The Social Seducement project aims to develop the key competencies and skills of adults with disadvantages, and in particular those who are unemployed, to help them start up a collaborative enterprise.
The Social Seducement project was funded by Erasmus+ (2014-1-UK01-KA200-001830) and ran from 2014-2017. The aim of the project was to develop the key competencies and skills of adults with disadvantages, and in particular, those being unemployed, to help them start up a collaborative enterprise. We developed a serious online role play game with accompanying materials and piloted this in Italy, Spain, UK, Belgium and Sweden.
About Social Seducement
Between 2014 and August 2017 our partnership developed and tested a serious online role play game (SocialPlaNet) to support people with disadvantages to set up a social enterprise together. We believe that people with disadvantages, though sometimes struggling in the mainstream labour market, have much to offer European economies and societies. Collectively run social enterprises are one way in which work integration can happen and the risk of entrepreneurship be mitigated. And whilst the European policy context is very supportive of building entrepreneurial skills among all population groups, the stakeholder consultation we carried out highlighted a lack of learning programmes and absence of entrepreneurial culture as two key barriers for becoming (social) entrepreneurs. What is needed, in their views and in the views of VET and other training providers we surveyed, are training programmes that involve: skilled facilitation, training that is grounded in reality and that practices soft skills. This is what the game offers.
ContextThere is growing interest in the social economy as a contributor to economic growth and as a means to support social inclusion. Many consider the social economy as an important instrument for re-integrating people into the labour market and society, and for lifting individuals out of poverty. Some even go further and perceive this kind of enterprise in general as an alternative to a failing economic system. Likewise, gamified learning is increasingly being used to address learning needs. Social Seducement is developed at a time when long-term unemployment is growing across Europe and therefore innovative approaches to skills development, employment and business creation are needed.
- Developed and tested an online role-play platform, designed to discover, enhance and promote entrepreneurial skills
- Aimed to increase learning retention by immersing learners in realistic scenarios and challenges
- Enabled formal and informal learning that overcomes the boundaries of time and place
- Empowered learning in nonconventional methods making it more accessible to marginalised individuals
MethodologyA Theory of Change was developed for Social Seducement, and extensive background research was undertaken, including literature reviews, interviews with existing social enterprises across Europe and focus groups to test developments of the game throughout. The gaming platform was built and piloted across the five partner countries during Autumn 2016 to Spring 2017.Additional outputs produced include:
- A Game Rules and Roles Handbook
- A Facilitators’ Manual
- A Guide for piloting the game
ImpactA training week will be held for facilitators during October 2016 in Rome.The project intends to:
- Identify enablers & barriers to self-employment for individuals at risk of exclusion
- Engage and train 40 facilitators (game masters)
- Provide entrepreneurship training to at least 180 participants thorough a role-play online game
- Guide approximately 20 to 30 participants in starting their own collective social enterprises
- Build a sustainable system based on the EU Network of facilitators to assist people with disadvantages in starting a business
ResultsA number of European policy initiatives seek to build entrepreneurial skills, and the New Skills Agenda for Europe includes entrepreneurial competencies as the key set of skills everyone should have. The vast majority of VET and other training organisations in our five partner countries we surveyed considered ‘soft skills’ (such as the ability to organise oneself or teams; and interpersonal skills such as the ability to work in teams and capacity to listen) as most relevant to train. This was mirrored by the views expressed in our stakeholder consultation.And yet it is in these areas that local training provision is weakest. The SocialPlaNet serious online role play game, developed as a result of the Social Seducement project, wants to make a contribution to filling this gap. Testing the game with nearly 180 players in Italy, Spain, UK, Belgium and Sweden and assessing their learning gains through a rigorous before and after an evaluation showed that:
- Players’ awareness of social entrepreneurship increased significantly. The proportion of players who understand what it takes to set up asocial enterprise increased by 43 per cent; and the proportion intending to start a social enterprise increased by 16 per cent.
- The game produced statistically significant improvements in players’ self-efficacy. Improvements were most significant in assertiveness, confidence in dealing with unexpected events and problem-solving.
- Participation in the game also improved acquisition and application of digital competences.
In the words of players
“It was a great experience I have learnt a lot and found working with the team we all learnt some really good ideas from each other”.
“I learned many things that I was previously not aware of that I need to know to start a business”.
“I enjoyed the critical thinking. The process, if you seriously think about something, got the numbers right and as clear as possible”.
“I have got new skills now if I was going to start a social enterprise I have been given the opportunity to learn how to which I never had before.”You can read more about the game and project results on the Social Seducement website and download the reports we produced.