Virtual Game Method in Higher Education

4 Participating countries:
Start: 01-11-2014 - End: 31-10-2016
Project Reference: 2014-1-PL01-KA203-003548
EC Grant: 198,217.37 EUR

Programme: Erasmus+
Key Action: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices
Action Type: Strategic Partnerships for higher education

Summary

In nowadays world the human capital became the most important factor of the level of development of countries, regions and companies which reasons the efforts put in the raising the quality of human capital by the education. In EU strategy Europa 2020 education is one of the five aims of European strategy.
According to the experience of teachers and research results the problem with education is not just the question of the content of learning but also the question of the most effective learning/ teaching methods.
During the GAMES project we worked on the development and introduction of virtual games in higher education as innovative education method. The use the games is education (also called as edutainment) combines education and fun, involves students in education and allows to experiment with different aspects of eduction. One of the area where games are used is business education. A business game is a simulation or model of either the whole or a part of a business organization. Simulations and games are experimental training activities which incorporate and utilize the different mental abilities of the students. The students as players put themselves in the position of business managers in various aspects of company management. During the game, their task is to make decisions within their area of competence, and the quality of those decisions has an impact on the virtual company's performance. Business games force the participants to take a sequence of managerial decisions and later the players receive feedback regarding the consequences of those decisions. Business games are considered as a trial-and-error method which permits a deeper insight into business management problems. Simulations increase the level of organizational reality during training and provide the trainees with an opportunity for unstructured learning. Moreover, the simulation games let to introduce the constructivism approach towards education, as it requares the learner center and active learning attitudes. Teachers become the facilitator of education process while the most important are students who use their prio-knowledge, thanks to getting new experience and reflective experinants they develop their skills and competences. All of these advantages of virtual games as teaching methods reasoned the application for the project.
In the GAMES project we reached the following objectives:
- we trained teachers from partner organizations to teach with virtual games and to prepare own game scenarios (2 workshops for teachers, 13 teachers trained),
- we developed the software (engine) of game produced in previous project by implementing new business logic to the software; in our previous project the logic of production companies was introduced, now the service provider as the framework of the game is introduced,
- we developed own new scenarios of virtual games (4 scenarios), possible to use in business, social and social care education
- we tested the scenarios with students at partner organizations (158 students) and conducted a survey among them about their perception on the virtual games as teaching tool (118 responders)
- we organized the conference and seminars to disseminate the GAMES project results and to make edutainment better known to the audience (together 109 national and 98 international participants)
- we published a textbook on using virtual games in higher education (150 pages, 300 hard copies, 22 authors).
There were 4 partners in the GAMES project from different part of European Union (Finland, Estonia, Poland, Spain). This geographical and economic diversification of partners assured the better effects of the GAMES project in the field of contribution and dissemination. Partner organizations represent different teaching areas (management, social care, labour market, statistics).
We used the following method in the GAMES project:
1. Workshop for teachers to introduce the virtual games as education tool, teachers were put at the position of students and played a virtual game by themselves, we conducted the lectures and open discussion how to teach with virtual games nad we discussed how to prepare the own scenarios.
2. After the first workshop, there was own work of teachers (home based) on the preparation of data for scenarios (all partners), on improvement of the engine and setting up the parameters of scenarios into the software (partner from Poznan University of Economics).
3. Having this done, the second workshop for teachers was organized. On one hand, teachers played their own scenarios to understand it better and to get the experience with. On the other hand, practical discussion and lectures on preparing and conducting education process with games were part of the workshop.
4. Finally, to assess the quality of own virtual game scenarios, we tested them with students and gothered their opinions.
We also prepared and published 2 additional papers on games in education as the results of the project.

Results

Description

To make the GAMES project more sustained, the textbook "Perspectives on Computer Gaming in Higher Education" is published. This textbook let to share our experience with the use of games in higher education and to lead the discussion on the effectiveness of edutainment. The textbook consists of two parts:
- part 1 - the general discussion on education method in higher education, their effectiveness, problems and advantages in implementation. The examples of different countries and teaching areas are described.
- part 2 - the experiences of using the virtual games produced within the GAMES project realization. Authors presented the issues connected with the preparation of own scenarios, with running a course with the use of gaming as education methods, with assessment of students, students' involvement. The results of survey among students on the use of simulation are analysed as well.


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We created the 4 scenarios of new virtual education games, each partner institution created one scenario. The scenarios of virtual games are a kind of a story, which takes students to some virtual markets, customers, customers needs, products or services and companies. The scenarios are the description of a market or a company and consist of two main parts. First part is a description needed by students to follow the course with the use of games with such elements as: description of a company, description of products/ services, target groups operating at the market (description and preferences of target groups), market (location, market shares of target groups), production, sales offices, employment and human resource management, finances. On the other hand, the scenario shows what kind of virtual decisions students have to make during the game and what are some interrelations between decisions.
Each partner university produced one scenario which in total gave 4 new scenarios.


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Engine (software) of the education game (Business Arena Game) was crucial to implement the virtual games into the education. In the GAMES project, we improved the game engine created in our previous project in two ways:
- minor improvements of the engine based on the experience with the games gained after the previous project realization,
- major improvements - the implementation of the service provider logic into the engine. Service provider logic means that the "production" and sales of services take place in the same location at the same time. Service providers do not manage inventories nor transfer of products. Service providers are more depended on the quality of human work and competences of employees. The decision areas connected with human resource management were developed. Moreover, service providers have to combine quality of services offered, quality of service points and skills of employees. These interactions were implemented and developed in the BizArena engine.


