Biz-e-bee: serious game for testing entrepreneurial skills
Erasmus+ project SG4Adults developed a serious game to learn entrepreneurial skills: Biz-e-bee. In The Netherlands the game has been piloted amongst students at a bachelor's degree Social Work course, because entrepreneurship is a relevant topic for their future study and work.
Social workers have to deal with many different problems such as parenting issues, domestic violence, lack of money, poor housing, conflicts, psychological problems or a combination thereof. In training they learn how to find lasting solutions together with the client and in collaboration with other professionals. What do social work students need entrepreneurship for?
It is a sector where it is not usual to make money or even profit, but primarily to provide quality services in line with the needs of clients. They are usually not commercial organisations, though one efficiency drive after another and targeting on goals has been clearly increased in recent years. The vague character of the past has given way to SMART formulated goals nowadays. However, entrepreneurship often seems like a skill not valued.
Biz-e-bee is designed based on a needs analysis conducted in six countries to (further) develop entrepreneurial skills. 80-85% of the respondents mentioned as main skills: taking initiative, innovative capacity, responsibility, confidence, communication skills and problem solving skills. Followed closely by goal orientation, resilience, reliability and team building. Around these skills are assignments and exercises devised and incorporated into the game. Most of these skills are also mentioned in the Entrepreneurial Skills Pass. They also fit remarkably well with the profession of a social worker, although we see these not directly reflected in the Professional Social Work Code, published by the NVMW / BPSW.
The game Biz-e-bee has three levels, divided into three game boards: wanna bee (budding entrepreneur) working bee (working as an entrepreneur) and queen bee (born entrepreneur). Each level has its own questions and tasks. The rules may vary by level, at the discretion of the teacher / game leader. The object of the game is to finish on the highest level as soon as possible.
A strong business sector requires healthy companies with good management. This also applies to the social work sector. There is more attention to public tenders and the relationship with local authorities (procurement models), because that relationship is crucial for effective social work. They are working with financial indicators. Again, they are more aware on changes in the market: identifying market trends, insight into and identify the strategic implications of possible scenarios. Innovation, positioning and profiling are other important themes. However, these topics are getting too little attention in training.
Many game assignments we have been rewritten for social work students. Biz-e-bee offers the facilitators to add their own commands if they want. Thus, the students must examine examples about what they will do if they worked in home care after a while having to consider itself to establish a stepping stone house for elderly people with dementia. What is required to develop a successful business? What steps should you take them? And in what order? What is meant by a diversification strategy? What constitutes an underlying managerial reason? Why are volunteers important in working in the district? If a citizen wants to buy a course mindfulness on the market for well-being and happiness, for which course he will choose, if it is identical in all other respects to other offers? Does eating a dinner from the meals on wheels service after the tenth time taste better, less or still the same? Increasingly, the questions and commands result in strong discussions about social work. Here is playing, actually learning through play.
Biz-e-bee can be used in different ways during the training: such as a warming up for a module on business management and entrepreneurship, or as tool to get started discussions about social work, as a means to test knowledge and skills, to reflect strategic choices in the profession, or at the end of a module to test the knowledge gained. To maximize the learning effects, it is important to allocate sufficient time for the debriefing and to prepare this well depending on the selected target. The game can be played several times depending on the objective and the class time that is available. It takes approximately two hours from the first board to move to the next, so you can continue with a next level a few lessons later.
The social work students rated the game almost all positive and found it an effective way of learning. Even those who do not like to play naturally. Most have actively played. They said the rules are clear and the assignments are often challenging. It is not boring. "I was worried beforehand that it would be boring about entrepreneurship, economics and all that." "It was an inspiring experience." "Never thought social work and entrepreneurship as many had together!"
Author: Jumbo Klercq, project partner The Elephant Learning in Diversity.
Jumbo Klercq, director of Dutch consultancy agency The Elephant Learning in Diversity and secretary of the Dutch for international adult education Learn for Life, is involved in several European projects and writes for several blogs of EPALE-NL.
The Biz-e-bee game is available for free download at: http://sg4adults.eu/game.php
This article has been published via the blog of EPALE (Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe) at https://ec.europa.eu/epale/en/blog/biz-e-bee-serious-game-testing-entrepreneurial-skills
The article is also available in: NL