Vocational schools have increasingly better equipped vocational workshops that enable students to acquire practical skills in their industry. Bearing in mind the necessity of comprehensive student development, also in the field of business skills, many schools are also deciding to develop infrastructure for practical entrepreneurship teaching through economic games such as Revas Business Simulations Games. What are the classes with the use of business simulations? Students working on the online platform play the role of entrepreneurs running a production, service or trade company in one of the selected industries. They make realistic business decisions, receiving their results regularly. Importantly, the students compete with each other on one market.
The students using the Revas Business Simulations Games, have to face the tasks of real entrepreneurs on a daily basis. They learn how to acquire customers, set prices, buy equipment and materials, and employ people. Competing on the virtual market with enterprises run by their colleagues they will be able to see how competition affects business operations.
1. Teaching business connected with student’s vocation or field of study
Most of the materials available on the market for business and economics teachers are general in terms of their content, and not profiled to professions. Therefore, the students must imagine running a business in an unknown reality or use abstract names of products, equipment and resources. Thanks to Revas Business Simulations Games, it is possible to choose tools for the professions chosen by the students. For example, mechanical school students can learn business using the “Car repair shop” simulation. By managing a virtual car repair shop, students will make specific decisions in their industry, e.g. regarding the purchase of equipment (e.g. car jack, diagnostic computer, tool trolleys, etc.) or parts (brake blocks, filters, starters, etc.). In turn, the “Beauty salon” simulation uses industry terms such as darsonval, autoclave, wapozon, and in the “Transport Company” students will consolidate terms such as carrier liability insurance, electronic toll collection system, transport exchange. Thanks to the above, the students can associate economic lessons with vocational subjects, consolidate industry vocabulary and, above all, find their way in the market reality of their industry.
2. Unconventional evaluation of student results
The business simulations are a didactic tool, thanks to which teachers can also verify the effects of the students’ work. The scorecard built into the simulation evaluates the quality of team decisions using multi-criteria algorithms. After each decision-making round a team ranking is created that can be used to regularly evaluate the students. It is created based on their operating result. This indicator is influenced by 5 factors promoting sustainable development: economic result, employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, company development and debt. Thanks to this evaluation, we teach young people that business is not just money. You can maximize profit by paying employees low remunerations or working with low quality materials for customer, but this is a short-sighted strategy. Students playing economic games quickly realize that it is worth investing in employees, treating customers fairly and developing the company.
3. New teacher role – business mentor
“Thanks to the simulations, I was able to “experience” what it means to run my own business and complete with practical skills the knowledge I already had”.
Nowadays, when knowledge is available on every smartphone, the role of the teacher means more than the usual information provision. During the lessons with simulations, the teacher is a mentor for the students, a guide that helps them understand the secrets of business. “I don’t have experience in running a business because I’ve never had my own one. So I always had some concerns when telling young people about it. During the certification training for trainers of Revas Business Simulations Games I had to manage my own company and compete with other teachers participating in the training with me. Thanks to the simulations, I was able to “experience” what it means to run my own business and complete with practical skills the knowledge I already had”. says Jolanta Szczepanik-Baran, entrepreneurship teacher from Complex of Schools No. 1 in Rzeszow.
4. Knowledge, skills, competences
Running a business, although only in a virtual form, gives students the opportunity to acquire real knowledge, skills and competences. By making decisions using the simulation, the students will learn in a practical way the economic terms such as, e.g.: demand, supply, demand law, supply law, revenues, costs, fixed costs, variable costs, profit, loss, depreciation, income and expense ledger, income tax, forms of employment employees, net and gross remuneration, employer costs. Moreover, the economic games contribute to the development of many key skills and competences, for example:
- initiative and entrepreneurship – planning and implementing business strategies, recognizing business opportunities, evaluating and taking risk, as well as evaluating own strengths and weaknesses in running a business, often helping the student answer the question whether he/she has a predisposition to run his/her business,
- ability to search, select and critically analyze information – by analyzing the own and competing companies results, the students learn how to analyze data and draw conclusions based on it,
- ability to solve problems – students must solve emerging problems on an ongoing basis, including lost sales, decreasing employee or customer satisfaction, decreasing number of customers, react to competitors’ actions,
- teamwork skills – thanks to group work, the students must constantly cooperate with each other, announce their opinions, negotiate decisions, share responsibilities,
- mathematical thinking skills – using mathematical skills to solve business problems, e.g. calculating the required number of positions, demand for raw materials, revenues and costs,
- IT competences – using a spreadsheet to calculate, e.g., resource requirements as well as forecasting the financial effects of decisions made,
- social and civic competences – negotiations, coping with stress, decision making, work under time pressure, cooperation, assertiveness.
5. Entrepreneur image verification
The business simulation is an experience closest to reality, thanks to which the students better understand what the running a business involves. Students often have the wrong idea about running a business – they only see the benefits, e.g. the opportunity to work in flexible hours, high earnings, networking, company car, the latest laptop and smartphone, forgetting the other side – tedious work that does not always give results immediately. It happens that the students who, when asked before starting the simulation classes, if they want to have their own company, respond in a chorus – yes they want, after the classes, they change their minds. The economic games help them understand the problems, difficulties and challenges faced by entrepreneurs. There are people who prefer to work full time, go home without thinking about whether customers will come tomorrow, how to increase employee satisfaction, respond to competition. And this is also an educational element. It is important to help students understand if running a business is the right career path for them.
Already more than 400 schools use Revas Business Simulations Games during classes. Their experience shows that teaching entrepreneurship and running business using the appropriate ICT tool not only affects the attractiveness and practicality of lessons, but also allows to change the role of the teacher, as well as effectively shape the desired competences.