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Carol Mannion

Carol Mannion

19th Jan 2018

Carol Mannion is a Programme Designer on the Design and Innovation team at the Irish Management Institute.

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Simulated Learning

Simulation has been used for many years in the development of surgeons, pilots & astronauts. It involves putting people in the driving seat and giving them the opportunity to make decisions and mistakes in a safe environment. Why does it work? By simulating a high pressure and high-risk situation, the pilot or astronaut has an opportunity to respond in real time. In the simulated environment, learners discover the outcomes and consequences of their course of action. Through reflection on these outcomes, whether successful or not, learning occurs and the surgeon, pilot or astronaut is better prepared for the real-life challenges ahead.

Why does simulated learning work? (Photo source)

Can this instructional approach be applied to leadership development?

At IMI, this is exactly what is being done to develop responsive and agile leaders who are equipped to build the future. In the IMI Change Management short programme, participants are tasked with navigating a computer simulated organisational change. They must apply their skills and knowledge of the impact of change to get key stakeholders on board. Teams compete against each other in an engaging, immersive learning experience.

Participants engage in decision making, change communication and team dynamics. The learning outcomes go beyond knowledge acquisition. This type of learning results in behavioural change which is directly transferable to their organisational leadership role.

IMI ran the programme in this format for the first time in December 2017. Participants found the 2-day programme “interactive and engaging”, “a valuable learning experience” and reported that the experience would greatly support them in managing change in their organisations. The programme will run again in March 2018. IMI partnered with Dashboard Simulations to deliver this transformative learning experience using Business Simulations.


Carol Mannion is a Programme Designer on the Design and Innovation team at the Irish Management Institute.  She is an Organisational Development Professional and Coach and has worked in corporate Learning and Development and in Education.  The Design and Innovation team is responsible for programme design of tailored, short, Diploma and Masters’ programmes. This involves working closely with clients, Associate faculty and IMI teams to deliver world-class, inspiring and fit-for-purpose learning and development programmes.


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