Simulation Games Enhance Learning Outcomes

The biggest challenge of our education system is to leverage the learning of concepts and theories with the use of modern technology to create engaging, relevant, and personalized learning experiences for all students that represent the reality of their future.

Most B-schools and universities follow a teaching style that is a blend of theory and practical. The traditional methods of teaching within the four walls of the classroom that include lectures and textbooks do set the basic foundation for a student. However, to attain the skills, which will be required at the workplace, these concepts have to be applied. The application of the learning will ensure that the student has been able to improve their critical thinking skills. The two years of PGDM should comprise of this blend of theory and practice giving the student a comprehensive curriculum.

Subjects like Entrepreneurship give the students ample opportunities to collaborate and work with peers. For subjects like this, the implementation of simulation is the best solution as it deals with the real-life application of the knowledge gained in the classroom.

What are the benefits of Simulation?

Simulations are games that follow a system or a phenomenon. The players are expected to achieve certain pre-specified goals and the environment of the simulation is pre-defined through algorithms and programming. The biggest benefit of simulations is that students get involved in playing the simulation and they consider it as a game or a competition in the real sense. In the process of playing the simulation, the students start applying the concepts that they have learnt in the classes. This provides them with an opportunity to find out how the concept actually works.

It is also the best way to implement Action Learning, i.e., learning by doing. These days, simulations are available online so they can be accessed from anywhere. Students can form teams and access the simulation from any part of the world. It also encourages more interactions among the students that set the platform for learning from each other. They can also afford to do mistakes and learn from it as the stakes are low and they have nothing to lose in terms of money or any other resource.

How to include Simulation in learning pedagogy?

Since simulations are beneficial for management students, it is imperative that it is included in the learning pedagogy. IILM has been implementing simulations in its UG as well as PG courses. Some of the key aspects that need to be considered for including Simulation in the learning pedagogy are:

  • Decide the learning objectives of the subject and check the relation between the concepts taught and the simulation game. There should be a perfect match between the learning objectives of the course and the skills that the simulation tests in the student.
  • The simulation game should be in a sequence. The sequence should move in terms of complexity. For example, a simulation may be played over 4 quarters and the decisions that the players have to take in the initial quarters should be simpler than the ones that they have to take in the later stages.
  • The class has to be guided by a coach who will channel the thoughts and ideas of the students. There has to be a little bit of hand holding in the initial stages of the simulation so that the students understand the process.
  • The coach can first give a brief synopsis of the situation in which this simulation is being conducted. If required, the initial stages can be demonstrated by the coach so that the students can follow his or her footsteps.
  • As the students play the simulation, the coach should encourage the students to think about their decisions and predict the consequences of their decisions. The coach will then have to connect this analysis with the learning objectives of the course.
  • The teams should be able to present their decisions and if required prepare a brief report of the simulation. The coach can then give their feedback so that the concepts become clear to the students.

In the present dynamic environment, the main focus of higher educational institutions is to enable student-centred teaching. This will be possible only when learning happens in an active and collaborative environment. The inclusion of Simulations in the teaching and learning of management concepts will not only make the students better learners but will also prepare them to face the challenges of the corporate world.

To know about other Management teaching best practices like case based learning, mentoring have a look at the following:

Business Case Studies – An Effective Teaching Tool

The Many Avatars of a Teacher – A Facilitator in Learning

What is the Mantra for right mentoring?





Business Case Studies – An Effective Teaching Tool

Tell me and I forget.

Teach me and I remember.

Involve me and I Learn.

These lines by Benjamin Franklin have rightly pointed out the gap in our education system. The traditional model of teaching i.e. lecturing would only help students to remember the concepts that have been discussed in class. The effectiveness of the learning process exists only when the students are fully engrossed in the subject. With the availability of electronic gadgets and the internet, the attention span of students has been reducing day by day. In such a scenario, an effective teaching tool that can be used for the business management students is Case-Based Teaching. The concept of case-based teaching is not only found in the management subjects but also found in courses like law, medicine, science, etc. The idea is to make the students understand a real-world problem that needs to be solved with the application of the concepts that the student has learned in the class.

Benefits of Case-based Teaching:

According to Professor Chris Ronald Christensen of Harvard Business School, the case-based teaching classes unfold without a detailed script. This is because the case is relatively unknown to the student, and the discussion that may take place in the class in the context of the case is unknown to the teacher. Many experienced faculty members say that the same case study brings out different learning for the students each time it is discussed with a batch of students. The classroom becomes an open platform for discussion that helps each student to come up with their idea and understanding of the case.

Efforts required in Case-based teaching:

Many faculty members have been using case-based teaching as a part of their teaching pedagogy. This is also practiced in many leading universities like Oxford, Stanford, and Cambridge, etc. The faculty in these institutes believe that the core concept of the case study as well as the course content has to be discussed simultaneously. This requires rigorous preparation on behalf of the faculty. The challenge lies in the ability of the faculty to make the students connect the theory with the practical case study and create ‘teachable moments’ in the process. These teachable moments arise from the classroom discussions and it is the responsibility of the faculty to guide the students through the discussion as well as give the discussion a desired direction. Thus, case-based teaching is a way of discovering the concept in a new manner. It requires the faculty to learn the art of balancing the discussion, planning the direction and also being versatile with strong and powerful storytelling skills.

