In 1999 the Bologna Process starts and among other objectives, it aims to successfully prepare students for their future professional careers and foster personal development of their competences, looking for a balance between soft and hard skills.
Its implementation means changing the approach of the educational system from one centered on the teacher to one centered on the student, turning ways of learning (Romero, 2017), and creating strategies to produce graduates not only with academic excellence and but also with relevant personal and ethical development.
We present in this context the main findings of an educational experience carried out during 2019-20 academic semester in the course of Financial Analysis at the Technical University of Madrid that incorporates gamification as an innovative methodology through a business game.
Simulators makes it possible to apply the relevant multidisciplinary knowledge base acquired in class in a practical way, both avoiding the risks associated and developing key generic skills essential to the world of work such as teamwork, critical thinking or problem solving.
The study adopts an ecosystem framework, looking at education with a systems theory lens. It analyses how these critical success factors are prioritized by firms, students, and university professors.
The methodological approach was structured around a theoretical axis (conceptual framework) and two empirical axes around case studies, combining qualitative research (interviews with company directors, simulator developers and teachers) and quantitative research (student surveys).
The findings show how simulators help all actors to meet their objectives. Simulator facilitates the development of different transversal competences demanded by the companies throughout the full duration of their course, as some if not all of the skills, hard and soft, are incorporated in the business game selected. Professors stand out that it favored students’ involvement in the learning process. In the meanwhile, firms highlight that this type of activity allows them to observe how students adapt to possible changes in the environment, react to different situations beforehand or work as a team.
Finally, the results of the surveys answered by the students show that they felt more competent after using the simulator. Also their intrinsic motivation and their intention to recommend this type of experience improved after doing the activity. In the same way, the surveys show good results in skills, such as strategic capability, decision making and data analysis. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation and satisfaction do not seem to vary after using the simulator.