Archives for October 2015 | Learn About Business Simulations and Strategic Acceleration

How To: Low Budget Scenario Based Learning That Excites Sticks!

Business Simulation Example
It’s hard to teach behavioral topics such as conflict management, negotiation, or leadership. It is also expensive to create (or re-create) a setup to enable people to practice these important managerial skills. Most companies let the natural course of time and experience hone these skills. A little intro theory mixed with some time hopefully creates the right outcomes. In today’s business environment, this is expensive! But how do you create scenarios without the time or expense (or all the resources)?

How to Create Scenario Based Learning That Sticks!

Lets assume you have a scenario based training topic that needs to be practiced by a lot of people. Go with a branching story! Branching stories are easy to create and are more engaging than people give them credit for. Here’s how a branching story works:

User logs into the computer and starts the ‘game’. As a result, the user reads something like: You walk into the company break room and two of your employees are having an argument. Do you a) turn around and walk out? b) Ask them politely to find a conference room and work it out? or c) Ask them to join you in a conference room in order to settle the issue?

Once someone selects an option, the computer adapts and changes the story depending on the option chosen. Let’s say you chose C. The computer then responds and says, Ok, you are in a conference room and the two employees refuse to talk. What do you do? a) Tell them to work it out or they will both be suspended without pay. b) Ask that one of them explains what happened. c) Tell them to go back to work and work it out after hours.

As you can see, there are “right” answers and “not so great answers”. They are all viable choices, but some are just better than others. Once the participants go through a series of choices, they will come to an ending. From this, they will learn what works and doesn’t work. They then have the option to try again in order to be better.

Voila! You just created an action learning module. These can easily be done in powerpoint or MS word. Very very easy!

Branching stories are a type of business simulation and are sometimes used as a leadership development simulation. Very easy to get started and you can find many resources on the web.

Excite People About Business Acumen?!? Here's How.

SME Graphic
Is it really possible to get a group of training participants excited about business acumen? Are people really willing to join a waiting list to get into a business acumen class? Yes, you can get people excited and you can create a wait list for business acumen! How you ask? You need to create a course that gives people a chance to apply the business acumen. There are many ways to do this. You can create board games, computer games, or paper based exercises. Getting started is easier than you might think.

3 Tips to Excite People About Business Acumen

3. Provide 30 minutes of theory and then let the participants loose practicing- Don’t lecture all day and then give them a piece of accounting paper and say “go!” Break it into pieces and give them some action learning modules. How about something like, “You have 10 minutes to put the correct expense into the correct income statement category.” Very simple exercises go a long.
2. Break the participants into teams- Business acumen training is lonely enough. How about putting the group into teams of 3 people. When you apply the learn-and-apply method above, the teams will work together. As a result, the participants will begin to teach each other.
1. Make it a game- Of course, you could use a business simulation, but this might be a little challenging to create yourself (even though people love it!). No matter the exercise, create a method of measurement (scoring), a sense of friendly competition, and a way to push people beyond their comfort zone and you have yourself a game!

As a result, if you turn your business acumen training into a game, create teams, and give action learning a real opportunity, your participants will be more engaged than ever.

3 Tips To Challenge and Engage Millennials

Training in the 2010s is nothing like it was in the 1990s, and if you want to stay ahead of the game it’s important to understand why. The Baby Boomer generation is on its way out (10,000 are retiring each day, according to Business Insider) and the Millennials are taking their places.

The Millennials are the first generation to grow up in a connected world, and this means their attitudes and expectations have been fashioned by the Internet. They despise stale, non-interactive training methods; they want training that is hands-on and keeps them engaged. Furthermore, they expect training to be ongoing: according to Pew Research, 89% of Millennials agree with the statement “It’s important to be constantly learning at my job.”

Here are 3 Tips to Engage Millennials in Corporate Training

1. Stop Telling People What to Think—Leave off on the preaching. Instead, focus on creating action learning modules in which participants can discover lessons on their own. And remember to leave time for participants to share with others what they learned.

2. Show People Why—Learning for the sake of learning is passé. People need to understand why a subject is important. If training participants recognize the importance of the training topic, they will be more willing to take the time to learn it.

3. Challenge Them—If your participants are bored, your training is a failure. Use Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s “flow concept” to get optimal performance from your participants. According to Csikszentmihalyi, people do best when the challenge and the ability to achieve the goal are in balance.

Digital connectivity and rapid advances in technology have ushered us into a new age, transforming the workplace and business models. Training must adapt to the shifting landscape. By using the six tips above, you can make the transition a positive experience.