It is a well-known fact that learning through practice is the best way to gain true work experience. Therefore, we have decided to bring our expertise and experience in practical business education with Revas Business Simulation Games and support schools and universities in organizing online internships.
This article is a step-by-step instruction which will present the stages of carrying out the internship in the form of a virtual business based on the case of Polish schools and universities. We hope that information in this article will be an inspiration to organizing your own online internships in your facilities.
Let’s start from the beginning – the legal basis
- The regulation of the Minister of National Education of March 20, 2020 on special solutions in the period of temporary limitation of the functioning of education system units in relation to the prevention, counteraction and fighting of COVID-19.
- during the period of limitation of the functioning of a unit of the education system, the person in charge of a unit of the education system is responsible for carrying out of the tasks of this unit, including lessons with the use of distance learning methods and techniques or other methods of carrying out these lessons (§ 1 clause 1 of the Reg.)
- internships for students of vocational secondary schools, post-secondary schools and professional secondary schools may also be credited if the student carries out an internship in the form of an educational project, in cooperation with the employer or person running an individual farm, or in the form of a virtual business (§ 4 clause 1a point 3 of Reg.).
Due to the emergence of an epidemiological threat the Ministry of Education, on the 20th of March 2020, issued a new regulation. It regulated the first rules for the limited operation of schools and other education units during the lockdown. Since its publication, this regulation has already been changed 19 times, depending on the development of the pandemic situation. The possibility of implementing internships in the form of a virtual business (§ 4 clause 1a point 3 of the Reg.) was introduced to the above-mentioned of the regulation after the change on the 29th of April, 2020 (The regulation of the Minister of National Education of April 29, 2020 changing the regulation on special solutions in the period of temporary limitation of the functioning of education system units in relation to the prevention, counteraction and fighting of COVID-19)
1. Business Simulation Games – how does it work?
Business Simulation Games are tools that allow students to set up and run virtual businesses in their fields of studies or vocational areas.
Let’s analyze it on an example. The person responsible for coordinating the internships has a group of e.g. 21 students who needs an internship. Now, students are divided into teams. For example, the students can compose 7 teams of 3 participants.
Then, these 7 teams set up and run 7 virtual businesses in one industry, operating on one competitive market. It is possible to establish businesses run by students individually, as well. The individual students or the teams make business decisions in rounds. There are 12 decision rounds implemented in the simulation and each round corresponds to one virtual month.
After every round students receive the results of their own as well as of competitors’ actions, e.g. the volume of demand for services, revenues, costs, the number of services provided or the price level on the market. You can watch more about the simulations on our YouTube channel.
Based on the results of the simulations as well as on the regulation of the Ministry of National Education of March 20, 2020, schools have now a basis for crediting students’ apprenticeships.
2. Select an annual subscription package
In order for the school to use the Business Simulation Games, first we need to specify the following information: the number of students who will take part in the games, number of industries (different games) and teachers to be trained for simulation instructors. Then, we prepare an annual subscription package for the institution. E.g. a mini package with 50 license keys for students, 1 type of simulation and 1 teacher to be trained for an instructor. We can also have all-inclusive option with unlimited use of all games. Detailed information about the packages is available through email – email@example.com.
3. Train teachers to become Revas Certified Business Simulation Instructors
Teachers will supervise the implementation of the internships in the form of a virtual business. Every school, when purchasing a package, may delegate specified number of teachers for the certified instructor training, which consists of three parts:
- Theoretical introduction.
- Practical training – a 4-hour online meeting, when teachers play the role of students and run virtual businesses so as to learn about the substantive scope and functionalities of the simulations
- Certifying exam.
4. Define the path of teacher’s involvement in the implementation of internships and apprenticeships
The path of the teacher’s involvement should be determined with the consideration of the curriculum in which Business Simulation Games are implemented. Basing on this curriculum, a decision will be made to pass the students’ internships.
5. Specify the basis for crediting the intern
Every teacher that uses simulations as a form of crediting the internship, should define both the basis for crediting the apprenticeship as well as the basis for issuing the grade for it. In its structure, the simulation contains a ranking of companies and two cards that simplify the evaluation:
- A scorecard that evaluates the performance of students and their virtual businesses every round. The scorecard may be compared to regular tests, as it assesses the student-led virtual enterprises every round in terms of finance, customer and employee satisfaction and business development.
- An accumulated scorecard that evaluates students throughout the whole game. This is the average of the scorecards for the rounds completed.
6. Set an internship schedule
Every teacher has the option of setting an internship schedule in their panel, i.e. the start and end dates of individual decision rounds. For example, if students are to complete a 4-week internship, then it is possible to spread the decision-making in the simulation, e.g. 1 round per week. At the previously specified time, students should meet in their teams, enter the simulation, analyze the data and make all of the required decisions.
7. Set up additional tasks
If the teacher decides that the content in the simulation is insufficient to credit the apprenticeship, they may introduce additional tasks for students that would complement the content resulting from the simulation. Here are some examples on how schools deal with this topic:
- In the Shipping Company simulation the students run virtual businesses. In the simulation itself, there is no possibility of issuing shipping documents, and the teacher would like the students to be able to issue such a document. Therefore, the teacher may ask the students to issue shipping documents for the services they offer in their virtual shipping company.
- The students of the gastronomic technical school started running virtual restaurants. They offer a variety of main courses. The teachers, wanting to introduce an additional skill to be trained, asked them to prepare the dish with the greatest demand.
- The school teaching about advertising chose an interactive agency as their virtual business. Students learned to run their own companies that they can start in the future. As an additional practical task, each of them was supposed to design social media communication for a potential client according to a brief prepared by the teacher.
8. Prepare required documents confirming the internship in the form of a virtual business
The confirmation can be prepared either in the form of screenshots taken from the student’s and instructor’s panel or, for institutions that has generating the report in their subscription package, in a report containing the following information:
- Name and surname of the Instructor (supervising teacher)
- The start date of the game
- The end date of the game
- The number of rounds played
- Name of the simulation (industry)
- The names of the teams and their scorecard results throughout the rounds
- Names and surnames of the students who are members of all teams
Business Simulation Games are tools allowing teachers to conduct classes but also internships in a practical way. The solution, during the first lockdown, was recommended by the Ministry of National Education of Poland, Polish EDC, the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education and GovTech Polska. The simulations also have a quality certificate issued by the Finnish institution that evaluates the quality of educational tools – Education Alliance Finland.