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To make the game easier to follow for students, the interface for the GAMES project was translated into national languages of partners and in English. Players can choose one of five languages of the game: English, Finnish, Spanish, Estonian and Polish. The game language can be both settle up at the registation of the user or during the game. It makes the interface more sophisticated and user friendly.
Part 1 of the result shows English version which was the basis for others.


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The interface translation in Spanish version.


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The interface translation in Finnish version.


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The interface translation in Estonian version.


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The interface translation in Polish version.


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The printscreens of the main page of the game in English, Estonian, Finnish, Spanish and Polish


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After the implementation of the virtual education games into the higher education and testing our scenarios with students, we conducted a survey among students taught with the use of these games. We wanted to get answers for 2 main questions:
- what are the main advantages and disadvantages of virtual games as education method
- what are the main competences and skills developed with the use of this method.
All together we asked 21 questions, which concerned the assessment of the game by students, their profiles as players (socializers, killers, achievers, explorers), their digital profiles (digital native, digital immigrants, digital ignorants), students' manner the learn during the game, competences needed to possess and developed during the game and emotions during the game.
We collected 118 answers.
Part 1 shows the questionnaire of the survey. It is available online (https://www.ut.ee/survey/index.php?sid=11892&lang=en) in 4 languages (English, Estonian, Spanish, Polish).


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We prepared the training materials which were used during trainings for teachers (training activities C1 and C2) and which are available at the website of the GAMES project after the trainings. There are two kinds of reference materials: presentations in pdf and recorded sessions (broadcast). The teaching materials refer to 2 issues:
1. The reference materials present the discussion and presentation on modern teaching strategies based on constructivism approach. Such issues as Kolb learning cycle, active learing appoach, learner-centred approach, digital natives as learners, team learning are discussed together with the practical exersices.
2. The prepearation and managing the teaching strategies with virtual games are discussed as well.


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Part 2


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Part 3


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Part 5


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Part 6


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Part 7


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Part 8


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Part 9


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Part 10


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Part 11


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Part 14


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Part 15


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A paper title”Wirtualne gry strategiczne – narzędzie edukacji przedsiębiorczej czy eksperymentalna metoda badawcza w badaniach nad przedsiębiorczością? ” (English title „Virtual strategic games – tool of entrepreneurial education or experimental research method in entrepreneurship field of study?”) was written and submitted by Aleksandra Gaweł. It is published in scientific journal Przedsiębiorczość-Edukacja, vol. 12, 2016, ss. 340-351. Language of the publication is Polish. Key words: entrepreneurial education; experiment in research on entrepreneurship; entrepreneurial orientation; virtual strategic games. Abstract: Virtual strategic games are more often used teaching tool, their use lets to follow the current trends in didactic study. However, games are still innovative tool which indicates the necessity of discussion on possibilities of their implementation in entrepreneurial education. Virtual strategic games seem to be possible to explore also as a research tool.


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A paper title "pt. "Konstruktywizm edukacyjny w nauczaniu przedsiębiorczości metodą gier elektronicznych" (English title: "Constructivism in entrepreneurship teaching
with the use of virtual games") was written and submitted by Aleksandra Gaweł and Anna Wach-Kąkolewicz. It was published in scientific journal Horyzonty Wychowania, 15 (34), 87-102. DOI: 10.17399/HW.2016.153405. Paper is published in Polish. Key words: constructivism, Kolb’s learning cycle, entrepreneurship education, virtual strategic games, teaching. Abstract: The aim of the paper is to discuss the possibilities of designing and running the academic course on entrepreneurship with the use of virtual games based on constructivist theory of learning and cognition. We intend to present the case study on strategic virtual games as a result of two international educational projects. We also would like to share our experience concerning teaching with games according to Kolb’s Learning Cycle (...)


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Paper "PELILLISYYS SOSIAALI- JA TERVEYSALAN YRITTÄJYYSOPINNOISSA" (English title: GAMIFICATION IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP STUDIES IN THE SOCIAL AND HEALTH FIELD), writen by Tiina Tiilikka, Arja Hemminki and Arja Haapaharju. The article is published in:
Hyvinvointia ja innovaatioita monialaisesti ja raja-aitoja madaltaen - Katsaus Seinäjoen ammattikorkeakoulun toimintaan 2016. (Welfare and innovations multisectorally by lower the boundaries – Review to the action of Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences) Eds. Junell P. & Heikkilä A., Päällysaho S. & Saarikoski S. Seinäjoen ammattikorkeakoulun julkaisusarja A. Tutkimuksia 25. (Publications of Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences A. Research repo
The article discusses game-based learning in entrepreneurship studies in the social and health field. The article describes pros and cons of gamification. It presents the entrepreneurship studies for the bachelor of the social services programme at Seinäjoki University of Applied Studies (...)


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The reference materials are dedicated to all teachers who are interested in innovative, modern teaching strategies, including virtual simulation games. The target group for the reference materials are university teachers but also teachers of other education level might benefit them.


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The access to the simulation game is available at the webpage:

http://bizarena.ue.poznan.pl/


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Project logo

Coordinator

UNIWERSYTET EKONOMICZNY W POZNANIU

AL NIEPODLEGLOSCI 10, 61 875
POZNAN
PL
Organisation type: Higher education institution (tertiary level)

Partners

SEINAJOEN AMMATTIKORKEAKOULU OY
SEINAJOKI
Etelä-Pohjanmaa
Organisation type: Other
TARTU ULIKOOL
TARTU
Organisation type: Other
UNIVERSIDAD DE HUELVA
HUELVA
Andalucía
uhu.es
Organisation type: Other

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