Teaching cases online:

The current pandemic has created a new normal which includes online teaching. Teachers of all age groups, across the world, had to switch quickly to the online mode of teaching. This was not an easy task to do but then the change was quickly adapted to by faculty members so that the on-going semester could be completed successfully. In this context, the task of case-based teaching became more challenging. One of the major hurdles that the faculty faces while teaching through cases is that not all students read the whole case study and not all students read the case study before they attend the class. This became an even bigger issue to address when the classes shifted online.

To address this issue, the faculty of IILM had to be more proactive and plan the session in small segments. The cases that were taken up for discussion had to be smaller and crisper. Short case-lets are best suited for online case discussions. The questions had to be deep. Taking the advantage of technology, the students were made to discuss among themselves in small groups i.e. break-out groups where the faculty would visit just like it would be done in a physical classroom. The faculty also had to design more short exercises like polls and engage the students in a better manner. An effective way of doing this was by sharing reading material with the students before the class, beginning the class with a recent example, and sharing the faculty’s screen with students so that they can participate actively and share insights. This is followed by a quiz or a small test so that the students can assess their understanding. It can, therefore, be said that undoubtedly case-based teaching is one of the most effective ways of teaching but it will have to be modified with the change in times.

Importance of Case-based Teaching:

Case-based teaching and learning are important as pedagogy as it helps in developing the lifelong skills of critical thinking, collaboration i.e. working in groups, open inquiry, communicating ideas, and thoughts along with subject knowledge to arrive at a solution. Students also like this aspect and are engaged and interested in case discussions. It is a time-tested way of teaching that has been implemented successfully in various courses and institutions. It is an ideal win-win situation for both the faculty as well as the students. On one hand, the faculty can engage the students and also drive home the necessary concepts, the students can apply their knowledge and learn effectively. Thus, the time has come to implement the case-based teaching and learning pedagogy, with a little bit of revamping.

Do comment / write to me on how do you think Case-Based teaching will evolve in the blended learning format.

What is the Mantra for right mentoring?

 What do Steve Jobs, Larry Page and Sergey Brin have in common? Yes! All of them are tech titans of the 21st century and all three had excellent business mentors. There is a long tradition of mentoring that spans history and even dates back to mythology. Today, the term “mentor” has evolved to mean a trusted advisor, friend, teacher and wise person, according to a book on mentoring by author and businessman, Gordon Shea. 

What is Mentoring  

Mentoring is a fundamental form of human development where a person invests time, energy and personal know-how in assisting the growth and ability of another person. An educator wears multiple hats and has various avatars. One of the most important avatars is that of a mentor since it aims to nurture the mentee’s talents and interests in such a way that they can bring out their best.  ILM has always strived to empower its students by providing them value-based education and necessary inputs to achieve excellence in the world of business. Mentoring is one of the effective means to achieve the above objective.

 Facets of IILM Mentoring:

The mentorship program at IILM is multi-dimensional for students of BBA, MBA and PGDM and all undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Our mentoring programme ensures that it fully understands the circumstances and specific needs of students and delivers a service which is geared to serving their best interests and supporting their progress. The purpose of the mentoring program is to integrate academic learning with real-world experiences and to become a model for workforce readiness, embraced by the community. A very important facet of IILM mentoring programme is the integration between mentoring and career centre to maximize the effort of the successful career of students.

Monitoring is conducted on an on-going basis as a health check, allowing for early intervention when things go off-plan or to alter aspects of the programme in light of experience. Mentors and mentees are the primary contributors to the process of mentoring and monitoring. We believe that each student is different, with different personalities, traits, and skillsets. Some of the many facets of the Mentorship Programme at IILM are:

Identifying and addressing the strengths and weaknesses of mentees: 

To facilitate a 360-degree development of the mentees, the mentors make a plan that is executed from the day the mentee joins the university and continues till their exit. In this process, the mentor identifies the strengths of the mentee and suggests ways to overcome their weaknesses or any challenges that they may be going through.

Career Counselling:

The students of IILM are continuously guided by their mentors to help them reach their goal and objectives. The mentoring program is robust and takes into account every student’s needs into consideration. It is the education that takes place outside the classroom that makes the mentees ready to take on the world. While different students have different career goals, the mentors guide the students as per their interests and their strengths towards the right career path.

 The IILM Mentoring Process

When a student joins IILM, he/she is allocated a faculty mentor. The mentor is the initial point of contact for the mentees. The mentors help the mentees in understanding the procedures of the institute and help them to settle down. The mentors stay in contact with their mentees throughout the various semesters and act as a guiding light by showing them the right path. The mentees reach out to their mentors in case of any doubts or clarifications or queries. They are always welcome to interact with their mentors during their tenure in the institute. It is during the internship and placements stage that the mentor-mentee relationship plays the most vital role.

