Online learning is not a stopgap solution, often even didactically more sustainable
Already since 2002 we have been conducting purely online management trainings with the Business Simulation MARGA, and as our experience shows, web-based learning has many strengths, especially from a didactic point of view. Surprised? Then find out why here:
In online business simulations, participants work as a team through several consecutive periods, such as fiscal years. For each period, they often have a time frame of several days to deal with the content of the decisions to be made during the period. This decision-making process is complex and introduces the participants to the topics which we want to convey with our management training, for example, reading balance sheets, understanding controlling or implementing competitive strategies.
Learning requires time, especially regarding complex management topics
The participants weigh up the arguments, discuss them in a team and get online support for open questions from their tutors. In this respect, we have an intensive learning process taking place here. Since in this case, the trains of thought are not interrupted, as for instance caused through a change of period before the lunch break in an in-class seminar. Rather, an intensive thinking and learning process can be taken up and continued over a period of several days until all aspects have been understood and the arguments have been weighed up. This decision-making process, and thus the actual learning, is controlled independently by the participants.
An adapted schedule, which sometimes stretches the entire learning process over several months, thus gives the participants the opportunity to deal with the topics more in depth and, above all, over a longer period of time. Learnt content that would otherwise be quickly forgotten is now needed regularly in each period of the simulation like a toolbox, discussed in the team and finally applied actively. This means that participants in an online business simulation remember the learning content significantly longer.
Game-based Learning and Social Learning - two natural learning methods
Two further points are now important for a sustainable learning success: your own motivation to learn and individual support from tutors. The format of a business simulation, a management game, is more suitable for motivating people than any other learning instrument. It is our natural desire to learn in in a playful manner and to be able to try out the coherences together with others, keyword 'social learning'. Business simulation are thus a transfer of natural learning methods to the management sector.
Tutoring ist im Online-Format einer Business Simulation ein kritischer Erfolgsfaktor, denn die Teilnehmenden können nur lernen, was sie verstehen. Anders als in Präsenz-Trainings erarbeiten sie sich viele Themenbereiche selbstständig, und da ist es wichtig, im Hintergrund jederzeit auf kompetente Online-Tutoren zurückgreifen zu können, die mit den Teilnehmenden zeitnah und individuell Fragen besprechen und Zusammenhänge aufzeigen, die sich auf ihre spezifische Entscheidungssituation beziehen.
In the online format of a business simulation, tutoring is a critical success factor, because participants can only learn what they understand. In contrast to a face-to-face training, they work on many topics independently, and therefore it is important to have competent and skilled online tutors in the background at all times, who can discuss questions with the participants promptly and individually and point out connections that relate to their specific decision-making situation.
All these aspects lead to the fact that participants of an online business simulation deal with the corporate success factors of a company and the related management tasks more carefully and soundly than in an in-class seminar.
Besides didactic advantages, which in this case are the main focus, there are the well-known logistical arguments: There is no need for travel and of course many participants can be involved in an exciting learning experience at the same time. Above all, It is also easy to form interculturally composed teams, which in our experience enriches the learning experience enormously.
Despite many advantages there are objections to consider
The learning process in online formats is not protected by means of a seminar room. Rather, web-based learning is usually integrated into workaday life and thus subject to disturbances of all kinds. Clearly reserved and communicated time slots offer a way out. After all, self-management is also a learning content in online business simulations. Often, commitment to other team members also helps to build up the necessary self-discipline.
Behavior-oriented trainings need the direct (eye) contact between trainer and participants as well as between the participants themselves. This is where online formats reach their limits. With MARGA we also take up the topic 'Team & Leadership', but we do this only in face-to-face sessions.
In summary, from a didactical point of view, an online business simulation offers an extraordinarily intensive and sustainable learning experience compared to a face-to-face training, especially because the participants have more time at their disposal. As a result, the learning content is still remembered after many years.
Dr. Christoph Heinen
Tel.: +49 2235 406 312
One team, six people on four different continents and one decision to make - it is just great which possibilities we have today.
Finalist Anna-Lena Schulz, Volkswagen AG
As a part of my international MARGA team, I experienced how efficient and inspiring virtual teamwork can be. The perfect supplement to digital learning.’
Finalist Sandor Acs, Robert Bosch GmbH