A start up is not the shrunken version of a large company. In fact it is not a company at all. It is a temporary organization that is looking to grow and become a company. While searching for a repeatable and scalable business model, lots of people confuse the search with execution. Infact “the habits that made you successful in a larger company may prove destructive at a small one.”
Every year, the cost of education gets more severe. Some private institutions are gasping to stay afloat in this tough economy by slashing tuition-fees to ignite enrolment. Class sizes are expanding while resources available remain the same. Instructors are asked to do more with less. State funded institutions suffering budget cuts has caused a backlash of program cut backs and tuition fee hikes. The biggest concern is the overall quality of education suffers.
Despite the growing cost of education, students have to contend with inadequate resources. Attributed in part to the rise in inflation; however, the salary for fresh graduates does not follow this upward trend, placing an added financial stress. Students cram an increasing number of courses each semester toensure that they fulfill the requirement of their loan and financial aid.
To assist the learning process institutions are turning to use of learning tools to reinforce what is taught in class. One such tool is the use of simulations, which help bolster what is being taught in class.
Online Business Simulations are innovative programs, with focus on areas Marketing, Finance, Human Resources and Operations. The simulation permits the students to test various business models on their virtual company. This gives them a better understanding of how theoritical models work better than others before they initiate them in real life. If the implemented strategy fails in the simulation, student has the leeway to make changes to ensure that the strategies being implemented are effective. This helps better understand the practical side of work and sharpens their skills for venture into the real world. Simulation exercises in business and management encourage entrepreneurial and independent thinking. To learn
Tim’s technique really surprised me. “I use the in-built scenarios to get started, direct them to the Simventure YouTube channel and ask the students to submit their monthly progress reports in a traditional report format,” he explained. Tim is a self-confessed technophobe and not typically first in line to buy our simulations. However, he has realized that his students really like the business simulation. Now at the end of his second semester Tim is particularly pleased that his students are engaged and self-directed.
I met Tim at the NACCE 2012 conference in Chicago where we had sponsored the Hawaii themed Internet Cafe. Tim McCabe is an Assistant Professor at the Tomkins Cortland Community College in Dryden, NY. His technique of working with simulations is really unique in the area of entrepreneurship education, where understanding and learning to use a simulation is usually the biggest challenge for educators.
59% of students at traditional educational institutions complain that their lecturers are becoming increasingly un-engaging. Whether we like it or not, whether we believe it or not, the classroom is already changing. Students expect the same level of engagement in education that they experience in their leisure activities, social media and shopping. Lecturers who cannot deliver that level of engagement face an uphill struggle in terms of class engagement and participation.
In a short documentary from Ericsson Sugata Mitra, professor of educational technology at the UK’s Newcastle University says, “Knowing something is probably an obsolete idea. You don’t actually need to know anything. You can find out at the point when you need to know it. It’s the teacher’s jobs to point young minds to the right kind of question. The teacher doesn’t need to give any answers because answers are everywhere.”
At the NACCE conference I was listening to keynote speakers like Doris K Christopher of Pampered Chef and Ray Charles Robinson Jr. Doris started her business from humble beginnings whereas Ray Jr had the benefit of learning from his father – the legendary Ray Charles, however both of them highlighted the learning that their personal journeys brought to their business. They learnt from their previous mistakes and applied their learning iteratively. Students also expect to learn practical skills in their entrepreneurship classes. They emphasize that educators who behave entrepreneurially in their approach to education show confidence by taking risks. This increases their self efficacy and own ability to take decisions. Educators who cannot demonstrate this ability in the classroom, find that their students are increasingly voting with their feet and dropping out of classes that they think are not engaging or useful.
That is why Tim’s attitude is so important to highlight. He is not just an educator but is an entrepreneur as well.
The first time I went skydiving, I was terrified. At the edge of the airplane door, legs dangling 30,000 feet in the air, I told myself ‘This was a bad bad idea’ though I’d seen more than a dozen people that afternoon safely land on their feet and exuberated by their experience. Before I could voice my objection, a nudge from the back, and I was free-falling. After struggling for the first few seconds to catch a breath, my arms and legs in position practised in the prep-class, and I began to enjoy the free fall.
