This game follows a learning loop.

  • Assess (results of your teams strategy in the report)
  • Design (a new strategy)
  • Implement (take decisions)
  • Observe (the new annual report)

This repeats itself for a number of rounds. Because of the learning loop, this game is specifically oriented for higher education and very well received in master programs and business trainings.

Experiential learning theory is the school of thought that best accommodates these two aspects of learning. One of the theorists associated with this school is Lewin, whose learning cycle is represented in the figure to the right.

As Lewin describes it, a person continually cycles through a process of having a concrete experience, making observations and reflections on that experience, forming abstract concepts and generalizations based on those reflections, and testing those ideas in a new situation, which leads to another concrete experience. This basic cycle has appeared in a variety of settings. In the total quality management (TQM) literature, it shows up as the Deming cycle of plan-do-check-act. Deming himself refers to it as the Shewhart cycle of plan-do-study-act. In organizational development, Schein calls his version the observation-emotional reaction-judgment-intervention cycle. Argyris and Schon refer to a discovery-invention-production-generalization cycle of learning.

At the risk of added confusion, I have based my model of individual learning on Kofman’s version of the learning cycle, as shown in the figure to the right. The observe-assess-design-implement (OADI) cycle preserves the salient features of the versions mentioned above, but the terms have clearer connections to activities conducted in an organizational context. In the OADI cycle, people experience concrete events and actively observe what is happening. They assess (consciously or subconsciously) their experience by reflecting on their observations and then design or construct an abstract concept that seems to be an appropriate response to the assessment. They test the design by implementing it in the concrete world, which leads to a new concrete experience, commencing another cycle. 

In an article on MIT Sloan, Daniel H. Kim describes the way that OADI could be used to increase the effectiveness of organizations. In this game, we therefore use OADI, not only to increase individual learning, but also to increase the learning process of the team and the simulated organization that the teams are trying to run.

In our games, this looks as followed: