The answer lies in simple and very old technique, called Cone of Learning by Edgar Dale. Sure, there are a lot of debates how the real cone of learning looks like and how many adaptations and modernizations there are. However, almost all learning and education specialists agree – practice doing or practicing in simulated environment is one of the most efficient way to transfer theoretical knowledge.
All in all, these are main takeaways, why simulations work:
- Engaged learners – high levels of interactions make learning fun, increases retention, and builds skills.
- Application of learning – by immediately applying new concepts, participants learn-by-doing.
- No risks involved – simulation recreates real world experiences so that learners can practice in a risk-free environment.
- Empower learners – by taking control of a business enterprise, participants see and understand how a business works from top to bottom.
- Opening horizons – as simulations are focusing on recreating a process or a system, thus allowing learners explore the connections between elements of the system, as a result – seeing a bigger picture.
- Communication and teamwork – the truth is, some people need more time and training in order to develop these skills. Facing a challenge as a group is the best training.
- Roles and cross functional awareness – trying out different shoes for a day or two opens eyes and for many colleagues.
- Self-assessment and awareness – experiencing challenges helps develop professional self-awareness. Weaknesses can become strengths if one seeks to do so.
- Revelations – replaying or experiencing same situation again, might help participants see things they have missed previously or find something completely new.
And the main final point, is that business simulations allow participants experience unknown situations, and get them ready for unpredictable situations. As a result, this develops not only more durable and stable performance in a face of crisis, but also helps develop friendlier approach towards change in organization.