Cold feet is just as common sitting in the waiting room.
Would such a safety net for aspiring entrepreneurs encourage them to take more risks? What is the best way to get over the fear of the unknown?
There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.
A balance between theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience, business simulations allow learning by doing. We all learn by doing, but how can we learn if the material isn’t presented in an interesting way? Business simulations allow the novice to go beyond the planning and witness firsthand the result of their decisions virtually, without loss of time or money in the real world. “He who fails to plan, plans to fail.”
A real-time strategy (RTS) game, entrepreneurship focused Sim-U provides educators and students with metrics on the status of their virtual business. In Sim-U every decision has a consequence, like the butterfly effect. The business operation runs in real-time and will continue to function (or close) even if the user isn’t logged in. Performance reviews let you know if their business is doing well or doing poorly.
Can this be the answer to the burning question: How can the US boost college students’ potentiality for the workforce?
Recent studies prove it: Increased engagement between educators and students has a positive effect on learning. Integrating seamlessly into individual sessions or entire courses of study your students can learn within single business silos or tackle an entire business. As the educator, you enrich their learning experience by acting as a guide for students to steer within the simulation, helping them testing their theoritical knowledge assimilated in the lecture room to see how they weather the commercial marketplace.
Well developed, institutionalized business simulation programs create safety culture, the best safety net against the failure of complex systems of the real world.
As a student, I am no longer content with just sitting in a classroom, waiting for the lecture to start. The education system is changing to keep pace with this current trend. Education is now largely virtual.
In the book ‘Collaborating Online: Learning Together in Community‘, authors Rena M. Palloff and Keith Pratt note:
…online education is a viable method of teaching, and it brings people together to support each other in learning. Students are able to move outside the box of traditional paper projects and deepen the learning experience by virtually collaboration with other students.
Developed earlier this summer in the education circles as MOOC, the biggest advantage in attending a program online is being able to spend time with my family for most days of the week and saving cost on transportation. In online class interaction, the efforts are no longer just geared towards answering questions posted by the tutor. Discussion Forums support interaction, getting to know other students and enriching my experience by connecting with 1000s of students rather than a brick and mortar classroom of 100 students.
Available to everyone, irrespective of their geographical location, this versatility offers the opportunity to enrol in my school of choice or have Ivy League education without uprooting my life. Online education is limitless in the opportunity it can offer students. Teaching with aid of an online program tweaks the in person classroom format to an interactive forum where knowledge and experiences can be shared, germinating new ideas and endless possibilities. One such method being used to reinforce what is taught in the classroom is use of simulations, which are geared toward specific subject areas.
Simulation is a design of an actual system which embodies the principle of ‘learning by doing’. Business simulations offered by Yellow Sequoia reinforce concepts taught in the classroom by creating real-life experiences which the students utilize to sharpen their competencies of the subject matter. For example, business and entrepreneurship models which are theoretical, can be practised in the simulation without the perils of failure and losses of the real-world. In a way, simulations help prepare you not just for class tests, they prepare us for life.
With the blazing fast speed of iPhone 5, a new record-breaking youth population is harnessing knowledge and learning on their fingertips. A $35.6 billion market until last year, Ambient Insight Research found the US Market for self-paced eLearning products and services: 2010-2015 forecast and analysis, is set to a five-year compound annual growth rate of 7.6% with a decline of over 22% per annum in students attending classrooms exclusively. Rather than wake up and trudge bleary-eyed to the classroom, students now have the option to watch the recorded or live stream on the iPad, join the discussion, ask questions, all while enjoying breakfast in their pajamas in the comfort of their home.
