JIBC leadership course takes leadership training to the next level


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Ever since Paul Ferguson decided to take his first course at JIBC in 2014, he hasn’t stopped learning. In June 2015, he graduated with JIBC’s Associate Certificate in Leadership and Conflict Resolution, and he is furthering his education to complete the Certificate in Applied Leadership.

“I enjoyed the courses so much, I just want to continue,” he said. “I didn’t stop and I fully intend to continue and come back to learn more.”

An important component of the Certificate in Applied Leadership is a new Leadership Simulation Capstone course, which Paul completed in the spring. This immersive learning experience is unique for leadership training programs. Offered only at JIBC, the capstone courses gives students the opportunity to apply, in real-time, the leadership theory and skills they’ve gained.

“This is a high energy, fun, engaging and deep-learning experience,” said Georganne Oldham, one of JIBC’s respected leadership instructors and a co-developer of the capstone course.

“Students get to take on the role of a manager of a team, making the decisions necessary to deal with day-to-day challenges and the long-term strategy of the organization, all the while leading their team effectively so as to maintain effective communication and maximum engagement.”

“JIBC’s leadership program is applied. We provide opportunities for our students to practice and integrate what they learn in all our courses,” said Kent Highnam, Program Director in JIBC’s School of Health, Community and Social Justice. “The capstone simulation course is a tangible example of this. It’s designed to require our learners to apply all of the leadership skills they’ve gained in a safe environment, so they can to be fully prepared when they return to their workplace.”

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The course uses JIBC’s award-winning PRAXIS computer-assisted simulation system that incorporates custom-designed multimedia components to give participants an immersive, interactive, first-person perspective of an unfolding event or scenario.

In the capstone course, students work together in small teams to make collective decisions that influence the unfolding of complex workplace scenarios that are presented to them over the two-day course. The goal for each team is to address significant changes happening in the simulated workplace, respond to employee concerns, and constructively resolve various conflicts along the way.

The multimedia elements of the course were professionally developed and produced so students are guided through the scenario that is psychologically as close to a real experience in the workplace as possible.

Christina Willings, who wrote and directed the leadership simulation videos for the capstone course, noted, “My goal as the writer of the video injects was for the students to be fully engaged and enjoy the process of undergoing genuine growth and transformation through identification with, and development of, empathy for a character’s experience in the simulation.

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As the scenario progresses, each student receives numerous opportunities to analyze their decision-making and conflict resolution processes with instructors and coaches supporting the course.

“The capstone course is the amalgamation of everything we learned in the certificate program,” said Paul. “I really liked the discussion we had before making a decision in the scenario. It was interesting to listen to everyone about their perspectives about a situation, and how they came to a decision. For example, within the scenario, we were dealing with conflict between the staff, and we talked about how we would deal with it. People varied in terms of their positions, but we still reached a decision together.”

For Paul, all of the components of the capstone course were effective in reinforcing what students learned in the program to become better leaders and managers in the workplace.

“The instructors were very reassuring, very comforting, very respectful, and they wanted us to succeed. That was huge,” he said. “The course gives you confidence, and it gives you the ability to apply your skills in different situations. Since taking the capstone course, I feel more comfortable about making decisions, and I do reflect back on what we accomplished in the course. It definitely stays with you.”


For information about the wide range of leadership and conflict resolution courses available at JIBC, visit the webpages for JIBC Centre for Leadership or JIBC Centre for Conflict Resolution. For the latest offerings of JIBC courses, view the latest course calendar.

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