People have different learning styles. Not everyone thinks visually, although most people do. This is important for game developers like Andromeda Simulations to remember, because we specialize in the visual display of information. But we also have to pay attention to the needs of non-visual thinkers.
There is a small percentage of the population who cannot form pictures in their head with their eyes closed. Ask them to picture a beach and they can tell you what components a picture of a beach should have – waves, sand, a palm tree, or whatever – but they cannot “see” it in their mind’s eye. This condition is called aphantasia.
I know a woman who has no memories from her childhood. I used to suspect that traumatic events had caused her to blank it out. However it turns out that she has aphantasia – she simply doesn’t visualize things mentally. Although she remembers perfectly well what happened in her life, she doesn’t have mental photographs or videos of her life. She remembers the concepts and ideas, but not visually. She reports that she dreams visually, but the visual memories disappear even as she comes awake. This is hard for me to understand, because I think visually, but it is actually comparatively common among all types of engineers.
The Income|Outcome business simulation makes it easy to understand business finance, by making a team sport of the management of the financial statements of a business. How is this possible? Through the visual display of financial reporting – Income Statement or P&L, plus Balance Sheet – as separate areas on a gameboard. Every decision that teams make, every action they take, involves the movement of tokens that represent assets like materials and equipment, liabilities like bank loans and vendor debt, as well as costs and expenses and equity. This allows a visual overview of the financial working of a business, and an understanding of the interrelationship of profit (on the Income Statement) and cash flow (on the Balance Sheet).
Non-visual learning styles
But the classroom environment also has to allow for participants with different thinking and learning styles. At Andromeda Training we are proud that our games involve active learning. Participants are involved not just visually, but also through their auditory, tactile and kinesthetic senses. The simulation creates a strong sense of reality by having participants touch, move and hear the metal coins and wooden pieces, not merely seeing them.
Other strengths of the simulation are the discussions for the team decision-making and the excitement of the head-to-head competition in the marketplace. The open-ended decision-making in turn leads to responsibility for team results and a sense of ownership of the simulation activities. All of this leads to very rapid, powerful and enjoyable learning of what is otherwise a dry subject: business finance.
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