Traditional face-to-face learning still serves as a common ground for a cultural identity, but technology is erasing these cultural boundaries and forging new guideposts. My lessons for Bachelors Degree in Public Administration were completely delivered face to face When I did not understand certain concepts, I had to wait until the end of class or for the next class to seek clarification with the tutor. Stark contrast to that is my current Information Systems Management Master’s program where pedagogy is delivered both in class and online. Conducted in real time, we get feedback and assistance from the tutors and peers. The online learning helps me better understand the class lectures.
I studied Organizational Behavior during my graduation, which is also a requirement for my Master’s program. With the mixture of both online and in person learning I am better able to understand the subject. With real-life experiences during discussion as well as the constant interface with both the lecturer and peers, there is a greater level of understanding. Both online and face-to-face learning are a richer and more fulfilling experience.
Unless I had an assignment or was going to class, there was no need to constantly studying. With online lessons, the lecturer posts questions on the discussion forum, and it is mandatory that each student answers two questions daily. The answers are worth two marks, impelling us to think and keep up-to-date with the lessons. Followed for all class under the Master’s program, this has resulted in my better understanding of the various concepts being taught.
Simulation offers the best of both worlds. Educators can use the simulation for a setting fit for their students’ individual learning needs. Whether it is in class, in group session or practical project work. For example, if you are studying Operations in class, you can try out different scenarios using stimulation to mimic real-life problems encountered by a business. The students can utilize real-life stimuli so that when they come across a similar situation in the real world, they have the required skills and competences to deal with the problems that arise. Simulation is the right step in preparing for the journey ahead.
A new study published by Health Affairs found that the life expectancy high-school dropouts plunged has plunged by 5 years in the last two decades.
Huffington Post draws that the poor job prospects for Americans without a college education may be partially to blame. Workers without a bachelor’s degree earn $2.8 million less over their lifetimes than college graduates, according to a study by Georgetown University. Most recent high school graduates not in college are unemployed, and those with jobs are getting paid barely enough to stay out of poverty, according to a study by Rutgers University.
Disparities among racial groups and between the well-educated and those with less education postulates implementation of educational enhancements for young, middle, and older ages, to reduce the large gap in health and longevity that persists today. A personalized and authentic learning experience which serves to gain employment is a need of the hour.
Engaging with simulations offers hands-on, interactive training. Simulations are a computer-based interface characterized by a high degree of immersion, plausibility and interaction, making the student believe they are actually inside the artificial environment. Visualizations may be especially useful for helping students see structure in phenomena and processes that are traditionally ‘invisible’ to students until they practice them in a real job. Simulations can be pedagogically more effective than apparently similar case study demonstrations. No money is being wasted either; the environment within the simulation gains the student unique insights. The learning can be applied to improve their career prospects or star their own business.
Management institutions in India, chiefly the 2nd and 3rd tier business schools, are plagued with manifold problems – shortage of resources, poor infrastructure and lack of quality research – amalgamated, these threaten the existence of the institutions in the near future.
The National Knowledge Commission, India acknowledges, “Inadequate infrastructure and lack of strong incentives to practice quality research are major causes of decline in interest towards research work. Administrative hurdles add to the already unfavourable environment for research.”
Another concern is shortage of quality faculty. Starting salaries for IIM professors are less than US$14,000 – $17,000 per annum. Imparity of compensation between Indian and international faculty members leads many professors to look for greener pastures abroad.
Possible solutions to these problems
Use of technology: The tablet and mobile technology has swooped in with interactive education tools in the hands of the students. Simulations are a remedy for the lack of well-qualified instructors; they make learning interactive, fun and engaging. Professor Sugata Mitra’s Hole in the Wall experiment has demonstrated that even novices can learn on their own if they are equipped with an interactive ecosystem.
Enriching Content: Content designed to make learning holistic, individualistic, industry relevant and practical. Business simulations can be utilized for enriching content, like Simventure, focused on entrepreneurship and small business. The player impersonates an entrepreneur assembling and selling computers, making decisions about all aspects of the company in order to survive and hopefully succeed in business. Decisions are made on a monthly basis, and the objective is to strike the right balance between winning business, using the time effectively and ensuring enough money is flowing through the company. Each aspect of the simulation is interconnected and each decision will have multiple consequences.
