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Getting the Most from Classroom Simulations: Strategies for Maximizing Learning Outcomes
Unformatted Document Text:  Observer The most important role of the instructor during the exercise is to monitor the simulation to identify issues and problems as they arise, to intercede if necessary and to collect material for the post-simulation debriefing. Regardless of any other roles the instructor may be engaged in during the simulation, this is the one role that the instructor must always take. By following the exercise as it unfolds, the instructor is able to provide useful input for students and provide advice when asked. More than this, however, the instructor can take advantage of "teachable moments" as they arise. For example, in the event that a team's strategy has proven unsuccessful you can assist that team to reflect on events and adjust their approach during the exercise. A quick response in these cases can prevent a team from unnecessarily taking the role of spoiler or simply withdrawing ("checking out") from the exercise early. Some other considerations for instructors are to monitor communications styles and the application of course content. Bringing in specific examples will enrich the debriefing process, serving as concrete examples of how teams were or were not successful. In addition, occasional interventions may be appropriate to reinforce course goals or provide encouragement to student teams. Instructor involvement during the simulation will emphasize the importance of the exercise as well, keeping students focused and minimizing temptations for free riding within the group. Finally, for longer exercises it is useful to provide time for students to meet in their teams to discuss their progress and address obstacles that may have arisen in the simulation. This can be done in class or by encouraging students to do so outside of class, even if it means meeting virtually through IM or a class forum. Some ways of encouraging them to do so are requiring a written summary of their meeting or an online transcript, or even setting aside time during office hours to meet with their group. Post-Simulation Once the simulation has ended, it is the role of the instructor to tie the experience to the course content as closely as possible. The debriefing process is in many ways the most important piece of the entire process, as it is the piece that connects the student-driven active learning component back to the instructor-designed course content and learning objectives. Provided that you chose a simulation that connects with your course content and were engaged during the exercise itself, you should be able to construct a debriefing process that emphasizes your learning objectives in a clear and powerful manner. It is important to note that the post-simulation period is referred to here as a process (rather than a discrete event or activity) in order to emphasize that it should be seen as more than just a single element. The group format and interactivity of simulations presents multiple layers of complexity that can be unpacked and utilized for 11

Authors: Wedig, Tim.
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Observer
The most important role of the instructor during the exercise is to monitor the
simulation to identify issues and problems as they arise, to intercede if necessary and to
collect material for the post-simulation debriefing. Regardless of any other roles the
instructor may be engaged in during the simulation, this is the one role that the instructor
must always take. By following the exercise as it unfolds, the instructor is able to
provide useful input for students and provide advice when asked. More than this,
however, the instructor can take advantage of "teachable moments" as they arise. For
example, in the event that a team's strategy has proven unsuccessful you can assist that
team to reflect on events and adjust their approach during the exercise. A quick response
in these cases can prevent a team from unnecessarily taking the role of spoiler or simply
withdrawing ("checking out") from the exercise early.
Some other considerations for instructors are to monitor communications styles
and the application of course content. Bringing in specific examples will enrich the
debriefing process, serving as concrete examples of how teams were or were not
successful. In addition, occasional interventions may be appropriate to reinforce course
goals or provide encouragement to student teams. Instructor involvement during the
simulation will emphasize the importance of the exercise as well, keeping students
focused and minimizing temptations for free riding within the group.
Finally, for longer exercises it is useful to provide time for students to meet in
their teams to discuss their progress and address obstacles that may have arisen in the
simulation. This can be done in class or by encouraging students to do so outside of
class, even if it means meeting virtually through IM or a class forum. Some ways of
encouraging them to do so are requiring a written summary of their meeting or an online
transcript, or even setting aside time during office hours to meet with their group.
Post-Simulation
Once the simulation has ended, it is the role of the instructor to tie the experience
to the course content as closely as possible. The debriefing process is in many ways the
most important piece of the entire process, as it is the piece that connects the student-
driven active learning component back to the instructor-designed course content and
learning objectives. Provided that you chose a simulation that connects with your course
content and were engaged during the exercise itself, you should be able to construct a
debriefing process that emphasizes your learning objectives in a clear and powerful
manner.
It is important to note that the post-simulation period is referred to here as a
process (rather than a discrete event or activity) in order to emphasize that it should be
seen as more than just a single element. The group format and interactivity of
simulations presents multiple layers of complexity that can be unpacked and utilized for
11


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