Also referred to as business simulation games, management simulations, or business games, the use of business simulations covers both professional and academic settings. But, what are they exactly?
Business simulations are educational tools where participants manage a virtual, fictitious company, either in teams or individually. Within this setting their team needs to make strategic decisions to improve company performance, often competing for points in a series of rounds against fellow participants.
They're a popular pedagogical approach to embed experiential learning and improve staff/student engagement. When business simulations are used effectively they trigger intrinsic motivation which results in:
'The evidence favours business simulation over other pedagogical tools with respect to retention of what is learned. Therefore, integration of business simulation games with the strategic management courses is highly recommended.'
Vij, Sandeep and Sharma, Rajnish, Experiential Learning Through Business Simulation Game in Strategic Management (December 26, 2018). 20th Annual Convention of Strategic Management Forum, “Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Curriculum in the Era of Disruption”, 25-27 December 2018, Indian Institute of Management Tiruchirapalli ( IIM Trichy)., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3311611
'Business simulations can provide an innovative provision of work experience for students, if its design utilises continuous formative feedback and reflective practice amongst other pedagogical elements...'
Avramenko, A. (2012), "Enhancing students' employability through business simulation", Education + Training, Vol. 54 No. 5, pp. 355-367. https://doi.org/10.1108/00400911211244669
"We remember 10% of what we read, 30% of what we see, and 90% of what we experience."
Edgar Dale on his 'Cone of Experience' model (1946 and 1969)
'The study found that the game contributed to deep learning in addition to resulting in significant improvement in their process orientation and integrative skills...'
Seethamraju, R. (2011). Enhancing Student Learning of Enterprise Integration and Business Process Orientation through an ERP Business Simulation Game. Journal of Information Systems Education, 22(1), 19-30.
'Simulations enable students to apply their knowledge and practice their business skills over and over. Taken all together, these conditions help students develop their competence in marketing and business. Competitive business simulations are inherently valuable learning experiences, but this potential can be greatly enriched.'
Cadotte ER. Creating Value in Marketing and Business Simulations: An Author’s Viewpoint. Journal of Marketing Education. 2016;38(2):119-129. doi:10.1177/0273475316649741