Patrick Willems still hasn’t had enough after a decade of ‘The Fresh Connection’

Sep 15, 2020 Share the story:

Lecturer Patrick Willems shares his experiences in delivering a course online with business simulation game: ‘The Fresh Connection’. While usually teaching face-to-face classes, he had to adapt and switch to a digital environment.

The switch to online education

Having to switch to a digital classroom overnight posed a challenge to many educators around the world. What would teaching look like in the coming months – or even longer? How can educators make sure all students stay on track? And how do you keen digital learning interesting and engaging?

Lecturer Patrick Willems (University of applied sciences UC Leuven-Limburg) shares his experiences in delivering a course online with business simulation game: ‘The Fresh Connection’.

10 years of experience – but new things are still to be learned!

Patrick has been using ‘The Fresh Connection’ in his classes for over a decade. While he usually teaches face-to-face classes, he had to adapt in recent times, switching to a digital environment. But after 10 years of experience with ‘The Fresh Connection’, Patrick was well prepared for the change!

He tackled the challenge by giving himself and his students more time to get comfortable with the simulation in the beginning of the course. Instead of offering lessons in a classroom on campus, they were now held via Zoom. Doing so, Patrick increased his availability for questions and concerns, gave feedback more often, and structured the game by giving smaller assignments every day, to help students transition to digital education. The break-out room option in Zoom also allowed Patrick to drop into each room and check on his students, making sure they stay on track on have all their questions answered quickly!

Preparation is the be-all and end-all

A big help to Patrick in offering his lessons digitally was the extra online material offered through Inchainge, which helped to break up the often complex subjects into smaller increments and allowed him to handle a 40-person group at a distance.

Patrick’s advice to other educators that use ‘The Fresh Connection’ in an online environment is that they should familiarize themselves well with the simulation by playing it themselves before class – teaching what you know already helps you to put yourself in your students’ shoes! Playing through the simulation themselves allows educators to review their own course, ensuring a good balance of theory and practice, schedule enough time for students to ask questions, and achieve a level of comfort that allows everyone to have fun and learn!