How to Increase Your Training Impact through Business Simulations

by Jennifer Miller on September 14, 2015

in Leadership, Training Delivery

people in business training setting

This post is brought to you by Simulation Studios, specializing in creating business simulations and gamification solutions for leadership development, business acumen, and business silo reduction.  See below for full disclosure.

Picture this: a group of promising young leaders is seated in their classroom, awaiting the arrival of their instructor. It’s the second week of their two-week leadership development program. The topic for the day is “Business Acumen.” From the back of the room, strains of “Space Odyssey: 2001” swell to a crescendo. A man wearing a purple wizard’s robe makes a dramatic entrance. The “Wizard of Wall Street” has arrived! He’s ready to lead the group through an intensive, all-day business simulation on the financial management of a company.

Business acumen? Financial management? What a dry topic, right? Not when it’s wrapped into a business simulation. “The Wizard” was a top-rated instructor for a leadership development program I created for a Fortune 500 company. Why did these leaders need to learn business acumen? Because the course materials featured real-life financials from our company paired with a hands-on simulation of running a company for a day, and all the complicated factors that involves.

Simulations have been around for a long time—think paper-and-pencil “in basket”-type activities. For many years, high-end simulations were limited to executive development. That’s not the case any longer. Thanks to advances in technology that decrease the time it takes to develop simulations, employees from all areas of the company can experience the thrill of “real-life” business scenarios.

Simulations now seek to develop a variety of skill sets beyond business acumen. Bill Hall, President of Simulation Studios, reports that over 80% of his company’s clients want to learn more about how to use simulations for leadership development. Simulations improve the impact of training because they are the real-life “glue” that connects leadership theory with hands-on action. Simulations are more accessible than ever, thanks to a lower cost of development. Once available only to Fortune 500 companies with large training budgets, now even smaller companies can use these training techniques.

The popularity of simulations is on the rise for another reason as well: people are much more comfortable with the idea of using technology within their learning environment. Hall finds that as technology has advanced, there are many more tech-savvy trainers who are comfortable using business simulations—and its younger cousin— gamification.

One of the most exciting elements of this learning methodology is that the people in charge of delivering the training find that it’s easier than ever for learners. “It’s really about creating self-sufficiency for the client,” states Hall. “Clients who use our business simulations are getting up and running more quickly and using the technology with ease. It used to be that running a business simulation required extensive training in order to successfully facilitate a business simulation. Now, corporate trainers are up and running very quickly,” notes Hall.

It’s encouraging to see that technology advancements have driven down the price of business simulations and made them easier for trainers to implement. From my days as a corporate trainer, I well remember that the most powerful learning occurred when people could “get in there” and experienced something hands-on. “Hands on” learning is the best way for people to experience the key skills they need to do their jobs. Get as many employees using simulations as possible and you’ll increase the impact of your training dollars.


Disclosure language: This is a post sponsored by Simulation Studios. I was compensated for writing this blog post. Even though I write about topics and services that I think will benefit my readers, this post is not a specific endorsement of the products and services listed. I encourage you to make your own decisions (purchasing and otherwise) based on research you conduct.

photo credit: Copyright : Robert Churchill


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