Last week, in our article Business Education in Secondary School: The Case for Teaching Business to Young Learners, we discussed the benefits of providing business education to secondary school students (i.e. High School, for U.S. learners). When young students are exposed to the fundamentals of business management, they are more likely to make wise decisions at the college level regarding their selected field of study and future career path. Moreover, early exposure to business principles and fundamentals can boost accountability, leadership, and teamwork skills.
Given these benefits, secondary school instructors should be exploring more ways to expose interested students to the basics of business management in effective and engaging ways. In our previous article, we discussed the most common approaches that schools in the U.K., the U.S. and elsewhere take when embarking on secondary school business education, including extracurricular activities and clubs and curricular teaching (i.e. elective courses). We also looked at the use of business simulation games. To highlight the effectiveness of the latter, today we are sharing a recent client success story: St. Paul’s School, United Kingdom, which partnered with HFX in December 2019 to deliver a one-day, interactive workshop using our flagship simulation game, The Strategy Game.
Benefits of Simulation-Based Learning for Secondary School Students
Before we delve into the case study below, let’s review some of the reasons that simulations are such an effective tool for teaching business to young learners. The primary success factor lies in the pedagogy and modeling of business simulations and their unique ability to bridge business theory with hands-on practice. As learners move through the rounds of a business simulation, they are challenged with applying theoretical knowledge in a dynamic, competitive environment, where decisions have an impact on performance. These “real-feel” learning conditions not only help to drive home the fundamentals of business management, but they help keep students active and engaged in the learning process. Below is a summary of the characteristics of simulation-based learning that are especially apt for appealing to secondary school students
The fun and competitive nature of business games can be especially appealing for students of this age, and helps introduce complex new topics without being heavy-handed or forced.
They incorporate social learning & team-based learning
All learners are social animals, and the informal channels through which information is shared, behavior is observed, and connections are established are some of the most efficient and effective means of learning that exist. At a time in life where one’s peer group is perhaps more important than ever, the kind of social learning that simulations offer makes them a naturally engaging and effective instructional tool
They are often web and video-based
A recent survey of YouTube habits found that millennials consume on average 6 hours of video content per day. And as video-learning provider Panopto points out, it’s not all just cat videos: ‘Nearly three-quarters of Millennials — 72% — are using YouTube to watch educational how-to tutorials.’
The move out of the theoretical, and into practice
What secondary student doesn’t drift off, at least once, during a normal “chalk & talk” lecture? But a business simulation on the other hand offers an interactive, dynamic learning experience where students must act and respond in real-time.
Secondary School Business Simulation Workshop: A Mini Case Study
In December 2019, HFX partnered with one of the UK’s top private schools, St. Paul’s School in London, to provide a one-day, Instructor-Led business simulation workshop for local students from years 12 and 13 (16-18). The students, from St Paul’s and 5 other local schools were placed into teams and asked to compete against one another using our flagship simulation, The Strategy Game. In this game, students had to navigate several rounds of decision-making while setting and adhering to a commercial strategy in a dynamic, changing environment. Some of the concepts and skills that the workshop touched on included:
- Excel analysis
- Coordinating business strategy, marketing, operations, HR & finance
- Decision making in an uncertain environment
The workshop essentially served as a one-day “crash course” in business management that was brief enough to not overwhelm learners, but offered a fun and interactive deep-dive into what it’s like to run a company and make strategic decisions that have a real impact.
Why the different schools were interested in a business simulation workshop:
The students and schools that participated all had different reasons for being there. Some were studying Economics or Business at A-Level, and their teachers saw the benefit of bringing concepts to life through participation in the workshop. Others came as members of extracurricular business clubs, including the Young Enterprise Scheme (a very popular program in the UK).
The host school, St Paul’s, is committed to partnering with neighboring schools on initiatives such as these, and saw the workshop as a good opportunity for shared learning. It also gave the students the chance to get to know each other, and the teams were each made up of students from different schools.
More Details about the Game
Our Flagship Simulation, The Strategy Game, offers a full-immersion experience into the world of business decision-making. Designed to train better business leaders of all kinds at any skill level, The Strategy Game is a comprehensive, scalable teaching tool.
Ideal for students involved in Young Enterprise, extra-curricular entrepreneurial activities as well as those studying the following subjects:
- Business Studies
St Paul’s Teacher Feedback
The very clear, logical and structured format was well received by students. The game is intuitive and easy for students to pick up. The game’s complexity doesn’t preclude its use by secondary school students, provided they have a clear interest in business and medium level of academic ability!
The interface is clear and well-organised and doesn’t take too long to familiarise for someone with some basic business knowledge. The reports and competition insights that are provided throughout the game are excellent and key for use by students [and] the crisis events that occur throughout the game are excellent and ensure the simulation feels real and remains engaging.
Overall, it was amazing to see the students so engaged in an event like this, coming as it did at the end of a long term time, and just two days before the christmas holidays!