The project’s aim was to improve the business competences of students with regard to agricultural vocational education by means of an online training game. The project’s most important output was the serious game Agropoly, which was organised within a virtual space where students’ business competences and capabilities may be developed through gaming experiences. The game presents students with a story, which also served as a motivational tool, with the project’s products made available in partner institution languages (HU, CZ, ES, RO, and EN).
The project essentially targeted VET agricultural students, teachers teaching business subjects, and educators and professionals specialised in gamification. Target students comprised of those between the ages of 14-18 years, with the project having focused primarily on the 17-18 age group. Agropoly was developed through the participation of 80 teachers (of which 35 belonged to the 35-45 age group, while 55 were over the age of 45). In total, there were 600 students who were involved in the project’s implementation. Following the project’s completion, several schools (HU, CZ, RO) indicated that their students were keen on using the education game developed by the project (which was provided for free) – including students from the University of Taiwan, who expressed their desire for future collaboration.
The virtual education game also served as a tool for motivating students, with their necessary business competences and capabilities developed as they played Agropoly. The game itself is based on a storyline where the player owns a farm, and must ensure the farm’s success by making appropriate business-savvy decisions, which scores the player reward points. Through the collection of points, the player also formulates the virtual space towards the creation of something unique. The project’s implementation focused on the development of a number of business competences, such as facing risks and taking responsibility (conflict management, learning from mistakes, stress management, organising, delegation of tasks, project management); decision making, planning, leadership, (problem solving, change management, strategic thinking, analytical thinking); team building, cooperation, networking, communication (motivation, customer orientation, conflict solving, adaptability, negotiation, intelligibility, tolerance, inspiration/motivation); innovation and creativity (customer orientation, analytical thinking, idea generation, openness to changes, self-development); time management and planning (flexibility, strategic thinking, self-control); and, information and process analysis (summarising, implementation, holistic thinking, analytical thinking, self-assessment, information management, evaluation). The application of gamification-based learning in the teaching process was itself a new approach for both teachers and students; furthermore, an important and consciously designed element of the game was to allow players as much time as they needed in order to arrive at a solution. This allows all players to have the opportunity to successfully complete all tasks, regardless of time constraints. The Teachers’ Manual provided useful advice on the selection of suitable “mini-games” so as to develop different competencies. The developed interface also included board games, where players can play against the computer, with the game also having been included as part of the classwork session, where teams could also compete against each other to demonstrate their acquired knowledge.
The penetration of gamification in education is an innovation that requires a new approach right at the beginning of the design phase. The design of Agropoly’s virtual space relied on the results of more than 300 questionnaires, and in order to successfully integrate the game into the curriculum, more than 30 teachers worked on knowledge bases, mini-games, decision trees, and board games. IT developers also contributed through several innovative ideas towards overcoming emerging issues.
Initially, the project represented a major challenge for teachers from almost every partner country. The project required that they develop their own digital skills, which, for many, was the first gamification-based teaching tool they had encountered. The majority of teachers were +45 years of age, and the use of tools was gradually introduced to them within the framework of group presentations. A number of teachers of specific subjects opted to only use parts of the game during their lessons.
The project’s main impact was the introduction of gamification as a new learning method in agricultural vocational training. The project’s impact was manifested in the partnership, schools and other institutions that were included into the project: students were familiarised with a new approach to learning, while for the vast majority of teachers, the project presented them with their first opportunity to use this innovative method.
- Project locations
- Project category
- VET schools
- Project year
Česká zemědělská univerzita v Praze
FM Közép-magyarországi Agrár-szakképzö Központ, Bercsényi Miklós Élelmiszeripari Szakgimnázium, Szakközépiskola és Kollégium
Fundacion Hazi Fundazioa
Fundația Centrul Educațional Spektrum
PROMPT-H Számítástechnikai Oktatási, Kereskedelmi és Szolgáltató Kft.
XXI INVESLAN, S.L.