Debriefing: 6 Phases of Reflection

In a simulation-based seminar participants are confronted with a variety with new experiences. By running through several simulation periods, making strategic management decisions and competing with other teams they expand their knowledge and improve skills such as teamwork and communication within the group. To ensure that the participants can process the experiences, thorough reflection phases after group tasks are particularly important. We have prepared 6 questions for you to ask your participants during the debriefing.

Phases of Debriefing

1. Individual perception: How do you feel after completing the group work?

After a group task has been completed, each participant is given the opportunity to describe their impressions without being judged by others. The first phase of the debriefing is used to talk about experiences and to allow for emotions. This phase is especially important as it ensures that participants are able concentrate on the essentials and be more objective in later phases.

2. Compare impressions: What happened during the group work?

In this phase the participants are invited to compare their previous impressions. Information on the current tasks is collected and discussed. The experiences should be put into a chronological order and clarified through questions.

3. Key Learnings: What did you learn during the group work?

The participants can derive recommendations for action for their teamwork from the completed tasks. This is done by formulating guiding principles based on the gained experience.

4. Transferability: What is the relationship between the experiences and reality?

The fourth step is to link the experiences from the group tasks with reality. The learning experience from the group work can be applied to the environment of the business simulation.

5. Alternative scenarios: What if?

In this step the participants have the opportunity to create alternative scenarios to what they have experienced. They can hypothetically apply their knowledge about teamwork as well as the developed guidelines. The teams discuss how the behaviour of the group members could be changed in different situations and how the task could have proceeded if appropriate factors of successful teamwork had been considered.

6. Action plans: What is the next step?

In this phase the participants create action plans which result from the transfer of the insights from the group tasks to the real world and are therefore relevant for the teamwork in the business simulation. Participants are encouraged to suggest strategies for accomplishing future tasks. They should consider how they can change their behaviour in reality from now on. The intentions for action should be visualized.

A debriefing always makes sense when a lot has happened in a short period of time. The experiences made during an eventful activity are reflected upon, structured and critically questioned, which enables the participants to learn from the experience in a sustainable way. It is therefore advisable to end an eventful day in the business simulation seminar with a detailed debriefing. A short debriefing between individual tasks during the course of the seminar can also help to put the thoughts in order to create space for new ideas.

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