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Classrooms Job Simulations

Jacqueline Williamson graduated with a BBA in Personnel Admin., an MPA in HR Management and an MS in Education.

From the classroom to practical application.

From the classroom to practical application.


Simulation techniques are gaining increased popularity in the classroom as a means of preparing students to function effectively in their chosen occupations. The advantages of simulation are many and the disadvantages are few. Simulation is often more effective than other methods of instruction in gaining the interest of students and in motivating them to become more involved with learning activities. Simulation techniques can accomplish the following:

  • Provide a degree of realism and immediacy that is often lacking in the presentation or discussion of ideas.
  • Allow students to experiment with minimal fear of failure.
  • Permit students to get feedback on their performance in a nonthreatening situation.
  • Afford a realistic experience at a cost that is generally less than that involved in an actual experience.
  • Offer short-term experiences and feedback in what are often long-term processes in the real world.
  • Present a conflict situation that can involve the student more actively in the learning process than can other instructional techniques such as the illustrated talk.
  • Allow the student some control over events in the situation.
  • Allow the students to assume and experience other roles.
  • Control the situation and structure it so it may be handled.
  • Emphasize team learning and student interaction.
  • Combine cognitive, affective, and psychomotor learning.
  • Provide immediate feedback to students.
  • Allow certain tasks to be taught that would not otherwise be possible in a school setting because of their complexity or unusual resource demands

In simulation experiences, theory and practice come together naturally. Instead of simply reading or hearing about the need to set priorities, business and office students can, in a simulated office situation, actually experience this need. Furthermore, they can practice responding to a variety of task as they would be expected to respond in the real work world.

If you are an instructor in the Medical Administration Office field, you will find that to heighten a student’s learning experience; you should incorporate transparency illustrations, utilize an instructional guide for enhancements, and provide interesting simulation techniques.

Let's use Simulation and Role Playing ...

Let's use Simulation and Role Playing ...

Let us follow teacher Mrs. Margaret Thatch ...

Let us follow fictional teacher Mrs. Margaret Thatch and her plans for creating both simulation experiences and role playing scenarios. These examples will show how integrating what has been erudite in the classroom by the introduction of simulation techniques enrich the learning experiences of Mrs. Thatch’s class.

Mrs. Thatch decides to incorporate two teaching methods:Realistic Job Training and Role Playing. This is so her students experience a realistic environment for demonstrating their understanding of classroom training.

Mrs. Thatch class is a mixture of both male and female from diverse ethnic backgrounds. For those with English as a second language, she plans to give additional assistance. Now, Mrs. Thatch distributes to her students the following syllabus:

Course Title: Medical Office Procedures

Realistic Job Training

At frequent intervals throughout each chapter, you will be asked to apply your newly acquired knowledge—not simply tell how or why you would use the information on the job. Just as in a medical office, you will apply the information repeatedly throughout the course.

As you complete the projects within the text, you will accumulate many of the medical records and much of the correspondence needed in the simulations that will occur as you advance in the chapters. You will be asked to assume the role of a medical assistant. Through the process of simulations, you will handle various requests made by the doctor, the patients, and other office callers.

During these simulations, you will be expected to listen carefully to instructions given by me, as well as the written information in the Simulation Package which I will also provide. The Simulation Package includes: patients’ medical histories, office correspondence, and other medical forms that are needed for the simulations.

Just as in the medical office, you will be performing a variety of closely related tasks in these simulations: transcribing dictation, answering the telephone, scheduling appointments, filing, opening mail, greeting office callers, preparing bills, and so on. You will have to occasionally refer to various reference materials—dictionaries, reference books, medical references, and the like—just as you would in a real medical office. In that way, you will gain proficiency in performing a wide range of administrative activities combined with a variety of problems and pressures in a medical office setting. All these activities are geared to help you overcome some common problems beginning office staff encounter. This includes: difficulty in organizing work, setting priorities, relating one task to another and managing time.

After completing this simulation experience, you should find that you are well prepared for the transition from classroom to office.

Finally, you will find a variety of personal development projects at the end of each chapter. The Key Terms and Medical Vocabulary will assist you in reviewing important terms and concepts used in the chapter.

The role-playing situations that are included will also contribute to you developing the tact, graciousness, and understanding needed to deal with patients, physicians, and other coworkers.

In addition to the Simulation Packages supplied by me, you will need to have the following supplies:

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  1. File folder labels and 35 file folders
  2. A ring binder or a file folder to serve as an appointment book
  3. An expandable portfolio to serve as a file cabinet (all materials go here)
  4. A box of paper for printing and envelopes
  5. Miscellaneous supplies—rubber bands, a note pad, pens, pencils, paper clips, etc.

After providing you with the background information that goes into detail explaining why there is a need for the laboratory experience and the desired benefits of such an experience, detailed instruction sheets and role playing outline each exercise to be done. For an example:

Role Playing

  1. Mr. Pierce, a lawyer, phones to ask you whether a Mrs. Sundquist is a patient of Dr. Newman, your employer.
  2. Mr. Jamison, a patient, calls the office to say he does not think his medication is working so he has stopped taking it. He also says he is thinking about consulting another physician.
  3. Sara Matthews telephones the office and asks you for the results of her throat culture, which you know to be positive.

In each of the above Role Playing Scenarios, explain how you would handle the situation. Remember, the confidentially of patients and what information can be given over the telephone. Handle each situation in a courteous, professional manner. A fellow student will work with you as the additional affected party.

Instructional Sheet—Preparing an Announcement

Dr. Newman has decided to hold a staff meeting with all employees. He asks you to prepare an announcement on November 3 and post it in various locations throughout the office. The meeting will be held November 10 from 11 a.m. to noon in the conference room. Lunch will be provided.

Make a notation on the file copy that the announcement was posted in the laboratory, in the X-ray department, in the nurses’ station, and at the front desk.

File the announcement in your Miscellaneous folder.


After the completion of syllabus distribution, Mrs. Thatch commences the simulation. Some of the students have no problem going through their simulation procedures while others seem to need additional assistance. For those students, Mrs. Thatch gives them coaches who consist of the students who fully comprehend the simulation process. These coaching students act as characters in the lesson.

When every student understands the importance of simulation and role playing and its relationship to applying these techniques to real-life situations, she is able to reduce the time she spends on monitoring.

The simulation and role playing are completely successful!

Students who do well in simulation should do well in practice.

Students who do well in simulation should do well in practice.

A Final Word ...

This technique was used by our Mrs. Thatch, the Medical Office instructor. The office skills that she taught can be used by her students after they complete her course of study. Teachers in the Medical Assistant, Nursing Assistant and Cosmetology genre can also benefit from this type of training. However, regardless of your subject matter, simulations will greatly augment student comprehension and guarantee their success in their chosen endeavors.

Thinking Outside the Box

© 2013 Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS


Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS (author) from Memphis on June 06, 2014:

Being restricted to a "conventional classroom" should not be a deterrent to exposing your students to real-life situations. Be creative and with a little additional assistance from your class you can simulate an environment similar to your subject-matter.

Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS (author) from Memphis on December 16, 2013:

The only way to effectively succeed in any endeavor is with "hands-on" application.

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