SimVenture provides an elearning platform to educators. It encourages learning amongst educators, enhancing and sharing knowledge through a global forum.
There are different levels in the simulation from easy to difficult, suited to the needs participants with varying knowledge and expertise. It provides management support to educators and students, good visuals and an easy user interface.
Innovative Pedagogy: Information on every topic is abundantly available. This has elevated the faculty’s role from a disseminator of information to nurturing critical thinking. This involves use of a hybrid teaching model – engaging, multimedia-rich content.
For example, SIM-U, an online business simulation, provides a 3D immersive learning experience. iPad and mobile phone apps of the educational tool helps students to learn at their own convenience. Education organizations in India like PAF, EDI Ahemadabad, IIMs amongst others have taken the route of innovation and are using engaging tools like business simulations. The use of education technology tools like simulations in the classroom help these institutes to differentiate themselves and have received positive student feedback.
Business simulations can give a healing touch to B-schools by enhancing the course content, supporting skills of faculty, effective deployment of innovative technology and making learning more fun, engaging and exciting.
MOOC MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course for MOOC. This one-week program, which started on August 12th is an experimental online course for educators. The objective is to investigate “what it means to participate in, create, and even envision a MOOC”. To learn more about MOOC, watch this video – What is a MOOC?
Assignments are due each day in this open forum of teaching technology enthusiasts. This collaborative journey aims to find out “how useful this educational format can be, and the new and innovative opportunities toward which it points”.
You can join in and explore the LMS interface and course pages at your own pace. Visit Hybrid Pedagogy to get dive in with some stimulating thoughts and questions.
For hundreds of years universities have been considered the seat of knowledge. Their knowledge delivery model has survived intact, despite the onslaught of disruptive technologies like radio, telephone, television and now the Internet. The campus centric model of education however is undergoing increased pressure. Rising cost of tuition fees and the irrelevancy of some of the degrees in the job market means that students and their parents are increasingly picking online education channels.
A study by the Pew Research Center in March 2012 found that 60% of American adults viewed universities as having a positive effect on how things are going in the country and 84% of college graduates say that the expense of going to college was a good investment for them. Yet another Pew Research Center survey in 2011 found that 75% of adults say college is too expensive for most Americans to afford. Moreover, 57% said that the higher education system in the U.S. fails to provide students with good value for the money they and their families spend.
This set of circumstances has catalyzed the marketplace. Universities are watching competitors encroach on their traditional operation. The challengers include for-profit universities, nonprofit learning organizations such as the Khan Academy, commercial providers of lecture series, online services such as iTunes U, and a host of specialized training centers that provide instruction and credentials for particular trades and professions. All these can easily scale online instruction delivery more quickly than brick-and-mortar institutions.Consequently, higher education administrators—sometimes constrained by budgetary shortfalls and change-resistant academic cultures—are trying to respond and retool. The Pew Research Center 2011 study found in a survey of college presidents that more than three-fourths (77%) of respondents said their institution offered online course offerings. Half said they believe that most students at their schools will be enrolled in at least some online classes within the next 10 years. (from Mashable)
Disrupting the education market using technology is all well and good, it makes sense, given the advantage consumers have experienced when technology disrupted other information- based sectors like television, newspapers, cinema etc. However there still remains a fundamental point that is being ignored in all this noise about changing the way education is delivered. New forms of delivering education must not make the educator obsolete.
We believe that the educator is not replaceable by technology as they are able to provide insight, motivation and discretion. These human qualities are not replaceable because they require the educator to apply judgement from their experience. This human quality is impossible to duplicate.
In addition, other emotional support and tutor counsel is not possible through an electronic-only delivery channel. That is why our simulations are designed to work within the education system, along side the educator. Enabling them to apply their expertise to guide while the simulation takes care of routine tasks like grading and addresses issues like the skills gap in the classroom. A business simulation is like a live case study where the participants can be included.