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The use of lecture, handout, case studies, coaching, and other methods are very common for the training purposes. Each of the method has its own specific usage and yet it also consists of its limitation. Business games are different from the traditional training method and it has now shown to be a valuable and enjoyable teaching tool. They allow the participant to be involved directly instead of just hearing or reading how to do something (Gilgeous, D'cruz, 1996).
According to Fortmüller 2009, business game is one of the most important methods to acquire technical and problem-related knowledge. With the adequate set up, business games able to be a practical teaching-learning arrangement that combine both the natural predisposition of the players with planned and directed knowledge acquirement. Under a suitable learning condition together with an appropriate structure and dynamic of games, the player would be able to acquire new skills and knowledge. However, it is not possible to include all knowledge and skills into one game. Therefore, it would be the best to carry out several games instead of one.
There are few business games that are famous among UPM students such as L'Oréal Brandstorm and OSK Investment challenge. These games gave the students a good opportunity to take on the role as a marketing brand manager or learn more about the capital market to put their knowledge to test.
Although using games as a tool for training purpose may sound attractive, but there are also few negatives consequences from it. Therefore, it should always be remember that there is no single tool is perfect and extremely effective.
2.0 Advantages of business game:
With globalization growing rapidly and advancement of technologies, more organizations are using computer based simulations instead of the traditional board games used for business training. Although times have changed, business games are still a preferred tool in training employees. The various advantages of business games ability to simulate the whole organization provide a better perspective than other training methods.
2.1 Real world experience
The advantage of business games is that it provides hands-on experience in business related practices and problem solving from the real world. It is designed to let participants experience real job requirements in order to prepare them for the future. Participants are given real business scenarios and will try to solve the various problems using the knowledge that they possess and the new training input. As players get to face challenges from the business world, they will be able to acquire better understanding about the real world job requirements. According to Fortmuller, (2007), repetitive actions through a certain activity will lead to the gain of skills known as procedural knowledge. By exposing real situations to employees, they will be able to improve themselves.
2.2 Improve leadership and management skills
Participants in business games will be able to hone their skills to a higher degree after repeatedly playing the game (Gonen, Brill, & Frank, 2009). Because business game involves constant interacting with group members and solving problems using suitable strategies, an employee's leadership and management skills will improve. Participants will experience the real world emotions through the business game when interacting and coordinating among fellow group members. Building bonds and expending networks with people can be a good side effect from business games as it will be useful in the future. Employees will be given the chance to lead teams and manage projects through the simulation of real world business which ultimately improves their performances.
2.3 Faster learning time
The advantage of business game is that it can provide multiple training in a short period of time for the participant. By compressing time, the participants of business games will learn at a faster rate compared to normal training methods. By taking part in business games, participants can learn, apply and adapt at the same time, thus shortening the time of learning. The compressed topics intended for learning will be absorbed easily by the participants as they can physically and psychologically experience it.
2.4 Enjoyable way of learning
Another advantage of business game is that it encourages active learning among the participants. With their high involvement rate in the business game, it encourages learning compared to passive involvement. As business game creates a fun and laidback atmosphere, participants will embrace the training program willingly and thus increases the success of the training (Gilgeous & D'Cruz, 1996). Business game helps to lower the perceived threat level of a participant which later creates a clearer picture of the intended outcome. Participants will also more creative as the informal environment makes it okay for making mistakes.
Improve memory retention
Business games also have the advantage of retaining information and memory learnt by participants. The information of the training are easily absorbed and remembered by participants, this is because real business situation are presented in an exhilarating way. When participants are given the opportunity to practice analytical techniques in a comfortable and supporting environment, they will improve memory detainment by 70%. Through constant feedback from decisions made, participants will be able to improve learning as they learn from their mistakes. Using business game as a training tool will boost the memory of participants as feedback through successful or non-successful decisions made.
3.0 Disadvantages of business game:
Since business game gives the company so many advantages, it may seem like the obvious way Reason to choose this training method compared to the rest. However, no training method is perfect and business games also have some setbacks.
