Game-based learning for social entrepreneurship

Game-based learning for social entrepreneurship

The Social Seducement experience.


29 January 2018

The Social Seducement experience.

The Social Seducement project has now closed, and we are happy to be sharing the results of three years’ research and development work.

About three years ago the Social Seducement partnership (led by Tavistock Institute with Coompanion, Ecobyte, Le Mat, REVES, UNIR), funded by the Erasmus + programme, set off on an ambitious journey: to develop a serious online role play game which trains people facing disadvantages in the labour market learn how to set up a collective social economy enterprise.

We started off with clear ideas about some of the cornerstones of what we wanted to achieve: we wanted to develop a game where players can bring the full extent of their experience and backgrounds but in an ‘alternative reality’ where risk taking is a bit easier; we wanted a game that is played in a group –  so that players could help each other and some of the risks of starting a business is shared; we wanted to focus on the process of setting up (rather than running) a business and through the game equip players with some hard and soft skills (knowledge, skills, behaviours). We were also clear that a facilitator was going to be required to support the group. The overall objective: to teach gamers new skill and improve their entrepreneurial potential!

The background research we carried out at the beginning of the project, surveying training and employment organisations across the five partner countries (Belgium, Italy, Spain, Sweden, UK) confirmed that there was a lack of local training provision on some of the soft skills we wanted to train with the game, and our search for similar games showed that there was not very much that focused on social entrepreneurship and the start-up process.

So our vision received some empirical confirmation, and we set off on a challenging process of developing a very innovative online game which had to square a lot of circles: focusing on process, being relevant across national boundaries, offering some ‘hard’ knowledge on social entrepreneurship whilst developing the crucial soft skills not often trained; incorporating the role of a facilitator; and enabling players to write a business plan at the end of the game. And it should be fun too!

Numerous consultations and a training week for facilitators later we were ready to pilot the game with nearly 200 players in our five countries.  We diligently evaluated the results, and learned that… Players had fun!

However, that was not all. Our game, which we called SocialPlaNet, is demanding: it simulates a start up process, so requires a lot of players in terms of concentration and engagement with the technology and each other. However, probably because it is so demanding players get a lot out of it: they are much more able to understand what it takes to start a social enterprise, more are intending to start one than before they had finished the game. And our pilot players showed statistically significant increases in some key markers important for social entrepreneurship, such as the ability to deal with unexpected events, problem solving and handling unexpected events.

We are excited and encouraged by those results and would like to thank all the facilitators, players, experts, friends and wider stakeholders who have contributed to the project over its duration.

We have worked hard to raise awareness of the game and its results in different settings so that more people and organisations can benefit from the experience and will continue to make use of dissemination and other opportunities.

You can read more about the game and project results on our website and download the reports we produced.

PDF describing the game and results is here.

You can access the game and relevant material here.

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