The faculty members at IILM have seen several batches of students pass out of their respective courses and conquer the world. Many of these students are in contact with their IILM mentors and still communicate with them in case of any doubts and share their life experiences. It would therefore not be wrong to say that the mentor avatar of a teacher is a lifetime avatar.

Watch Drishti Manchanda talk about the Mentorship Programme at IILM

For more details:

Dr. Oly Mishra, Assistant Professor (Marketing)

The Many Avatars of a Teacher – A Facilitator in Learning

Teaching is a noble profession, it is often said. This is undoubtedly, true . Teachers play a crucial role in the lives of their students. At every stage of a student’s life, there is a teacher who leaves an everlasting impact on his or her mind. Such is the importance of the role of a teacher in the Indian culture that he or she is considered next only to God. While the primary job of a teacher is to impart knowledge, there are many more dimensions to what a teacher can impart to his or her students. The bond between the teacher and the student strengthens as a result of the holistic learning that a student experiences.

Changing role of Teachers:

The teacher’s role has undergone many changes with time. It has transformed from being a sage on the stage to becoming a guide on the side. The role of a teacher has now become more of a facilitator in the learning processes. As a facilitator, they encourage the students to think out of the box. This is done by providing the students with the tools to learn and creating a comfortable environment for learning.  The provision of a conducive environment to the students helps to elicit responses from them, challenge their thoughts, and ultimately extend their capacity to learn.

Requirements to be a facilitator:

The faculty members at IILM create productive classroom environments with their dynamic teaching methodologies. The aim is to inculcate and develop the skills in the students that they will need in the future. This requires proper planning and good preparation of the teacher so that they can handle any queries that may come up in the class discussion. The learning goals and outcomes are decided beforehand, for each course keeping in mind the industry norms and requirements. A detailed plan is prepared for the development of these skills sequentially. This includes the combination of online and offline resources, case studies, role plays, group activities, etc. The faculty member will make certain that the classroom sessions revolve around the material provided and give direction for the discussion. They also intervene when a necessary concept needs to be discussed.

Teacher’s Facilitator role and B-schools:

The facilitator’s role is more vibrant than any other role of a teacher as they always have to be on their toes. This helps in a stronger understanding of the concepts by giving more independence to the students in the learning process. The age-old method of one-way communication by the teacher i.e. lecturing has now made way for the facilitator role. This has implications on the way the classroom activities are designed. Effective facilitating will only be possible when the activities are less modeled and less supported. The freedom to explore and apply the concepts learned in the classroom is the need of the hour. This is all the more required in B-schools for producing managers who are ready to tackle any unforeseen event. Thus, the teacher now facilitates students to think rather than providing them ready-made knowledge. This not only prepares students to face the uncertainties in the business world but also makes the classroom sessions more interesting and lively.

How IILM keeps students motivated to learn

Motivation sooner or later fades away if it is not fed every day.

To keep one motivated requires an investment of time, effort, and energy. However, it is a worthwhile effort. In the case of students, motivation has a key role to play for achieving success in their academic goals. This is easier said than done. It is the responsibility of the teachers to ensure that the students are motivated in their academic pursuits. Teachers with great experience believe that the students are as motivated as is the teacher.

The teachers, who are passionate about their subjects, ensure that their passion rubs off their students as well. There are many ways by which the students can be kept motivated. We, here at IILM understand the importance of keeping students motivated to learn so that they enjoy the learning process.

Here are 7 key initiatives taken up by IILM to keep our students motivated are:

  • Increase involvement of students: We believe that effective learning happens when the students are involved in all the learning activities. The classes are conducted in a student-centric manner such that the teacher acts as a facilitator in the learning process.
  • Make learning enjoyable: IILM considers that learning will be effective only when it is enjoyed. Gone are the days when the students would memorize answers and score good marks in exams. We now focus on how well students interact with each other and solve real-life problems through group work. In this way, students have fun as well as learn at the same time.
  • Healthy competition: Healthy competition keeps the energy levels of the students high and they are motivated to perform better. At IILM we have noticed that students understand concepts better and retain them for a longer time when they compete with each other in classroom discussions.
  • Variations in teaching pedagogy: At IILM, the faculty members believe in using a combination of pedagogical methods like group activities, quizzes, simulation games, etc to keep the interest of the students in the various subjects. This helps them to excel in their academic pursuits.
  • Reward students: Rewards always motivate students to perform better. This holds good for students at all levels. The faculty at IILM keeps a constant track of the performance of the students from time to time and rewards them as deems
  • Give responsibility to students: Some students are motivated when they are given the responsibility of performing certain tasks. Such students are identified and handed over responsibilities like club activities, club boards, co-ordination jobs, etc.
  • Connect teaching with students’ interests: The bond between the teacher and the student has to be formed over the interest of the students. They connect over these areas of common interest. The areas of interest have also been made a part of the course curriculum in the form of content delivery. The classroom activities in IILM become more engaging and interesting for the students as they are related to the areas of students’ interest.

The motivation of the students to learn creates excitement for learning between the teachers as well as the students. It enriches the learning process and also enhances how the classroom discussions and activities take place. As times change, the ways to motivate students will undergo several changes. The mantra for motivating students, therefore, is ‘Make learning fun’.