THE ROLE OF MANAGEMENT SIMULATION GAMES IN HIGHER EDUCATION: EXPERIENCE OF VIDZEME UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED SCIENCES
Modern, innovative, effective and interactive study methods are one of the important criteria of quality higher education. There are several methods and tools available which help students to prepare for working in business environment and becoming entrepreneurs. A management simulation game - a teaching and learning method - is oriented towards active and experientially based learning, and includes such elements as interactivity, competition, collaboration, peer learning, and active learning.
The management simulation game ‘Emerald Forest’ is an internet-based simulation game with strong links to social media, developed at NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. The game is based on an imaginary holiday park called ‘Emerald Forest’. Participants join the simulation game in teams and are tasked with running the park, managing levels of investments, costs, marketing and strategy in addition to other aspects of management. They are competing with other teams in a highly competitive environment. During the game participants encounter real life problems as well as staged challenges in the digital world.
This paper discusses the role of simulation games in higher education and the adaptation process of the management simulation game ‘Emerald Forest’ at Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences (Latvia). It also considers the advantages of combining lectures with simulation games - linking theory and research to the real business environment. There are several advantages for using a management simulation games in the study process: integrating knowledge and skills from different study fields; developing different competencies; using creativity in product development and communication; collaboration between students from different fields, e.g. business, tourism management, communication; gaining international and inter-cultural teamwork experience.