Webinar live blogging: A 3D virtual business simulation for experiential learning in first year accounting

As mentioned many a time on this blog, I do not post all the notes I make from webinars, reading and the like on here.  This is partly as they totally consumed my old blog and made more reflective posts difficult to find.

Anyway, I was up early today to attend a “Transforming Assessment” webinar from ascilite in Australia and thought I would post some thoughts here in real-time, [in brackets is me rather than session content].

  • [I have attended a few of this series and thought this one might be interesting in understanding what my organization’s grad hires might be expecting going forward].
  • [Business sims are, of course, tricky but they have the scope to really achieve practical learning].
  • [Quick screen shot at start – looks like using Second Life].
  • 800-1000 students per semester.
  • Title: “Accounting for Decision-Making”.  Not intended as a technical, debit/credit, course.  Instead focus on supporting business decision-making.
  • Includes face-to-face lectures and seminars and some traditional assessments.  However, reviewed course off back of some negative student survey feedback around engagement (business students not enjoying the accounting element and therefore not picking up the correct outcomes).
  • Therefore, try to get more active learning with students more actively participating.
  • Reviewed in 2015, including simulation and web based assessment – complete overhaul of lectures, seminars, etc. too, all with active learning focus.
  • Not off the shelf – worked with piersim.com/about : International Education Services who had used a 3D world for a number of years.  Collaborated with them to develop the world for their use.
  • Developed the Virtual Business Enterprise (VBE).  20 student operated businesses with a supporting central bank.  Students control a number of things, including product pricing.
  • App is available at all times, can plan work around the trading session.
  • http://pier-enterprise.com/
  • [ran through some of the functionality] VBE dashboard allows students to communicate, to view financial reports, manage their profile, select their ‘job’ in company.
  • To access the VBE requires download of the VBE Viewer.
  • What happens in a session: uses avatars, preplanned and agreed tasks as well as in-world decisions (buy inventory or not, pricing of products, advertising decisions).
  • Software based on OpenSim.
  • Once a week for six weeks: 50 min trading session within the world.
  • One student per group use avatar, others communicating and performing tasks on dashboard.
  • Use financial statement from each session to consider what to do for next.
  • VBE is a shopping mall [showed some screenshots].
  • Game elements – if do not trade then the character’s health drops.  Had a staff member in session to rejuvenate any character that died[!].
  • Want them to take risks and make decisions (based on the accounting information) in a safe environment.
  • Can go to bank and take loans if they think appropriate: balance repayments/interest rates/etc.
  • In world law court for dealing with disputes [sounded like quite a lot of logic behind it] – if you cut quality of products you can be sued via court.  The in-house staff member (‘controller’) decides as judge.
  • Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYDaYgt7i-M&feature=youtu.be – slower than real: is more frantic in the 50 minute trading sessions.
  • Assessment was linked to: business plan assignment combining lecture, tutorial and virtual world learning.
  • Business plan was to support a loan application on next 12 months worth of planning.
  • Induction session [https://www.facebook.com/uqbusiness/videos/988464357871851/] run for people on the VBE prior to first trade session.
  • Student feedback: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-y6WhIhrLc&feature=youtu.be : overall has gone well, with positive feedback, but not all students liked it – including due to technical problems.

Overall a good presentation and an interesting approach for trying to deliver the learning outcomes.