Business Simulations: Fun Games or Productivity Tool?
It’s well known that play activities and gaming experiences are great tools for engaging humans in learning, educational and training activities. Over the years, this has given rise to the emergence of a new wave of gaming activities, which are designed to serve other purposes beyond entertainment. Such gaming activities are characterized as “serious games” and are extensively used to educate, train and engage their users in a variety of sectors including defense, security, research, healthcare, sales, engineering and industry. Serious games are closely related to simulation activities that aim at training players in performing some task. For example, there are serious games for training pilots, which operate much in the same way flight simulators are used. Hence, serious games have a very strong pedagogical component, which is propelled by the fact that fun and competition facilitate learning.
One of the most prominent types of serious games are business simulation games, which comprises of content focused on the management of economic processes and the overall operation of enterprises. Business simulation games emphasize activities that provide insights on management processes and their impact on the economic output of enterprise. To this end, they include algorithms that simulate real world events and determine their potential consequences on the stakeholders and bottom lines of an enterprise. Like other games business simulation games also come with powerful graphics and story-telling scenarios, which boost end-user’s engagement in the business simulation activities.
The rationale behind creating and/or playing business simulation is to provide end-users and learners with opportunities for interacting with real world situations in their work environment. This can allow them to gain practical experience and avoid common mistakes. For example, it provides them with opportunities to experiment with different cooperation scenarios between different stakeholders, as well as with various decision-making paths. Coupled with simulation capabilities, games boost learning and help employees understand how they can work together in efficient ways.
The development of a business simulation game can be based on the following guidelines:
Business simulations with the above-listed characteristics can deliver a range of benefits to enterprises, including:
We are living in an era where there is a proclaimed gap in soft skills and critical thinking, given also the evolution of industrial organizations and the increased digitalization of enterprise processes. In this context, enterprises are starving for novel tools and techniques for upskilling and reskilling employees, in the direction of filling the above gaps. Business simulations can without doubt become one of these tools. We therefore expect their adoption by business enterprises to grow in the years to come.
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