Action learning, learning by doing, is the most effective form of training a company can deploy. Instead of remembering facts or processes, students perform real tasks, employing both the knowledge and the method as they do. It is the difference between reading the manual and building the machine. It is experience over information.
It is very, very effective. It is also costly and time-consuming so, up to now, it has been the preserve of the senior executives in large corporations.
But not for long, perhaps. PRIME is a European project that seeks to make action learning cheaper, more accessible, more flexible and powerful. PRIME researchers are developing a software platform that uses serious game techniques to let users see the impact of their decisions in a virtual environment.
“The aim is for the user to gain experience by experimenting in a risk-free environment,” explains Bjorn Andersen, project coordinator of PRIME.
The platform consists of two elements, a Virtual Business Environment (VBE) and PRIME-Time, a workplace integration module. The VBE is a serious game that consists of a “micro world” where a number of users can interact with the software and between themselves. The platform is an approximation of reality based on a simulation model that controls the macro-economic and micro-economic dimensions of the micro world.
“So a business might decide to launch a new product, or recall an old one, and that will affect many actors, from suppliers to retailers,” remarks Andersen. “It will also affect a number of factors, like transport, inventory and so on.”
The virtual business environment tracks the impact of these changes in real time, so users can see the effect of their actions.
Users gain experience that is transferable to the real world, in a similar manner to flight simulators used by pilots. Airline pilots, for example, train to handle situations they will almost never meet in real life. But if one does occur, they are ready to respond appropriately. “PRIME does the same thing for business,” reveals Andersen.
But VBE is not a decision-support tool per se. The aim is not to achieve realistic simulation, but to provide an alternate reality where experience is gained.Ready for PRIME-Time?
PRIME offers a scenario for their platforms. For instance, executive Bob is drinking his morning coffee when he gets a lead on a sales contract. He boots up the Virtual Business Environment using his PDA and simulates various offers and their effects on production, inventory, shipping and so on.
He then contacts the client and negotiates a contract informed by his experience with the VBE. They agree on terms, hang up, and Bob continues drinking his coffee. Here, PRIME has become part of the workflow, accelerating the acquisition of experience.
This is not the first serious game for businessmen, but it is unique because it can apply to any business. Even more important it can accommodate multiple players.
“It is not tailored to a specific business, because that gets into simulation, and that’s difficult and needs to be customised,” Andersen notes. “Instead, it is modelled on principles and how the business model works.”
The platform is complete and currently the game is in testing among six end-user partners, though students who pre-tested PRIME said it boosted their educational experience. Right now, the game is quite complex, and difficult to learn, and Andersen believes it would need more development to make it ready for the commercial market. “We didn’t realise how complex it would be and we used some development tools, like Java, that we wouldn’t perhaps use again. It was a tough problem, and still we didn’t do everything we would like to have done, such as more complex consumer modelling with demographics.”
“We get the end-user evaluations in January and, in the meantime, there are discussions with software companies and training companies about possibly commercialising the product, but how far that will go is difficult to tell,” Andersen reveals.
Christian Nielsen | alfa
Fraunhofer FIT announces CloudTeams collaborative software development platform – join it for free
10.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Electron-photon small-talk could have big impact on quantum computing
23.12.2016 | Princeton University
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration
"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...
Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.
Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
16.01.2017 | Trade Fair News
16.01.2017 | Automotive Engineering
16.01.2017 | Life Sciences