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business simulation


(GSK) Vaccines in a new business simulation game called VaxSim. It is the first venture of its kind for the L&D team at the world famous pharmaceutical company. “We wanted to help our colleagues understand how decision making impacts on a whole range of aspects of the business from pricing, through to customer satisfaction,” said Paul Read, director, Global Learning Solutions and Development, GSK Vaccines. “In the past, we have concentrated on learning within functions but this is a multi-function training approach on a global basis. I think it is a brave step for GSK.”


Read had some experience with business simulations but felt the scenarios could feel unrealistic and flat. His aim was to explore how learning technologies could augment face to face training to create a richer, immersive environment. “We could have done it as pure e-learning but we wanted to create more of a behavioural experience. The technology helps to drive the scenario and enhance it, but the teams have to physically participate. We find the mix works really well and people are disappointed when we tell them the simulation has come to an end.”


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Experiencing the game A


plane is missing. Your CEO was on the flight. You are on the new board of directors who must carry on running the company. Good luck!


This is the dramatic plot facing learners at GlaxoSmithKline


Louise Pasterfield looks at how GlaxoSmithKline is helping its employees see the bigger picture by combining technology, game mechanics and experiential learning.


Bigger picture In VaxSim, four to six teams of between nine and 12 people play out a simulated financial year. They make quarterly decisions on what vaccines to produce, what tenders to bid for, what resources they need and what hiring and customer relations activities they need to carry out to be successful. They must choose their target market from a series of fictional countries. Throughout the game, players must think on their feet to deal with unexpected situations such as a fire in a manufacturing plant or the opportunity to hire a maverick salesperson. All decisions carry points or penalties and there are winners and losers, like in a real business.


In the past, we have concentrated on learning within functions but this is a multi-function training approach on a global basis. I think it is a brave step


e.learning age april 2016


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