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Implementing Business Simulations 101: Feedback

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To learn more about our training solutions, visit us at www.hfxtraining.com 

We’re continuing with our series, Implementing Business Simulations 101, where we give you an overview of the key pedagogical elements that business teachers, program directors, and executive trainers need to consider and plan for before selecting and implementing a business simulation game. When properly accounted for during the implementation process, these elements help ensure success in using business simulations as a training and learning tool.

This series covers each of the 8 key elements for practitioners to consider, listed below:

  1. Curriculum Integration
  2. Feedback
  3. Range of Difficulty
  4. Deliberate Practice
  5. Mastery Learning
  6. Capturing Situational Variation
  7. Individualized Learning
  8. Team Training

Follow these links to read the series overview or our recent post on Curriculum Integration, or scroll down to check out this week’s post on providing simulation feedback to learners: how important it is to the success of the simulation for both teachers and learners alike, and the ways that feedback can be effectively incorporated into your game.

Feedback: Background & Definition

Definition: Specific information comparing a trainee’s observed performance against their peers and/or a benchmark, given with the intent of improving the trainee’s performance.

Goal: Improve performance

Process: Identifying the cause of performance gaps between observed results vs peers or benchmark

One of the most important features of business simulations is their ability to recreate a real-world, dynamic, competitive landscape.  At the heart of this learner-centric teaching methodology are built-in feedback loops that also mimic the kind of ongoing evaluation, constructive criticism, and strategy refinement that happens inside businesses every day. Not only is feedback therefore part of the game’s goal of simulating a real experience, it also ensures learning effectiveness and a performance focus. Intelligently incorporated, informative, and evaluative feedback improves student performance, and helps make game participants both better learners and post-game business managers.

Feedback over the course of a business simulation game can come in various forms:

  • Game feedback (consequences of participants decisions)
  • Teacher feedback to students
  • Student feedback to teacher
  • Peer to peer feedback

All of these forms of feedback can also happen within different timeframes (immediate, real-time, post-game). Each type contributes significantly to the value that simulations can add to a training program, and so ideally they should be both facilitated directly by the trainer and automated as much as possible throughout the game.

Benefits of Incorporating Feedback

Feedback helps to create a more comprehensive learning experience by ensuring that learning goals are met. It also enriches game-play by ensuring that the learning experiences  – be they positive or negative – that happen during the simulation are discussed and understood afterward. This form of feedback, known as ‘debriefing,’ is particularly important for making sure that learners get the most out of their simulation experience.

“Without a post-event reflective process, what the participants have learned is largely left to chance, leading to a missed opportunity for further learning, and making the simulation encounter less effective.”

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When used effectively, feedback loops help to investigate learner performance, correct performance gaps, and positively reinforce correct performance.

How to Implement Feedback

Plan

Instructors must plan feedback processes, including delivery method and timing, according to learning goals and outcomes. These considerations should be made while selecting simulation software, but also while developing assignments and the game scenario. Part of the feedback planning process also means putting in place a system to capture and identify ’emergent,’ or learner-generated, objectives.

Pre-Briefing

Feedback plays a role in what is sometimes referred to as “pre-briefing” – a preparatory discussion of how the business simulation works, what can be expected, and a description of the starting game scenario. Because this pre-brief will address important simulation software elements and how they should be used, participant feedback is crucial to ensure that everyone understands the challenge at hand.

Debriefing

As discussed, feedback and/or debriefing can and should be provided at several points in time during the game – immediate, real-time, and post-game. Providing consistent feedback throughout the playing experience allows performance and learning to be evaluated, refined, and improved as the game goes on. Feedback helps to reinforce “lessons learned” as participants move from one decision to another, fostering better decision-making and outcomes.

HFX Business Simulation Game

In HFX’s Training Business Simulation Game, feedback of all types is facilitated by downloadable excel files with complete corporate financial history, and end of game graphics that demonstrate the different decisions taken by different teams, and their respective performance. If you are interested in finding out more about how we can help you with your management training needs, visit us at www.hfxtraining.com