Interdisciplinary Communication: Paving the Way for Gamification in Entrepreneurship Education – A Case Study From a Medium-Sized UK University

Interdisciplinary Communication: Paving the Way for Gamification in Entrepreneurship Education – A Case Study From a Medium-Sized UK University

Alicia Danielsson, Denis Hyams-Ssekasi
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-4287-6.ch016
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This chapter presents a collaborative autoethnography study whereby two academics at a medium-sized UK university explore their experiences of teaching entrepreneurship in different business and law school departments to combine expertise and resources to develop interdisciplinary gamification solutions. The combined experiential reflections have contributed to the generation of ideas that will prompt future interdisciplinary content to be created to bridge together fields such as business, social, legal, and technical studies. The chapter concludes that critical factors limiting developments in interdisciplinary entrepreneurship games include a lack of focus on entrepreneurial skills in departments within HEIs other than business schools and a lack of cross-departmental communication and collaboration. Although all the required expertise and resources are present within the university, a genuinely holistic approach can only be developed if innovative teaching tools combine multidisciplinary content from all faculties.
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The Covid-19 pandemic intensified and, in some cases, created many dynamics within higher education teaching. This chapter was prompted by two enhanced dynamics, namely, the sudden leap forward in the use of remote technology and the reduction of communication between academics, most notably between academics of different departments, due to the move to working from home and online teaching practices during times of lockdown and the social distancing measures in place which reduced social interaction to a minimum (Koren & Pető, 2020; Rashid & Yadav, 2020). As cross-departmental communication begins to re-emerge, it is important to communicate individual experiences and reflect on these collectively to restore inter-institutional synergies. As such, this chapter is the result of a collaborative effort to bring together the autoethnographic experiences of entrepreneurship teaching in order to develop strategies in the future that will ensure interdisciplinary needs of industry will be met moving forward: The concluding result of this study has been to develop cross-departmental, multidisciplinary entrepreneurship simulation games as a holistic and practical approach to entrepreneurship education.

In relation to the material scope of the proposed project on which the research of the chapter is based, the foundation of the project is found in the contemporary challenges to design an entrepreneurship education framework that is effective in driving enterprising skills and fostering entrepreneurship post graduating. Like any other taught disciplines in higher education institutions (HEIs), entrepreneurship education has become an essential element of the curriculum, a preparation for future careers and priority for the government. In recent times, higher education institutions have been grappling with the problem of engaging learners in their acquisition of new knowledge and relevant skills. Facilitated activities where students visit new ventures, indulge in business plan competitions, elevator pitch contests, start-ups competitions that are judged by ‘dragons’, placements and internships, and business consultancies through working with businesses under supervision have been adopted (Vanevenhoven & Drago, 2015).

Wilson (2011) identifies that most successful courses in developing professional skills include activities such as simulations and games, interactive teamwork, and group activities. Mason and Rennie (2006) the use of innovative methods such as gamification and virtual reality do improve the teaching quality and effectiveness. In relation to the issue of gamification, it needs to be noted that the type of game genres which are considered to be serious games is debated within the literature, with little consensus. For instance, Annetta (2010) distinguishes between serious games, simulations, serious educational games, and virtual worlds. Here, serious games on the one hand, are described as digital games which have been designed to educate players by teaching and training specific skills. Serious educational games (SEGs), on the other hand, require an additional layer of academic content. Simulations are described as a form of SEGs, yet without the element of scorekeeping. However, in contrast Hays (2005) claims that simulations which contain certain features, for instance certain challenges or competitions would also fall under the umbrella-term of games, while simulation games which have the purpose of instructing and supporting learning outcomes and aims would most likely be categorized as serious games. Virtual worlds, while still related to the category, are more likely to describe a related tool for gamification, namely a form of virtual three-dimensional environment in which players interact (Almeida & Simoes, 2019). For this chapter, it is important to note, that all the above categories are viewed as forms of gamification, as they all contain some of the key interactive components, regardless of the sub-categories the described tools could be placed.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Law: The subject discipline and profession which is concerned with customs, rules, and practices of conduct within a community, which are considered binding within said community, and the enforcement of the totality of the rules by authorized authorities.

Simulations: A model or representative example of something that reflects the real-life dynamics in a simplified, yet realistic manner.

Higher Education Teaching: The teaching that takes place at university or third level education after someone leaves school and usually refers to both undergraduate and postgraduate studies.

Autoethnography: A research method involving self-reflection that aims at drawing on one’s own lived experience to impart knowledge, whereby the researcher is also the research subject.

Business Studies: The academic subject discipline which involves the study of economics and management, in particular as an educational topic.

Collaborative Autoethnography: A multivocal research approach whereby two or more researchers work collaboratively to share their personal stories and reflect on and interpret the pooled autoethnographic data.

Multidisciplinary Education: The teaching and learning of a topic from the perspectives of more than one discipline.

Serious Games: Games which are considered “serious”, which can include both physical as well as digital games, of which the purpose is to educate and train rather than merely to entertain.

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