Content and information are everywhere nowadays. Anyone can learn anything on the web with easy access. Therefore, traditional teaching and learning methods, which are considered content-centered, are not as effective as they used to be. Students lose their motivation since they are sure they will find whatever they want on the internet when they want it, where they want it, and sometimes, at better quality.
“To engage today’s students, we need a new approach.”
Students need active learning where they face real-world problems and challenges. They need a context where they can develop their creativity and soft skills while also learning the technical skills required. So what is the right approach for this?
CHALLENGE BASED LEARNING (CBL) was first developed by Apple Inc. in 2008 specifically to address this need. In fact, CBL was defined as a collaborative learning experience in which teachers and students work together to learn about compelling issues, propose solutions to real problems, and take action. The approach asks students to reflect on their learning and the impact of their actions, and share their solutions with a worldwide audience.
CBL in Supply Chain Management
The world is changing very fast. Uncertainty, risks, and supply chain disruptions are the new normal. Therefore, we need supply chain leaders who are not just great technically, but also more creative and imaginative. Stephanie Thomas, Associate Professor of Practice at the University of Arkansas Walton College of Business, is training the next generation of supply chain professionals. When asked about soft skills supply chain leaders need, she said in an interview :
“I think there is both an art and a science to supply chain management, so people that have a good left brain/right brain balance are well suited for this type of career”.
[We agree – we call it the right mix of “science and street-smarts“]
Universities and education providers play an important role in preparing future supply chain leaders. But, supply chain education still faces some daunting challenges – like applying the principles that students learn in class to real-life, current supply chain problems, and opportunities. Hence, the challenging, free space, hands-on, and collaborative nature of Challenge-Based Learning makes this approach well suited for supply chain education and training.
Learning by solving problems in realistic, interactive simulations
CBL using supply chain simulations is a great way to teach and learn about supply chain management. It is fast, easy, engaging, and effective. Since 2013 we’ve been helping schools that teach supply chain management to grow the knowledge and engagement of their students. Our simulations are easy to use and accurate. They give students a chance to apply what they learn in their lectures and readings. There are Commercial, Humanitarian, and Military supply chains with challenges of increasing complexity in the library of case studies.
We are glad to provide a free evaluation account to instructors, students and supply chain professionals interested in exploring SCM Globe simulations — click here to request an account — Get Your Free Trial Demo
Easily and accurately model any supply chain, and run simulations, and analyze results. This interactive learning helps increase students’ engagement and growing knowledge retention by applying what they learn in real-world Supply Chains.
Here is a testimonial we recently received from an industrial engineering student in Morocco. It highlights the fact that supply chain management is as much an art as it is a science:
“Working on the Cincinnati Seasonings case study has been a great opportunity for me to open the door to a wide topic, and that is supply chain management. I had the chance to live the role of a supply chain manager, and challenges faced every day to maintain the supply chain in the best conditions, and how to overcome them. This experience helped me develop my knowledge in this area and feed my brain with new concepts and optimization skills. Sometimes I was sure that a decision was the most appropriate to make because its effectiveness seemed clear to me. But during the simulation, I was surprised by the opposite. So I understood that a great supply chain manager does not always follow what might seem evident. A wise leader needs a deeper vision to see beyond limits.” MAHHANI Khaoula, from the National School of Mines of Rabat.
What works for students, also works for employees, and for people who want to learn new skills. With years of experience helping schools and professionals to learn supply chain management, we have found that Challenge Based Learning is highly effective to equip people with the necessary technical and problem-solving skills for a demanding job like supply chain management. Schools, companies, and governments need to invest in skills training and choose solutions that can provide the maximum value to our future supply chain leaders.