What was originally planned as a face-to-face gathering in Brussels (Belgium) turned into a free webinar for professors and L&D professionals. The theme was about learning with a business simulation game and the multiple opportunities of that method.
Why we moved our event online
Like it or not, COVID19 has generated a good deal of undesired outcomes: from improvised, last-minute home office adaptation to events cancellations, the pandemic has pushed organizations (and their people) to quickly find creative solutions to their new, and not so new, challenges.
As part of our desire to share with you our brand-new online simulation, MEGA Learning decided to set up a few events over the year 2020, in combination with our regular attendance at EURAM and AOM, to enable HR teams, Learning/Development professionals and academics to meet and discuss the benefits and applications of game-based learning experiences in their course curriculum or training offer. Rather than a salesy, sit-and-listen feeling, it’s a moment of sharing and inspiration that we intended to create among participants of the event.
We booked a venue, sent out invitations and contacted all stakeholders, providing them with date and location so they could book their flight/hotel. Yet, you know what happened next: a global pandemic was announced, and lockdown regulations were gradually unrolled across Europe (and later, the world).
Disappointment was our first emotion, though it quickly turned into curiosity and excitement – lockdown doesn’t mean a total stop of activities, it means that as organizations, we need to prove more adaptable than ever to sustain our clients’ businesses and have their back. True, organizations sent their employees home and business schools required their students to stay confined, yet everyone is aware of the power of virtual and our tech-savviness as humans is improving by the year, which makes us capable to quickly shift to other tools to at least try to keep ‘business as usual’.
Introduction to our online business simulation games
Luckily, our new simulations are designed for online facilitation. They are not just adapted for remoteness, it is in their DNA! The Customer Value Challenge operates on intuitive participant and facilitator interfaces, and builds on theoretical material – completely online – to help you integrate the game into your curriculum or training offer and MEGA Learning’s support all along.
We also had a very recent illustration of the operability of the system, as we ran in March an 8-round, 2-day program at IDRAC Business School, with close to 700 students working from home, organized in 140 virtual teams across France. Those are big numbers, and we were able to manage it thanks to the organization’s teaching team, which we had trained (online) to facilitate the game beforehand. Reviews were excellent, engagement was felt at all levels: teams, professors, and among our internal consultants!
Besides, our trainers are used to remote formats, both in company and business school environments, thanks to our experience as global business simulations developers and providers.
Discussion around business simulations as engagement enablers
Coming back to the event, our point shifted from ‘how beneficial experiential learning in the form of a business simulation can be for your workforce or students’ to ‘how relevant business simulations are to keep your students and employees engaged, foster a team spirit remotely, while instilling knowledge that improves stakeholders’ understanding of how a company is operated’.
Our April 28 event ‘Learning with a Business Simulation’, which went from a one-day format to a two-hour format, had to integrate such successful stories, and include this sensible balance between relevant content and engaging experience. For that matter, we stripped down some of the points we originally wanted to address and focused on a few central points, to reflect the diversity of experiences and content that make us a unique simulation provider:
Prof. Lorraine Uhlaner (EDHEC) introduced her application of our Human Capital Challenge simulation into her ‘Organization performance for consultants: assessment and improvement’ course.
Ramesh Fatania (Leadership trainer) explained how the use of a business simulation game could benefit leadership development programs, as they invite participants to test and improve their leadership skills.
Prof. Philippe Zarlowski (ESCP Europe) addressed the various simulations from MEGA Learning that have been used over the years and how they participated in creating a bonding and efficient learning experience among students
Two hours is short, but it was worth it – we noticed participants asking questions, giving their opinion about the content we presented – and icing on the cake was the contest that we started following the webinar: participants were given the possibility to play the game over the next 4 weeks, both to have a taster, and also to follow our new all-online train-the-trainer program. Once they ‘graduate’, they will be able to facilitate the Customer Value Challenge themselves.
Conclusions of the webinar
To conclude, the unexpected turn of events pushed us to focus on areas of our activities that could benefit organizations, such as companies and business schools, in maintaining their L&D efforts or in being able to keep teaching. Our ‘Learning with a Business Simulation’ event, originally planned to be face-to-face, was made virtual and shortened to two-hours, but the outcome of it – participants exchanging viewpoints, inspiring guest speakers and an inspiring contest – exceeded by far our expectations. These expectations are to make our Business Simulations known to L&D professionals and academics, who are seeking to innovate and help those learning to acquire relevant skills for their career.