. And as a result of that success, the university partnered with other entrepreneurial products/initiatives which created the momentum to run events such as their Research Conference in June 2014.
Co-authored by Liverpool University’s Professor Ossie Jones, the book ‘Resourcing the Start-up Business: Creating Dynamic Entrepreneurial Learning’ references SimVenture as well as a range of other hands-on resources throughout.
Visit the Resource Library
Should you need further evidence to answer the question ‘why use business simulations?’, the Gaming Research section of the Resource Library on the SimVenture website may have what you are looking for. But if you are still unsure, then get in touch with the team – we’d be delighted to hear from you.
Key Learning Points: Technology advances have revolutionised opportunities for learning, but as Sir Ken Robinson says (Bring on the Learning Revolution) people are often hypnotised by the past and thus adopt new resources slowly or not all. Use the evidence in this post to answer the question ‘why use business simulations?’ so others become more comfortable with your ideas and recommendations.