Guide for Needs Assessment Simulation Game Director
GUIDE FOR THE GAME DIRECTOR
This information is for you alone and will help you facilitate the simulation activities of the Needs Assessment Simulation Game in the appendix of the book. The information will be updated on an ongoing basis to assist you in your preparation, implementation, and discussion efforts.
Supplies for the Simulation
- Approximately 100 sheets of pastel colored paper to act as stationery for mail.
- A timer to pace the simulation and to time Community Hall rentals or time public announcements.
- Copies of the survey (Page F): 1 for each person, 1 for each Team Leader summary, 1 for Game Director master summary, & 1 for each team to complete at the end of the simulation.
- Copies of the Pages A, B, & C for each team member. Optionally, Page D for each team or Team Leader.
- Copies of the Grant Application Form (Page E) for teams who would like to submit a grant.
- One 6-sided die for use when teams want to gather demographic data about one topic area.
Setting up the Simulation Environment
Select a room with movable chairs and/or tables. Your group should be able to form teams of 3 or 4 members, move their chairs into small circles, and still have adequate space between the groups so that any team's conversation doesn't disturb other teams. On one side of the room, form a circle of chairs (approximately 1/3 the total number of participants). This circle of chairs represents the Community Hall and can be "rented" by any team or teams at a cost of 10 METS for 5 minutes.
Introducing the Simulation
As participants enter the room you can explain that they will be involved in an experiential learning activity today. After forming teams of 3 (if small group) or 4 (if larger group), hand teams Page A of The Needs Assessment Simulation and have them read it and begin to perform the activities on the sheet. Have copies of the survey ready to hand each team, including an extra copy for Team Leaders to summarize their team's individual responses.
As teams form, give each Team Leader the name of a street that you can remember and locate easily. It might be easiest to name the streets in some pattern (i.e., Apple, Berry, Cherry, Dill, Eggplant, etc.). Write down the address for each Team Leader and keep this information for later use. As teams complete the survey and the Team Leader collates the forms, collect these from each team. Do not proceed to the next phase of the simulation until all teams have handed in all their forms.
Hand out Pages B & C (& later, D), and provide a brief overview of the simulation-especially the Activities each team can perform. Inform them how many METS points each group has and that they should circle that number on Page C under METS Remaining. Show them where the Community Hall is located. Point out you have the special colored paper needed to send mail in the simulation, and they can get sheets from you. Each team is responsible to monitor their consumption of METS.
Inform the teams they now have approximately 40 minutes to gather data before you hand them the final survey for each team to fill out. Let them know that, as a consultant, you are willing to offer your needs assessment expertise at a fair market value of METS. As the Game Director, you will clarify any rules or simulation activities that are confusing to any team FOR FREE.
As the teams begin to plan their needs assessment activities, use this quiet time to tally the sheets from each team to create a master tally sheet for the entire group. This master tally indicates the final results each team is striving to discover through their activities-guard it carefully!
Running the Simulation
During the 40 minutes, each team will be performing one or more of the following activities. As Game Director, you have the prerogative to publicly announce price increases or decreases in any of these activities if, in your judgment, activities are being used too much or too little, respectively. Here are additional details about each activity you will need to know as Game Director.
- Discover the address of the Team Leader of one group. By expending 2 METS, you inform a team about the address of another Team Leader (e.g., the Team Leader of that group is 3 Apple Lane).
- Observe one group. A person may pay 4 METS and become a participant observer of another group. The observer must gain permission from the group, sit quietly, and leave when the group says "Leave!"
- Interview one person in one group until that person says "No More!" By expending 5 METS, one member of a team can go visit another team, pick out one person, and begin to interview that person. The interview can last as long as the interviewee has patience and is willing to reply to the interviewer. As soon as the interviewee says, "No more!" the interviewer must go back to the home team.
- Get information about response for one survey question. This one is a bit tricky. A team expends 2 METS per try to collect background information from "existing records"-your master tally sheet. For each try, the team identifies the topic of the question and then rolls the 6-sided die. You, as Game Director, locate the appropriate question that matches their topic, and then inform them HOW MANY PEOPLE responded to the specific response identified by the die roll. For example, if a team wants to get information about how people responded to stress levels, and then rolls a 3 on the die, the Game Director would tell the group that response 3 to the stress level question was "Moderate to high levels of stress" and that 5 people selected that answer. Note that it is possible to choose the same topic and roll the same number again on the die, leading the Game Director to reveal the same information already discovered by the team. Also, note that questions on the survey have responses 1 through 5. If the rolled die comes up 6, there is NO information provided to the team (i.e., their examination of existing records yielded no new information). Obviously, the more a group searches in one topic area, the more information they will get-but the less likely the information will be new.
- Make a public announcement in front of the whole group. A team buys the number of minutes they want from the Game Director. The Game Director gets the whole group's attention and then turns the floor over to the team for the allotted time. Other teams may choose to ignore the team who has bought time or may choose to listen. This is considered a ONE WAY. communication -the other teams cannot respond to the team who has bought "mass media" time.
- Mail out your own survey or letter to individuals. A team buys the pastel paper from the Game Director at the going rate of 5 sheets for 10 METS. The team can put survey questions, information, or anything else on the sheets they care to add. On the outside of the folded letter the team should put a TO: (mailing address) and a FROM: (mailing address) so that you, as postmaster, can deliver mail to the appropriate addresses and return it to the sender when the original recipient is done with it. Note that improperly addressed mail is sent to the dead letter office (wastepaper basket) immediately and that the recipient of the letter may choose to ignore it or not return it via the postal system (i.e., the Game Director). Each letter does have sufficient postage to be sent out and then returned to the original sender IF addressed properly.
