In the disarray of the coronavirus pandemic, digital connectivity became a lifeline for countless individuals and organizations. At planpolitik, our games and workshop formats transitioned to an entirely-online format. Like many others, we relied on a combination of platforms like Zoom to facilitate face-to-face interaction, and Mural, Padlet, and the like for anything related to using moderation cards and flipcharts. Our platform Senaryon was used to host the mechanics and content of our simulation games.

Before the pandemic, digitisation of the learning environment was not always a goal in itself. The use of digital means was always under pressure to justify being clearly better than the analogue "this is how we have always done it". This changed during the pandemic: now everything had to be not only digital but also online. The functions of our Senaryon simulation platform grew, and with them our know-how in using digital tools.

Now face-to-face interaction is again increasingly desired, both in our team and with our clients. We need to learn the right lessons from the pandemic period. Digital tools have become an integral part of learning environments - in our view, this makes sense and is logical in a digital society. At the same time, we think it is important to get out of the rigid dichotomy of "everything online" and "everything on site" and to combine the strengths of both worlds.

We have successfully implemented two key approaches utilising Senaryon, to cater to the evolving needs of our clients: the ”simulation+” hybrid format and the ”paperless” model.

The ”simulation+” hybrid solution incorporates digitally enhanced games with innovative features such as interactive maps and dynamic indicators that respond to players' actions. These unique elements are impossible to achieve with traditional paper-based games. For instance, our strategic simulation game ”Conflict in the Gagonian Sea” simulates the complexities of the South China Sea conflict with an interactive map that evolves based on participants' choices.

Our ”paperless” approach utilises interactive, media-rich formats to convey otherwise static information. Delivering the game digitally saves resources and guides participants through the logistical aspects of an event, such as registering and settling into their roles. Other available features include voting on drafts, press releases, news, quizzes and feedback collection. Result: A more engaging experience for participants and easier guidance of the game by the facilitators.

As an example, our simulation game "Minister for a day" on the functioning of the German government and the game on local politics we built for the Association of Berlin Public Libraries (VÖBB) utilise an introductory quiz before the game commences and a debriefing survey after its conclusion. The facilitator controls the pace of the quizzes, with results displayed in real-time on a projector screen. This setup enables vivid discussions and clarifications, and provides a structured framework for the debriefing session. 

Despite the resurgence of face-to-face interaction, purely online games remain particularly well-suited for certain situations. In an international setting, they offer a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution for connecting participants across the globe. Senaryon enables both asynchronous and synchronous phases and has a sophisticated notification system that keeps players informed on the latest developments in their simulation game. 

In a simulation game for ITCILO (International Training Centre of the ILO), we brought together participants from Papua New Guinea to Honduras. The different time zones meant that much of the game was played asynchronously, with only occasional live meetings online. Senaryon’s features allowed participants to effortlessly collaborate on their tasks in smaller groups. Rather than a patched-together solution using multiple technologies, it provides all relevant information and communication tools in one place. Senaryon currently supports 10 languages, and we are always eager to expand.

Online games also serve as excellent supplements to university courses. They enable remote participation and provide a framework for faculty or facilitators to offer feedback and grade in-game assignments. The length of each phase can be set via the moderators’ area in Senaryon, allowing for long-term games that track current themes, games that take place over the course of an afternoon, or anything in-between. Simulation games on Senaryon also shine as a warm-up before a face-to-face event allowing participants to become familiar with the scenario, their roles, and each other before the main event.

Our commitment to developing a flexible platform has fostered a creative, adaptable team capable of responding to challenges swiftly. As the world continues to evolve, we are excited to explore new opportunities and partnerships. We have recently revamped the Senaryon website. For a more in-depth look at how we utilise its flexibility to accommodate a wide range of use cases, please explore our case studies.

It's this way to the Senaryon page: https://www.senaryon.com 

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