Sim Tips Videos – Seeing (a business simulation) is Believing

When you have a question about PowerPoint or Excel, or even about how to change the oil in your car, where do you go to get the answer – YouTube, or to the 100-page user manual in 8-point font sitting on your bookshelf?

If you’re like most people, you’re a visual learner and you go to YouTube, steering well clear of your dusty and neglected bookshelf.  And in 2-minutes or less, you’ll probably learn all you need to know.  Plus, you’ll get to watch some cool new mindless ads along the way…

Since 65% of the population are visual learners, you should be using videos as one of the learning modes for your business simulation classes.  Seeing is believing, and a quick video-demo of a simulation speaks louder than written words – especially when the words are written in 8-point font.

At PriSim, we incorporate visual learning at several points throughout our business simulation courses to augment our written material.

  1. A video-demo of the simulation as part of the prework assigned for the class. We also deliver a live overview demo at the start of the class and a shorter, live 2nd demo after the first competitive round to show how a team would execute on a strategic objective using the simulation.
  2. Focused “Sim Tip” videos that highlight a single specific dynamic or action within the simulation. The videos are posted on the class portal for virtual classes, and for live classes are embedded as links within the simulation.
  3. Videos of our lectures and boardgames that participants can access after the class is over as a review and refresher on the content.

While we’ve found all of these video approaches valuable to participants in our classes, the brief Sim Tip videos are the newest approach we’ve used, and the feedback we’ve received has been very positive.  Here are a few best-practices that we use at PriSim when we make our Sim Tip videos.

  1. Let questions be your guide. It will be fairly easy to identify what specific topic and content your Sim Tip videos should cover.  Think of a question you get over and over in your classes, and cover the answer in a short video.
  2. Keep them short and focused entirely on one specific area, dynamic, or action/decision within the simulation. Aim for 2-3 minutes for each video, and keep them moving.  Only make them longer if absolutely necessary due to the complexity of the topic or dynamic.  Participants want to quickly learn and then get after it, so don’t stray from the core point you want to make.  Your screen-capture program’s trim function will allow cutting and editing those long-winded points you might make as well as those inevitable “um” and “uh” moments.
  3. Don’t be redundant. The videos should cover new content that’s best shown visually, not a rehash of what’s already in the manual/case study guide or that’s better suited there.  If it’s in the manual, don’t put it in the Sim Tip.
  4. Parse them out during the class. Distribute the Sim Tips in alignment with the flow of the agenda and what participants are grappling with at step along the way.  For virtual classes, post them on your class portal as you progress through the agenda; at a live class unveil links to the videos on the simulation’s banner screen as you progress round-by-round.
  5. Remind participants to watch them. And then remind them again…  Participants may feel like these are just “one more thing to do” during a time-constrained simulation-round, but once they see the gain they’ll get with very little pain, they’ll come around.
  6. Produce the videos using screen capture software. We record our computer screen and voice using TechSmith’s Camtasia software and a Jabra mic, but there are many other software packages available that allow screen-capture videos.

Of course, people will have different preferences in accessing content, and often there’s no substitute for a written user manual.  Ideally, you should utilize several modes of learning – videos, written documents, and live demonstrations and coaching.

Figuring out a business simulation is hard.  But a few well-placed short videos can go a long way to get participants headed in the right direction.  Take a tip from us and use Sim Tip videos as a “force multiplier” in your business simulation courses.

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