Deakin Business School students are now able to gain key business skills through a cloud-based business simulation game where players run a virtual company and compete for the highest profit margin.
This year, the school’s Department of Accounting incorporated a powerful and innovative business-training platform – MonsoonSIM – into its undergraduate capstone unit Accounting and Society.
Director of Teaching Dr Luckmika Perera says the program plays a key role in students’ learning as it pits their accumulated classroom learning against the everyday realities of operating a business.
‘The MonsoonSim gaming platform is based on the commonly-used Enterprise Resource Planning Platform functionalities. The simulation is set as an assessment task which carries significant percentage of the overall grade for the unit,’ he explains.
Launched in Trimester 1, MonsoonSIM was introduced to address some of the gaps in current educational models which tend to only provide an abstract view of the actual business environments.
‘By providing a gaming simulation program, we provide experiential learning which engages the student to “experience” the actual dynamics of running a business in a fun and friendly, competitive environment. We wanted to be innovative in how we engage with our students and provide a true learning experience through applied practical learning,’ says Dr Perera.
MonsoonSIM does this by combining different types of learning in a single experiential platform which enables students to learn and apply real-world business skills in a safe environment.
‘It can be customized to cater for different stages of a business, ranging from small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) to large enterprises (corporates),’ he explains. ‘The students have the opportunity to grow their business from an SME to a large enterprise and experience the different dynamics that each of those different organizations have to face in their operations.’
As well as providing work-integrated learning, one of MonsoonSIM’s important features lies in its ability to facilitate strong team dynamics.
Working in teams, students must learn to communicate with their team members as they manage and delegate the tasks that are necessary to run a successful business.
‘This is absolutely crucial,’ says Dr Perera. ‘Operating a business is not only about the practical aspects of applied knowledge, but also the soft-skills that are required to deal with different people within the business. The program also encourages the development of entrepreneurial skills. The simulation perfectly combines the two aspects, subject knowledge and soft-skills – specifically, team management, people skills and some degree of entrepreneurship.’
So far, the student feedback has been extremely positive with students reporting that their real-life business skills have been consolidated while also learning how team dynamics affect performance.
Acknowledging the significant contribution of his colleagues, Dr Christine Contessotto and Assoc. Prof. Joanne Locke (unit chairs for Accounting and Society), Dr Perera says that the Department of Accounting will continue exploring and introducing cutting-edge programs to address the changing business environments faced by graduates.
‘The introduction of this gaming platform was a result of understanding the changing dynamics and being proactive in our approach to teaching and learning. The future of education would be geared towards experiential learning and work integrated learning and our department is in the forefront of innovating and evolving in the ways we provide opportunities for student learning.’