- Ask a consultant for advice about needs assessment. The Game Director can provide hints, clues, suggestions, strategies, words of advice, etc. to any team who is willing to pay consultant fees. As a consultant, however, wait until a question has been formed by the team. Use your good judgment to provide appropriate help without taking away too much from the learning experience.
- Rent the Community Hall to hold a meeting. The 10 METS will let one team rent the Community Hall for 5 minutes. That team can invite anyone they wish, but the invitation process is NOT included in the fee to rent the hall. This is the ONLY place in the room where a group of people representing various teams can meet outside of their own groups to discuss things.
- Submit a grant to request more METS. A team can spend METS to get more METS. The team expends 6 METS and receives a Grant Proposal Form from the Game Director. After filling out the form, the team returns it to the Game Director. Using the criteria listed on the form, the Game Director chooses to award or not award METS to the team. The total number of METS awarded is determined by the final score the Grant Proposal receives.
Ending the Simulation
At the end of the 40-minute simulation time, the Game Director hands out a copy of the original survey to each team. Each team, as a group, has 10 minutes to complete the survey as described on Page C and put the name of their street at the top of the form. When the 10 minutes are up, the Game Director collects the survey sheets and redistributes them to other teams for scoring. The Game Director goes through the survey questions and points out the MAJORITY RESPONSE and HOW MANY responded with that answer. Each team's survey is scored, totaled, and then returned to the appropriate team.
GUIDE FOR DEBRIEFING THE SIMULATION
Now that the simulation is over, let's examine what happened and consider a few points about the Needs Assessment Simulation Game.
||What emotions did you feel while playing this simulation?
Did people feel frustrated or angry with other participants in the simulation? What activities did others do that led to the frustration or anger? Were there feelings of team spirit and cooperation within your group and competition between groups? How did these feelings grow? How did it feel to be a member of the "winning team?".. . of a "losing team?" Did your team cooperate with other teams or compete? Why?
||What behaviors and reactions to behaviors did you see in others during this simulation? (No names please! Don't direct observations to specific people, but you can talk about specific people in a ROLE.) How did members of other teams respond to your attempts to gather information? In what ways were the attempts from other groups to gather information ineffective or misdirected? What difficulties did you have in making decisions within your team? How well did your team function when attempting to gather needs assessment information? What role did you take within your group? Did the groups compete or cooperate with each other to get answers?
||What activities did you try during this simulation? How well did they work? Why do you think they worked or didn't work?
What specific needs assessment activities did your team try? How well, in your opinion, did they work? Did you try more than one method of needs assessment? Why did you choose the needs assessment methods you chose? How would you do these activities differently if you could go through the simulation again? Do you recall what you might consider mistakes on your part? ... or brilliant activities on your part?
||What general concepts and lessons about needs assessment have you learned from this simulation?
Is there value in using more than one needs assessment methodology at the same time? How would you compare the value of the information you received from one method to the information from another method? Which needs assessment methods do you think are most effective given the circumstances of this simulation? What factors would influence which needs assessment strategy you would choose if doing a needs assessment in a real setting? What is your favorite needs assessment strategy? Why might one team be more successful with one needs assessment strategy when compared with another team?
||In what ways do you think this simulation was an accurate representation of what happens in the real world? In what ways do you think this simulation oversimplifies real world situations or is inaccurate? What behaviors did you see that you think would occur in the "real world?" Did you discover anyone deliberately misrepresenting the truth? ... or stretching the truth? Was this simulation forcing teams to be competitive? What reasons would you give to explain why the teams did not cooperate, pool resources, and/or come up with a collective answer?
||How should this simulation be changed to make it more realistic, practical, educational, or entertaining? How would you change the method of simulating the community survey approach? ... the key informant approach? ... the community forum approach? ... the demographic data approach? ... other approaches? What parts of this simulation were overly confusing? How would you make this simulation less boring and more instructive? What did the time constraints do to your group or individual behavior? How did confusion and chaos change your group's behavior? In what ways are the time constraints and confusion/ chaos realistic?
Using This Simulation Game
Even though these materials for the Needs Assessment Simulation Game are copyrighted, the authors would like to make this simulation game available to interested educators and health professionals. We will use a concept similar to that of shareware in the software realm - the sharegame.
You are granted limited rights to use this sharegame in your instructional training activities. You may use the Needs Assessment Simulation Game in nonprofit activities. However, for each run of the simulation game, we encourage you to send to Drs. Schindler and Gilmore (via the book publisher address listed below) a short communication highlighting who you are, where you used this simulation game, and reactions you and the target group have to the Needs Assessment Simulation Game. This is our way of communicating with end-users, informing them of updates to the simulation game and learning how the simulation game can be further improved. We ask that you be part of our feedback loop and help this simulation game improve.
If you are using this simulation game in a profit-making training program or activity, the authors request that, in addition to sending us a postcard or short letter, you contribute 5% of your net profit to the United Way per use of the simulation game. Please share your increased wealth with those who most need it.
Finally, permission to use this simulation game does not constitute permission to photocopy and distribute the complete set of materials to individuals in your training activities. Although you may make facsimiles of Pages A through F for participants in the Needs Assessment Simulation Game, the materials for the Game Director may not be copied and distributed to others. Your access to the Game Director's materials and permission to use this simulation game as a sharegame are associated with your purchase of this book and are not transferable to others. Please respect the copyright of the authors and the book publisher.
The authors may be contacted through Jones and Bartlett Publishers.