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Using a Multi-media Simulation
to Engage Students in
Experiential Learning
Ross Wirth, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Business
Franklin University
wirthr@franklin.edu
IACBE Region 4 Conference
October 5, 2012
Presentation Focus
• Describe a multi-media simulation developed for
the business administration capstone course
• Walk through the thought process leading to the
decisions made in developing the simulation
• Provide some insight on how similar projects
can be done by others
2
Challenges
Teaching the Capstone
• The capstone course requires a shift from
tactical thinking to strategic thinking
• Earlier course work
▫ Trains students to search for the “right answer”
and not a “good answer” that can be supported
• Even working adults rarely have access to the
strategic thinking within their company
3
Alternatives Considered
• Prepare a strategic plan for a researched company
▫ Financial statements, often not managerial
▫ Inside look at the culture is lacking
▫ Often turns into a limited case study with little strategic thinking
 Students too often end up adopting existing strategy
 When new strategy is offered, it is often before the analysis is done
▫ Requires the instructor to become familiar with each company
• Multi-period game
▫ High learning curve at the beginning
▫ Decision structure that is relative static
▫ Usually manufacturing based with few service components
▫ Competitive and fun, but
 often narrow in the number of learning objectives addressed
▫ Often little opportunity to recover from early mistakes
▫ High instructor dependence to be effective 4
Approach Chosen – Multi-phase
Multi-media Simulation
• Forces the student to “live the simulation” thereby gaining exposure
to real-world (“messy”) problems
▫ Students chart their own direction as an embedded employee
• Many “good” answers that have to be supported with analysis and
justified arguments
• Cultural and inter-personal considerations take center stage in
student assignments & discussions
• Learning continues to build on earlier work
▫ Serves as a framework for all learning objectives
▫ Sometimes with loop-back changes as more is known
• Fun to teach – active class discussion and
ability to challenge nearly any recommendation
• Developed in-house with a limited budget
5
Structure of the Simulation
• Used an earlier simulation as a prototype
▫ WeCan Foods – videos organized in 4 phases
http://video.franklin.edu/Franklin/hrm/420/weCanFoods/phase01.html
• 6 phases organized around building a strategic plan
▫ 26 videos – convey company & industry knowledge while
providing some insight to the company culture
▫ 1 voice mail – complements video (later enhancement)
▫ 22 emails – variety of purposes
▫ 13 documents – newspapers, magazines, employee
directory, market studies, job descriptions, etc.
▫ 1 spreadsheet – managerial & financial accounting
▫ 1 company web site – bad, by design
6
Simulation Features
• Common set of company & industry data
▫ Instructor ease in understanding the case
• Creates some real-world anxiety
▫ Information overload & messy problems
▫ New and sometimes conflicting information
encountered in later phases of the simulation
• Enables multiple strategic directions
▫ Pushes students to think-outside-the-box to gain a
competitive advantage
▫ Recommendations must be supported with analysis
and reasoned judgment
▫ All strategies face some implementation challenge
7
Delivery Options - StilSim
• Plan A – Internet link
• Plan B – CD
▫ When high speed internet is not available
• Plan C – individual documents
▫ pdf of all scripts – critical for ADA compliance
▫ Used once
8
Phases – Learning Focus
1. Introduction & External Analysis
2. Internal Analysis
3. Initial Strategizing
4. Vision Clarification
5. Strategic Adjustment – new issues arise
6. Action Planning for Implementation & Control
9
Strategic Options Available
• Everything, including the kitchen sink is possible
▫ No perfect strategy – even the best options have
some problems that need to be addressed
10
Support Materials
• Faculty Manual – 90 pages
• Student Manual – 26 pages
• Drag sheets – safety net to help students organize
▫ Who’s Who – what is known about them & concerns
▫ Competitors – what is known
▫ Opportunities – idea embedded somewhere
 Degree of competition (heavy, light, open field)
 Emerging market (early follower, first mover, conceptual)
▫ Strategic Options – business & generic
▫ Cultural Issues – strategic implication
• Financial statements – faculty & student versions
11
Results – Engaged Students
12
Future Opportunities
• Additional simulations in other courses
• Expand use in the “flipped classroom”
• Availability of lower cost technology continues
• Leverage growing technology in animation and
vocalization
13

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Using a Multi-media simulation to engage students in experiential learning