3.1 Oversimplifications of reality
A disadvantage of business game is that the game scenario is just modified from the model of reality. The learning outcome is hard to measure from the contribution of business game training method because simulation alone cannot accurately represent the real world which has more challenges and changes. The business game lacks verisimilitude for the player to learn true experience.
3.2 Limitation of learning effectiveness
Meanwhile, another drawback for business games would be oversimplification of the business world compared to the real world; which is more complex to model accurately and this may limit potential learning. Business game is regarded as an educational medium but it has limitations in learning effectiveness, (Stainton, Johnson, & Borodzicz, 2010). This is because the game only chooses some aspect and phenomena from reality which can be limiting the players' area to discover the knowledge and skills into consideration in the game scenario.
3.3 Player's decision lack of responsibility
Moreover, the players might lack responsibility for their decisions which are made in the simulation game because the game's outcomes do not affect the real situation of a player or other people. For instance, a player's financial situation in the game do not influence the players' financial in the real world. So, the players might not take it seriously on the decision making in the business game.
Designing a valid and reliable business game is costly. The costs include designing a high quality model of business game, materials, finding qualification designers and facilitators. The simulation implementation needs to be designed as well and suggest several considerations, (Stainton et al., 2010). At the same time, designing a high quality model and implementing the business game with validity and reliability is problematic, which might cost the organization millions in expenses. There are many considering essential criteria such as complexity and realism of representation, depth of content, and method of implementation, (Stainton et al., 2010). On the other hand, finding the qualification facilitators also is a challenge because the companies have to pay extra to trainer hire qualification facilitators so that they can give the right directions and instructions to control the situation with strategically and effectively toward achievement of a desired goal (Kato, 2010).
3.5 Di¬€er signi¬cantly of participants' behaviors and poses in real life
Participants may act different from their behaviors in real life. Additional, they might not get involved in training games fully and lacking attention in the game will lead to breaking rules which might cost the objective of the training.
3.6 Game is consider as an entertainment than as education
Most the participants of the business game are mature people and it is hard to control their perception of the business game as mere fun and fad than learning; this can be compromise the result of educational validity. Sometimes business game has been used to fill time and do not bring out any value outcomes. So, this factor can lead to wasteful of money and time for the companies who have to spend unnecessary cost.
Running a business game requires no specific condition. It can be a simple board game or a professionally constructed simulation game. Although business game can be one of the simplest to implement and cost effective, the result from the kind of business game may differ. Thus, to determine which conditions used we should refer to the following procedure.
First, determine the problem that an organization face and identify the objectives that wish to be accomplished. One of the ways to determine the goals of the training can be done through the Training Need Analysis. It will help to find out who need which type of training and under what condition.
Next is choosing the most suitable business game based on the objectives to maximize the learning outcome among employees. The business game chosen may be simple as long as it can support the intended training objectives. By selecting a suitable game that can meet the objective and consider the possible constrain such as budget, place setting, and method, it will let the organization train employees in the wanted areas.
After choosing what kind of business game, the organization has to apply it. The correct implementation will also affect the outcome of the training program. Although the right method of training is chosen, poor organization and weak enforcement may comprehend the effect of the business game. Monitoring the game process and ensuring it achieves the objective requires good implementation.
The final step in carrying out a business game is evaluation. Evaluation is important because it determines whether the business game succeeds in achieving the objectives. The training of employees will be evaluated to gauge the effectiveness of the business game conducted. The use of Donald Kirkpatrick's evaluation model is used to evaluate the outcome of the game. If the outcome is not favor then it has to change certain condition of the game.
In conclusion, it is not easy to conduct a successful business game as it needs a lot of effort from the company to create an effective game. The most effective games to users must be those able to maintain interest, effective, teach a concept and enjoyable (Gilgeous et al., 1996). Beside that it should also be develop based on the company's business environment and strategy.