Academic Model: Simulation as part of the teaching method
12 janeiro 2024
Carlos Búrcio is a guest lecturer on the Marketing Management degree course at IPAM Lisbon and talks about the complex simulation project carried out with 2nd year students.

The Simulation-based Learning (SBL) project - Café Owner on the verge of a Nervous Attack - took place in all the 2nd year classes in the Pricing Management CU.

A situation diagnosis process was simulated, similar to the one that will take place in professional practice: the coffee shop manager (played by a professional actress) is looking for a price consultant/analyst (played by a student) to help her solve her business's problem. The main objective of this particular SBL was to develop the ability to diagnose the situation.

The scenario used was an analyst/consultant's office, where the simulation took place, and an observation area where the other students in the class could watch without interfering. The simulation session was preceded by a briefing explaining the objective, followed by a de-briefing.

Simulation, combined with a topical story that is easy to identify with the topic being explored, allows students to experience real, complex situations where they have to make decisions and deal with the consequences. This gives them a greater understanding of the practical application of the knowledge they have acquired, as well as the opportunity to develop problem-solving and effective communication skills.

The use of professional actors in the role of clients brings an element of authenticity to the simulation, making it closer to reality. Actors can bring a more realistic perspective to the difficulties and challenges that professionals face, which enriches the students' experience. As for the students, in the role of experts, as well as making it possible to operationalize concepts, it seems to bring added motivation to both the student volunteer and the group, highlighting in a way the importance of specialization and their role in society as professionals.

SBL is not just about the simulation itself, but also about the process of reflection and analysis that takes place afterwards, enhancing student learning, making it, in my view, the most relevant technique in the pedagogical model's toolkit. Of particular note is the de-briefing, the process of analysis and discussion moderated by the teacher, which, in a way, leads to the effective integration of the experiences, linking them to the contents of the Units.

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