  • 1. Using a Multi-media Simulation to Engage Students in Experiential Learning Ross Wirth, Ph.D. Dean, College of Business Franklin University wirthr@franklin.edu IACBE Region 4 Conference October 5, 2012
  • 2. Presentation Focus • Describe a multi-media simulation developed for the business administration capstone course • Walk through the thought process leading to the decisions made in developing the simulation • Provide some insight on how similar projects can be done by others 2
  • 3. Challenges Teaching the Capstone • The capstone course requires a shift from tactical thinking to strategic thinking • Earlier course work ▫ Trains students to search for the “right answer” and not a “good answer” that can be supported • Even working adults rarely have access to the strategic thinking within their company 3
  • 4. Alternatives Considered • Prepare a strategic plan for a researched company ▫ Financial statements, often not managerial ▫ Inside look at the culture is lacking ▫ Often turns into a limited case study with little strategic thinking  Students too often end up adopting existing strategy  When new strategy is offered, it is often before the analysis is done ▫ Requires the instructor to become familiar with each company • Multi-period game ▫ High learning curve at the beginning ▫ Decision structure that is relative static ▫ Usually manufacturing based with few service components ▫ Competitive and fun, but  often narrow in the number of learning objectives addressed ▫ Often little opportunity to recover from early mistakes ▫ High instructor dependence to be effective 4
  • 5. Approach Chosen – Multi-phase Multi-media Simulation • Forces the student to “live the simulation” thereby gaining exposure to real-world (“messy”) problems ▫ Students chart their own direction as an embedded employee • Many “good” answers that have to be supported with analysis and justified arguments • Cultural and inter-personal considerations take center stage in student assignments & discussions • Learning continues to build on earlier work ▫ Serves as a framework for all learning objectives ▫ Sometimes with loop-back changes as more is known • Fun to teach – active class discussion and ability to challenge nearly any recommendation • Developed in-house with a limited budget 5
  • 6. Structure of the Simulation • Used an earlier simulation as a prototype ▫ WeCan Foods – videos organized in 4 phases http://video.franklin.edu/Franklin/hrm/420/weCanFoods/phase01.html • 6 phases organized around building a strategic plan ▫ 26 videos – convey company & industry knowledge while providing some insight to the company culture ▫ 1 voice mail – complements video (later enhancement) ▫ 22 emails – variety of purposes ▫ 13 documents – newspapers, magazines, employee directory, market studies, job descriptions, etc. ▫ 1 spreadsheet – managerial & financial accounting ▫ 1 company web site – bad, by design 6
  • 7. Simulation Features • Common set of company & industry data ▫ Instructor ease in understanding the case • Creates some real-world anxiety ▫ Information overload & messy problems ▫ New and sometimes conflicting information encountered in later phases of the simulation • Enables multiple strategic directions ▫ Pushes students to think-outside-the-box to gain a competitive advantage ▫ Recommendations must be supported with analysis and reasoned judgment ▫ All strategies face some implementation challenge 7
  • 8. Delivery Options - StilSim • Plan A – Internet link • Plan B – CD ▫ When high speed internet is not available • Plan C – individual documents ▫ pdf of all scripts – critical for ADA compliance ▫ Used once 8
  • 9. Phases – Learning Focus 1. Introduction & External Analysis 2. Internal Analysis 3. Initial Strategizing 4. Vision Clarification 5. Strategic Adjustment – new issues arise 6. Action Planning for Implementation & Control 9
  • 10. Strategic Options Available • Everything, including the kitchen sink is possible ▫ No perfect strategy – even the best options have some problems that need to be addressed 10
  • 11. Support Materials • Faculty Manual – 90 pages • Student Manual – 26 pages • Drag sheets – safety net to help students organize ▫ Who’s Who – what is known about them & concerns ▫ Competitors – what is known ▫ Opportunities – idea embedded somewhere  Degree of competition (heavy, light, open field)  Emerging market (early follower, first mover, conceptual) ▫ Strategic Options – business & generic ▫ Cultural Issues – strategic implication • Financial statements – faculty & student versions 11
  • 12. Results – Engaged Students 12
  • 13. Future Opportunities • Additional simulations in other courses • Expand use in the “flipped classroom” • Availability of lower cost technology continues • Leverage growing technology in animation and vocalization 13