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In an interview with CIO Applications, Maureen Ginley, General Manager of Knowledge Matters, shares her insights into the company’s approach to simulations and how they serves clients in the U.S. and internationally.
Could you tell our readers about Knowledge Matters?
Specifically designed for schools, our Virtual Business simulations support nine different areas of study. Currently, they are used in over one-third of all high schools in the U.S. We also offer Case Simulations that immerse college students in experiential learning, primarily covering six different areas of study, including our recently launched Entrepreneurship and Management simulation collections.
Our Virtual Business and Case Simulations are designed to support in-person and remote learning models, offering the highest level of flexibility for students and teachers, and professors. Most educators appreciate our automatic grading process that enables them to track students’ progress seamlessly.
How do your new Collaboration Simulations open up new horizons of learning?
We have recently introduced Collaboration Simulations that allow students to explore a new way of using our simulations. The simulations allow students to work together in teams of up to four, whether they are learning in-person or remotely. Each team member takes on a separate aspect of the business to collaborate as a team and navigate various challenges and opportunities. Students can develop greater interpersonal skills by collaborating, communicating, and practicing teamwork. Taking the collaboration aspect to the next level, we offer in-program video conferencing and screen sharing to build better connections among the participants. Knowledge Matters is, in fact, first in the market to do that.
Our simulations often function as class activities, a capstone project, homework, or extra credit. Students strategize, solve problems, and attempt to increase profits, all as a team.
They also create a gateway for students to practice for Career & Technical Student Organization (CTSO) competitions and challenges throughout the year.
What sense do you get of the challenges schools face now in the simulation space, and how is Knowledge Matters effectively addressing these issues?
The COVID-19 pandemic has driven the education sector into a bout of turmoil. It has become a real challenge for teachers to keep students engaged, socialize them, and keep them on the continuous learning curve. Educators today need the right support to align with the changing learning models and help students stay connected to one another. That’s precisely where our expertise lies.
Our goal is to equip teachers with the capability to offer students a better learning environment that contributes to their overall growth and enables them to understand their surroundings. For example, our hospitality industry simulations for restaurant and hotel management, help students understand the specific challenges of how floorplan layout, staffing, and level of service can impact customer demand and success.
Lou DiCesare, Business Teacher, West Irondequoit Central School District:
“I can’t describe how invaluable the simulation programs are to enrich the learning in the classroom, but even more so for students that have long illnesses or during the pandemic lockdown. It allowed me as a teacher to provide a platform to help students reach the learning standards of the class albeit virtually in some cases. I am a big believer in learning by doing. The Knowledge Matters products (for which we use all of them) allows students to do just that - learn by doing!”
Many schools also find it challenging to offer internship opportunities to students in certain areas of interest (especially in rural areas). Our simulations give students an unmatched internship experience and help them narrow their career interests by providing a holistic understanding of a particular field.
Tell us about eDynamicLearning acquiring Knowledge Matters. How will your simulations align with many of the courses and career clusters offered by eDynamicLearning?
Our partnership with eDynamicLearning provides an unparalleled opportunity for students to learn the foundational concepts with eDynamicLearning, and apply and test those concepts in a real-world scenario through simulations by Knowledge Matters. Both solutions come from one provider, enabling consistency with curriculum rigor, rich immersive graphics, and a high level of customer support for educators and administrators.
Courses from eDynamicLearning like Entrepreneurship, Fashion, Sports & Entertainment Marketing, Management, and Internship & Workplace Readinessact like a textbook replacement that gives teachers the content they need to teach the fundamental concepts.
By using the eDynamicLearning Personal & Family Finance course and Knowledge Matters Virtual Business Personal Finance simulation, students can learn and apply that knowledge as they make their own financial decisions in a zero-risk, game-based environment. This is ideal given that many states in the U.S. now require students to complete personal finance or financial literacy coursework as a high school graduation requirement.
Our goal is to equip teachers with the capability to offer students a better learning environment that contributes to their overall growth and enables them to understand their surroundings
What, according to you, are the differentiating factors for Knowledge Matters?
Knowledge Matters has lasting partnerships with CTSOs on student challenges and competitions for high school and college. We are proud to have relationships with these organizations to offer students scholarship opportunities, cash prizes, and special awards. Each year we also work together with DECA Inc. (formerly Distributive Education Clubs of America), Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), Business Professionals of America (BPA), and International Council on Hotel and Restaurant Institutional Education (ICHRIE), and Collegiate DECA to up our ante in this space.
In an effort to maintain the highest integrity of the educational experience for students in the simulations, we undertake new measures, including enlarging quiz banks and randomizing the simulations. Each user will have their own unique encounter in their simulated environment, allowing them to refine their techniques as their knowledge grows.
We are also very excited about the new simulation releases and those in development. For the high school market, a new healthcare simulation— Dental Assisting—will be released soon. It is the first in a series of healthcare simulations that will be forthcoming and will pair and integrate with eDynamicLearning courses.
For the college market we recently launched the Entrepreneurship and Management Case Simulation collections, and are working towards expanding our Case Simulation collections in the future.