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.
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Sergio David Martín Medina
Comentó el 10/12/2020 a las 16:50:45
First of all congratulations on your presentation, I found it really interesting!
Recently I took part in a project management program that also involved the use of simulators. Specifically, one that consisted of developing a new product where we had to plan all the resources throughout a series of weeks, for example, the workers (skill level, number, outsourcing, etc.) or the number and type of meetings. As a student, I agree that it kept me motivated and helped me understand certain concepts, but I think there are some underlying problems about using simulators, regarding the simulator itself.
In my case, the simulator had fixed events, so there existed an "optimal" solution to each problem. That can cause bias because you are teaching students in a way that they think is close to reality when it is not actually true. The business world is unpredictable, and, although there can be some general rules that may lead to success, there are several successful companies out there that manage their employees and resources in such different ways that there certainly isn't a fixed path. In my opinion, the quality of the simulation is going to influence greatly the effectiveness of the teaching or training and I think if it is not good enough it can do more harm than good. Also, it may not encourage critical thinking or creativity in the students, since they are constrained to the options given by the simulator. ¿What is your thought on that topic?
Alejandro Rodríguez San Pascual
Comentó el 11/12/2020 a las 14:49:33
Thank you for your comment.
In our case there was not an optimal solution, the companies the students managed in the simulator could have good finantial and economical results using different strategies, not just one of them, the outcome depended on their decisions and on the decisions of the competitors (the other students). However, depending on the characteristics of the market and the product they were selling, some strategies worked better than others, but that was the point, they had to adapt their decisions to each market and product, also taking into account what the competitors were doing.
Besides that, I totally agree with you, in real life fixed paths to success don't exist and the simulators have to be very well and carefully designed, but, if they are, in my opinion simulators are a really helpful tool for the students to apply their knowledge, develop different skills and at the same time being more motivated and entertained while they take part in these type of activities.
Comentó el 10/12/2020 a las 12:41:12
Thanks for your comment. Students' attitude was really good and they involved in the business game more than we expected.
They asked us to continue with it too.
Nerea Cuenca Orellana
Comentó el 10/12/2020 a las 10:58:38
Congrats for this research! This kind of experiences are necessary to develop gamification in a better way. Could you tell me how was the attitude of the students? Did they ask for more activities like this in next classes?
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