How Simulated Work Environments Can Drive Performance in the Classroom, and Ultimately the Workplace

Continuing with our theme this month, we wanted to reflect on performance management in another arena – the classroom. After all, students are future employees and shouldn’t performance management in the classroom prepare them for performance management in their future careers?

First, I want to share a thought from a local employer when asked about industry needs concerning current and potential programs that are developing the future workforce. The quote reads:

“While there appears to be attention given to communication and employability (skills), these areas remain our greatest problem. We are looking for hard working individuals with a strong work ethic that do not have to be reminded of the basics, like showing up for work on time.”

With that in mind, why not consider simulated work environments in school classrooms? Creative Teaching Site shares the following concerning simulations in the classroom:

  • They simulate an activity that is “real”, and so it can be said that they are “virtually real”. They simulate the activity so well that there is little difference between the simulated environment and the real one, and the same kind of learning experience can take place.
  • They are “hands-on”, involving students so they become participants, not mere listeners or observers. Students learn better from their own experiences than having others’ experiences related to them.
  • They are motivators for learning. Student involvement in the activity is so deep that interest in learning more about the activity or its subject matter develops.
  • They are tailored to the student. When simulations are designed specifically for their audience, they can take developmental requirements into consideration.
  • They are inspirational. Student input is welcome and activities are designed to encourage students to enhance the activity by contributing their own ideas.
  • They are developmentally valid. Simulations take into account the students’ developmental level.
  • They are empowering. Students take on responsible roles, find ways to succeed, and develop problem-solving tools as a result of the interaction.

I love that the last bullet points out that students take on responsible roles. This ties back in to the concern voiced in the quote from our employer mentioned earlier. When students are empowered to make decisions and take on responsibility, they are becoming prepared for their future roles as employees.

What are your thoughts on simulated work environments in the classroom?


Mary Ila Ward