Training on Social Economy Entrepreneurship: Social PlaNet

Training on Social Economy Entrepreneurship: Social PlaNet

Natalia Padilla-Zea (Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR), Logroño, Spain), Stefania Aceto (Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR), Logroño, Spain) and Daniel Burgos (Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR), Logroño, Spain)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/JITR.2020070110
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Abstract

Social PlaNet is a gamified learning platform to train social economy entrepreneurship, which has been developed in the Social Seducement Erasmus+ project. The main aim of this project is offering a labour option to long-term unemployed people in scenarios with poor working offers by promoting self-employment and local development. As a result of the shared work of partners from different disciplines, Social PlaNet has been developed based on the selection of a good pedagogical approach, the challenges of managing disadvantaged groups of people and the need to increase motivation while keeping the process similar to reality. From this research, the gamification approach inserted in a graphic scenario has been revealed as a good option to promote the acquisition of soft and inter-personal skills. Furthermore, the figure of facilitator is a engine to foster, guide and monitor the group of these groups of potential social entrepreneurs.
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1. Introduction

During the economic crisis that Europe has suffered since 2008, a great number of citizens lost their jobs, meaning that 24% of the EU population was at risk of social exclusion in 2011. Moreover, the 2016 report from the European Commission revealed that, in the third quarter of 2015, the rate of long-term unemployment reached almost 18% of the labour force in countries like Greece (European Commission, 2016). And integration of long-term unemployed people has been a goal in the 2015-2018 period (European Commission, 2018). In this scenario, one of the most promising alternatives that unemployed people can take is self-employment.

On the other hand, social economy is a different kind of economy, where the activity ‘refers to not-for-profit activity geared towards meeting social needs’ (Amin, 2003). Thus, social economy intends to give opportunities to local people, and at the time, the community benefits. In addition, social economy has been gaining momentum in European and national-based policies as a means to complement the decreasing offer of public services caused by severe budget cuts related to the economic crisis.

‘Many consider the social economy as an important instrument for re-integrating people into the labor market and into society and for lifting persons out of poverty. Some go even further and perceive this kind of enterprise in general as an alternative to a failing economic system. (...) For a long time, the issue was dealt with predominantly in the framework of policies1 linked to social inclusion and creation of employment. The focus, however, was above all on employment created for rather than by disadvantaged persons’ (Junge, 2015). Since the late ’90s, social economy’s active role has been acknowledged as a proactive contributor to the creation of employment (see, for instance, Toia, 2008; European Commission 2011; European Commission 2011b).

However, although engagement of EU with entrepreneurship and, also, with social economy entrepreneurship is more than clear, people in disadvantages find problems to run their own enterprise. Additionally, focusing on people with a large period of inactivity includes another challenge: avoiding demotivation and loss of self-esteem. Many are the training initiatives active at local level throughout EU countries to support the acquisition of competences to create and run successfully an enterprise, and most of them are featured by a traditional, classroom and teacher-centred based approach. One of the risks related to such an approach is the loss of motivation as the learner does not feel to “own” his/her learning process. One of the ways to manage this situation is including gamification techniques (Deterding, 2015), which consists in using elements from games in not-fun environments. Some of the most known gamification techniques are rewarding expected behaviours, including a rank with the top X best rewarded users or using badges, for example. In the review developed by Dichev and Dicheva (2017), it can be seen how gamification has been used in several areas to improve motivation: health, education, business, etc.

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