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Learning By Doing: How To Transform Theory Into Business Practice

Bridge the gap between theory and practice with business simulations games


The Gap Between Theory and Business Practice

In business education, there's a noticeable gap between the theories students learn in classrooms and the practical skills they need in real-world business. This gap can limit how effective business education is and how well students do in their careers.

To prepare competent business professionals, the trick will always be to combine theoretical knowledge with real-world practical applications.

The Foundation and Limitations of Theoretical Knowledge

Theoretical knowledge is the backbone of business education. Through lectures and textbooks, students learn important business principles, models, and frameworks. This foundation is crucial because it gives students the tools they need to navigate complex business environments.

However, theory alone isn't enough to prepare students for the real world. Even if students understand business theories well, they can lack the practical skills, competencies and experience to solve real-world problems.

This limitation can result in graduates who know the theory but struggle to apply it in dynamic business settings.

The Solution

Experiential Learning

Experiential learning is a powerful way to bridge this gap. This approach focuses on learning through direct experience, which helps students develop critical thinking and adaptive skills.

According to Kolb & Kolb's (2005) Experiential Learning Theory emphasizes a cycle of action, reflection, conceptualization, and testing for effective learning.

Experiential learning gets students more involved by having them actively participate in their education. By facing real-world challenges and reflecting on their experiences, students gain a deeper understanding of business concepts and improve their practical skills.

Learning By Doing

Learning by doing serves as a practical extension of experiential learning, emphasizing hands-on engagement and the direct application of skills. This approach allows students to gain competence through active participation in tasks and activities, making learning more tangible and immediate.

By repeatedly performing specific tasks, students can build proficiency and confidence in their abilities. The immediate feedback inherent in learning by doing helps students quickly identify and correct mistakes, reinforcing their learning and enabling them to apply their skills effectively in real-world situations.

By integrating learning by doing with experiential learning frameworks, educators can provide a comprehensive learning experience that prepares students for the complexities of the business world.

Business Simulations

Business Simulation Games as the Learning Vehicle

Business simulations are an effective tool for bringing experiential learning and learning by doing into business education. These simulations create realistic environments where students can apply theoretical knowledge to practical scenarios.

By engaging in these simulations, students actively participate in decision-making processes, manage resources, and respond to dynamic market conditions. This hands-on approach allows them to experience the consequences of their actions in a controlled setting, fostering critical thinking and adaptive skills.

The immediate feedback from the simulation helps students refine their strategies and improve their practical skills, bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge and real-world business application. Additionally, through repeated cycles of action and reflection, students not only learn by doing but also deepen their understanding through experiential learning.

Enhancing the Learning Experience

To get the most out of simulations, it's important to add extra activities and assessments according to Cadotte & MacGuire (2013).

Executive briefings, venture capital fairs, and stockholder reports are examples of activities that mimic real-world business scenarios and decision-making processes. These activities make the learning experience richer by giving students more opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills.

In this enhanced learning environment, the role of the instructor changes. Instead of traditional lectures, instructors act as Business Coaches. Coaches give continuous feedback, pose challenges, and guide students through their entrepreneurial journey.

This approach creates a collaborative learning environment and helps students develop critical business skills.

Learning Environment with Business Simulations Games

Measuring and Evaluating Student Performance

Evaluating student performance in a simulation-based course requires specific tools. Rubrics and balanced scorecards (BSC) are effective for assessing different aspects of student performance. Rubrics evaluate critical thinking, strategic planning, and execution skills, while the BSC provides a comprehensive view of a team's performance across various dimensions.

Regular feedback and continuous improvement are key to the learning process. Detailed evaluations help students identify their strengths and areas for improvement, allowing them to refine their knowledge and skills over time.

Real-World Application and Outcomes

Simulation-based learning equips students with practical business skills essential for real-world success. Through these immersive experiences, students develop competencies in strategic planning, decision-making, and resource management. They learn to navigate complex business environments, manage uncertainties, and adapt to changing conditions.

Success stories from students who have participated in simulation-based courses show the effectiveness of this approach. Students report increased confidence, better problem-solving abilities, and a greater understanding of business operations.

These outcomes highlight the transformative potential of experiential learning and learning by doing in bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application.

So, knowing how Business Simulations can help bridge the gap between theory and business practice, and actually successfully implementing them, is a different story.

But don't worry, we are here to help.

We are Interactive Learning Center, and we have been where you are.

Interactive Learning Center

We understand the challenges and shortcomings of teaching complex business to students and professionals.

That why we, at Interactive Learning Center, help educators like you to thrive in the classroom.

We offer a variety of online learning solutions that stimulates interaction and deeper understanding of complex business subjects. We offer more than just software; we provide comprehensive learning and implementation strategies, and the support you need to take your teaching to the next level.

Want to hear how we can transform your teaching?


Cadotte, E., MacGuire, C. (2013). A Pedagogy to Enhance the Value of Simulations in the Classroom. Journal for Advancement of Marketing Education. Retrieved from

Kolb, A. and Kolb, D. (2005). Learning Styles and Learning Spaces: Enhancing Experiential Learning in Higher Education. Journal of Management Learning & Education, 4 (2), 193–212.



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