Presenting an Online Role Play Game as a Tool for Learning Social Enterprise Skills.
On 8 December, TIHR held a seminar organised by Liz Cory-Pearce in St Luke’s Community Centre in central London in which participants from a range of stakeholder and beneficiary groups were presented with a new online role play game. The game has been built as part of an Erasmus+ (EU) funded project, Social Seducement, involving six project partners across five countries, and using real life social enterprise case studies from each.
Participants came from voluntary and educational sector organisations, employment services and organisations, social enterprise development organisations, and organisations providing job skills training, in particular in social enterprise and for groups experiencing barriers to conventional education and employment routes. Staff from local social enterprise that support their surrounding community also attended, as did members of the local community looking to establish and build social enterprise.
We listened to expert speakers from serious gaming for learning and from social entrepreneurship training. Julian McDougall, Professor and Head of the Centre for Excellence in Media Practice, which specialises in digital literacies and pedagogies at the University of Bournemouth, spoke on how we can make use of digital practices including online gaming as forms of literacy and learning spaces with the potential to facilitate learner agencies, including in social enterprise. Ian Baker, Head of Learning Programmes at the School for Social Entrepreneurs (London), spoke on the School’s approaches to supporting entrepreneurship, and explored what personalities make for successful ‘social entrepreneurs’.
The seminar itself created an opportunity to bridge these areas of expertise by presenting a new serious role play game that creates an online platform for a more experiential learning of collective social enterprise skills, with the aim of growing the social economy. Participants were asked a number of questions, including what they thought of the game generally; who they thought the game would be useful for; and what they thought players would learn. They provided us with valuable critical feedback which will be incorporated into the game’s design and development going forwards. A number of key issues came up which were usefully explored, including discussion of the game’s effectiveness as a learning tool; its coherency as a learning pathway; and its usefulness for circumventing barriers to more conventional education and employment routes. Questions were raised regarding the target group, whether others might also benefit and could the game be taken up as a learning platform beyond its immediate target?
As a result of the event, discussions are taking place with potential partners for the future roll-out of the game beyond its next phase, the piloting. We are now entering the piloting phase for the project, with groups across the partner countries using the game to develop social enterprise skills and businesses. In the UK, we are piloting the game with partners including Waltham Forest Adult Learning, Cooltan Arts, the University of Essex and Doing Social. Interest in playing the game has been very high, but there is still a chance to get involved if you are unemployed and living in Waltham Forest.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details and to sign up. If you are an individual or organisation interested in using the game in the future, please contact: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are thrilled with the positive outcome of this event and would like to thank everyone who took part for their time, critical input and contacts. The interest expressed in the game reminds us not only of the considerable entrepreneurial energy that exists today, but also of an immense sense of social responsibility and human kindness.
Researcher / Consultant