Serious Games as a learning tool for management and defense students

Business schools and military academies are well known for using the most innovative techniques to make their students the most skilled and competitive players in their future work environments. Both managers and military leaders will have to adopt key decisions with little or no space for mistakes. To achieve such skill and the confidence needed, practice is the key.

While case studies or experiences explained by the teacher are a good but limited way to transfer previous experiences to students, Serious Games have become a great tool to prepare managers-to-be for their professional career.

ESADE Business School and Carol I National Defense University have been working on Serious Games as partners of the European funded GALA Project. As their study shows, the pedagogical use of computer-based games could enhance problem solving competences, decision making, knowledge transfer and meta-analytic skills.

This statement, first placed in 2004 by Kirriemuir & McFarlane, has motivated leading institutions like Harvard Business School to include Serious Games in their programs and is gaining adepts through the educative community.

ESADE and the Carol I National Defense University researchers Mireia Usart, Margarida Romero and Maria Magdalena Popescu have also developed a program of their own, in this case to teach management students to differentiate assets from liabilities but, at the same time, build their self-confidence and self-esteem through a collaborative and competitive approach.

The game, named MetaVals, has been tested with students and teachers to change the relations involved in the learning process, showing excellent results boosting their interest and engagement through competition and collaboration, two of the main challenges they will face in the future.

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