Insight

6 Myths of Business Simulations

Close to 70% of students have used a game or simulation in at least one university course, and yet there are many myths about simulations that still persist. Capsim has been around simulations since 1985, and we’ve heard them all. Here is our top six – and why they are myths:

Myth 1: Simulations are a fad for geeks and techies

To be worthy of its name, a fad must be very short lived. Having been around even before the American Management Association launched a business game in the 1950s, business simulations are far too long in the tooth to be qualified as a fad.

They can, however, be considered an educational trend. A trend (according to www.trendwatching.com) happens when external change such as advances in technology juxtapose “a fundamental human need, want or desire.” In this case it’s the fundamental desire to learn the way we were built to learn: by doing. In the connected age, the type of technologies that allow your grandma to tweet ensure anyone who can use the Internet and a mouse can manage a simulation. Plus, every instructor using a Capsim business simulation is paired with a personal client relationship consultant to guide them through every step.

Myth 2: Students ‘game’ simulations too easily

Since Aristotle was striding about the Lyceum, there have been bright students engaging their intellect on gaming the system more diligently than actually doing their assignments.

Whether Capsim simulations are played as a ‘tournament’ between teams or as a ‘footrace’ with each student competing in a marketplace of computer-generated competitors, a Capsim simulation is never the same experience twice. To be doubly sure however (suspenders and a belt), we have added “snowflake” technology so each instructor can customize elements of the model. Students have as much chance of gaming their simulation grade as a snowflake in, well, you know where.

Myth 3: Simulations are like ‘lab’ work -separate from class

Business is like skydiving, the theory is important, but you don’t understand just how important until you take that first little step from 12,000 feet.

Sometimes you don’t really know what you know, or what you don’t know, until you apply it in practice. A business student may pass accounting, marketing, operations management and strategy 101, but what do they do at their first competitive disaster, stock-out or bankruptcy? Because there’s no special equipment needed, the business simulation ‘lab’ is integrated with classroom work, putting theory into practice with powerful immediacy.

Myth 4: Simulations are a ‘one trick pony’ with little flexibility

There was a time when simulations were limited in terms of delivery options and learning objectives, but that went out with telephones just designed for talking to people.

Capsim simulations are used online, in hybrid formats or in the classroom for student numbers ranging from a handful to a thousand. They are used in courses from a few days in length to 5, 10 or 15 week semesters. Our suite of simulations is easily adapted to a variety of learning goals. Capstone, for example, is used in Marketing, Strategy, Management and Accounting for undergraduate, graduate and executive education courses. Comp-XM can be used for individual assessment, course-wide Assurance of Learning or school-wide Accreditation documentation. Capsim has quite a stable of ponies these days, with plenty of tricks to demonstrate.

Myth 5: The keen students do the work for the lazy

Research shows most of us admit to goofing off during a team project at some time, so Capsim has built in an antidote to “social loafing”.

TeamMATE is an evidence based, state-of-the-science instrument that captures, measures and coaches improvement on the essential components of effective teamwork. A simple online interface; clear data instructors can manipulate for their own analytics; peer and team assessment for grading and development – TeamMATE measures and builds one of the key core competencies for any business manager – teamwork. Use it with any team, on any project, any time.

Myth 6: Student assessment is difficult with a simulation

It’s actually the opposite. Simulations make both grading and assessment simpler.

Capsim offers performance data from the Balanced Scorecard, completion data on various quizzes and tasks, peer evaluation data on individuals, TeamMATE assessments of team effectiveness, as well as Comp-XM which is a complete evaluation of each student’s business knowledge and ability to apply it in practice. Our simulations also allow you to assess written and oral communication skills through online homework submission or live shareholder presentations in class. All you need to do is select which measurements best suit your learning objectives for your class. Your Capsim client relationship consultant can help ensure you get the simplest, most effective grading system for your needs.

Did we miss something? If you have a simulation myth, something you have always believed about simulations, let’s talk about it. Please give us a call at 312.477.7200 or email welcome@capsim.com.

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