USING SERIOUS GAMES AS A COMPREHENSIVE CROSS-LEARNING ELEMENT IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Universidad Francisco de Vitoria (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:One of the key challenges in our current higher education programs at UFV is to ensure that students develop skills and knowledge sets, required for exceptional performance in their future professional activities, as well as obtaining a solid base on human values and personal abilities in transforming society for the better.
Within our specific Business Administration & Marketing domains, apart from developing the required management skills and learning solid accounting & financial principles, we pursue a comprehensive, person-oriented approach, focusing on the importance of ‘having a meaning’ and commitment to address societal challenges, improving people’s lives and considering moral values in decision-taking processes.
Apart from that, business education programs are often criticized for being too theoretical and lacking of hands on learning, creativity or including innovation-driven methodologies (O’Regan&Wornham, 2008). This problem is often addressed by considering the use of new, innovative serious games solutions, and particularly, simulation games.
Using games in classroom sometimes becomes a highly emotional activity (some students love it and others, hate it) and the trial-and-error way to better understand difficult concepts, like setting the adequate price for a product in the market, has proven effective. While business simulation game usage (board or computer based) is today accepted as being widespread, in most cases they are largely driven to practice on individual, specific disciplines, such as Marketing, accounting or finance management. There is not significant research literature on using this approach to ensure integrated hands on learning associated to different, heterogeneous business, behavioral, human centric and ethics related issues, as required in our comprehensive educational approach.
In this paper, we describe our experience on the effects driven by the use of a business simulation game as a cross-course experiment, to consolidate an heterogeneous (although related) set of skills, such as Corporate Strategic Planning, Operations&Production, Marketing, Sales&Distribution, Social Responsibility, HHRR and Finance Management. The paper also includes our approach and criteria to select the most adequate SW Simulation tool and the applied methodology to integrate this practical, hands-on approach within our formal undergraduate education plans.
Keywords: Serious Games, Business Simulation.