By Shweta Karulkar
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Immersive learning engages the learners by placing them in an interactive learning environment. It is an effective way to make the learners understand and apply complex business concepts on the job. Immersive learning has great potential to create curiosity among the learners which in turn boosts their interest. Learners learn best when they are put in the driver’s seat and have control over their learning experience, thus enhancing knowledge retention.
 
“Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners. – John Holt
 
Holt’s quote represents the core essence of immersive learning.

The current business scenario increasingly demands employees to possess competencies that are not only specific to their role but are also flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances.
 
So, how does Business Simulation play a role in creating an Immersive Learning Experience?
 

Sense of Realism

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One important factor that differentiates Business Simulation from traditional eLearning courses is its ability to create more realistic and experiential learning environments. Learners are hypothesized to a degree at which they are completely immersed in the training.
Business Simulations are a promising learning intervention to make learners feel that they are physically and emotionally present in the virtual environment. This can be achieved with the help of three dimensional representation of content, action, and motion. These features define the degree of realism between the virtual environment and the real world.
 
Have you heard of the term “Symbiotic Relationships”? It is mostly associated with engaging learning experiences.
 

Symbiotic Relationship

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Business Simulations cultivate a symbiotic relationship between the learner and the training environment. At high level of immersion, learners are asked to input certain values to which the system reacts. This motivates the learners to bring in behavioral changes and implement strategies to drive the business forward.
 
 
 
 
 

Rich Interactions

Learners, particularly young employees, who have grown up using the Internet expect an active and interactive learning environment. Business Simulations support multiple types of interactions, such as interactions between learner and the system and between competitive learning groups. Additionally, learners can interact with the system with the help of virtual agents. Virtual agents guide the learners to explore the system, experiment new ideas, and compete with the other learners.
 

Branching Decision-making Exercises

In Business Simulation courses, learners are provided with a sequence of questions, requiring them to make certain decisions. They are encouraged to analyze situations and make important business decisions, such as:

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  • What is the right time to invest?
  • What should you do when your competitor raises or lowers their prices?
  • Is it worth taking a risk?
  • How can you beat competition?
  • What will be the consequences of your decisions?

 
 
Based on the learners’ decisions, they are directed to a particular learning path. Learners are not forced to follow a certain direction. Real-time feedback is provided after each decision point. They need to bear the consequences of the decisions taken during each scenario.

As learners get an opportunity to handle real-life situations, they feel more confident to go back and apply the best practices in a real work setting.

Don’t you think learners would benefit more effectively if they learn from trial and errors in a safe environment? If you think ‘Yes’, then you are on the right track!

 

Learning from Mistakes in a Safe Environment

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Business Simulations immerse employees in the learning process and helps them build desired expertise without any risk to the company. Learners can experiment with different strategies to analyze different outcomes, understand the implications of the decisions they make, and apply the winning strategy in a practical environment.
 
 
 

Feedback Strategies

Learners can expect a high degree of learning as they are able to see the effects of their decisions immediately. Business Simulations provide real-time feedback based on the strategies they choose to implement. Simply put, in Business Simulations, consequence of an action is equivalent to the feedback. Typically, feedback should address:

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  • What is the analysis of your decision?
  • What are the consequences of your decision?
  • What could be the most appropriate solution?
  • What are the key learning points?

 
 
 
 
Providing instant and real-time feedback enables you to take one step further in engaging the learners into the virtual environment. There are greater possibilities of learners learning from their mistakes and applying the newly acquired skills in the real world.
 

Competitive Spirit

Learners participate in virtual business competitions, where they can connect with people from other companies. This helps learners to gauge various business strategies applied by their competitors, gain ideas and insights from their business, and eventually secure a better position in the market. Business Simulations play an important role in motivating learners to be competent in the market.
 

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Learners get an opportunity to represent their company and try out different approaches to drive their business. They are immersed into the key concepts of business as they interact in teams and control their organization’s simulated environment. Learners feel excited as they are a part of the bigger picture.
So, what do you think is the winning factor for Business Simulations?
 

In a nutshell

Business Simulations promote complete participation by learners and encourage qualities such as personal involvement, self-assessment, decision-making skills, reflection, and holistic thinking. They trigger critical thinking abilities as they are task and problem-oriented. Leading organizations rely on Business Simulations as a powerful training solution to accelerate performance of their employees.

As stated by Jack. C. Green in his research paper, “Developments in Business Simulation and Experiential Learning, Volume 31, 2004”, here are some of the comments by learners who enjoyed Business Simulation-based courses:

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