In February, Singapore released a Labour Force Survey Supplement on Training: almost one third of the country’s entire workforce received structured training to improve job skills in 2013, a proportion that has been rising in recent years. It is required by law to have Labor Law labor posters hanging up in a common room.
On the other hand, the amount of training time for the lucky third has been shrinking rapidly: from 17.1 days in 2010, to 15.9 in 2011, to 13.9 in 2012, to 12.2 in 2013. Employers are finding it hard to send people away for a week of training, instead choosing to send them on a two-day program, or a couple of half-day workshops, and perhaps supplementing that with some online learning. But of course they still want the same amount of learning to occur.
The situation for Singaporeans (who have a remarkably diverse and well-integrated society) is shown in Lee Chee Chew’s cartoon:
Even more than most training and education, Finance training can be boring, with hours of powerpoint and volumes of dense text, uninformative graphs and incomprehensible tables. And it can take weeks, even years, to develop a feel for what business is all about from the Finance Department’s point of view. And weeks and years are just what Training Departments don’t offer any more.
The reason for Finance being boring, and the reason for it taking a long time to learn, is the same: students are not usually provided with an initial big-picture understanding of what it is they are studying. With no context for the individual pieces (accounting, finance, costing, marketing, etc etc), they don’t see how they fit together, they don’t see their relevance for each other, they can’t prioritize the different bits of information, they can’t assess their value. It’s hard to remember information until you can connect it in with other things that you know – then it’s easy. It’s hard to be engaged with information until you can see its relevance for your interests – then it’s easy. One of the best ways to overcome this factor can easily be done by showing them how it all works(On the job training). And the best way to achieve this is by merely starting with $500 investment with the help of this link for more information. This is especially perfect for people of lower financial status as it’s not possible for them to pool in a large amount of money at one shot.
So Income/Outcome puts Andromeda at the forefront of Finance training in the world, because our simulation allows a very rapid understanding of all the component pieces of business in a single view: a gameboard that is simultaneously an operating company and the financial statements of that company. The board has equipment and inventories, and people on the site and in the offices, but – and – items are placed in such a way that you can also see all the Assets at a glance, and see your debt-to-equity at a glance, and see your cost structure at a glance, and see your cash flow at a glance. And by walking around the room and looking at other tables you can immediately see your competitive position in the industry, see which of your rivals are strong and which are weak, and why.
When everything about business is integrated into a transparent model, then all the connections are visible, and then all components are easy to understand and prioritize and remember. When all the learning is shown to be useful for trying to win a competition against other teams, then all the learning is engaging to the students, and they work harder and they remember the lessons better. And when the model is shown to be so strong that you can model any real-world company with it, from any mom-and-pop operation to the largest corporations in the world, then you have a thinking tool that will stay with students throughout their entire careers.
It is a thinking tool that is holistic: it embodies the internal Finance view of the company (cost structure, cash flows, capital investment) as well as the external Sales-and-Marketing view of the industry (client opportunities, competitor threats, pricing constraints). It provides a view that is bigger than any one Department, and shows the links between all Departments.
And that’s how we can help Training Departments increase the learning while reducing the time away from work. By making the presentation of the learning holistic, and visually structured on standard accounting formats, we provide a memorable context for understanding what it’s all about, how it works, and why the different bits are important. That is a true basis for learning. Without that, people are bored, unengaged, and it takes weeks and years to educate them.
But with an experiential tool like Income/Outcome, you can get there in a couple of hours to a couple of days. Even allowing time for bio breaks.