Virtonomics: Business Simulation Platform for Education

Virtonomics: Business Simulation Platform for Education

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Amy C. Edmondson

Virtonomics is a strategic online business game that gathers over 1 million players worldwide. A virtual economy, fully populated by sentient people – businessmen and businesswomen, entrepreneurs, university and college students and overall smart individuals forming a friendly, business oriented community since the game was released in 2006 , December 11. Players are keen to share their knowledge and experience, explain how to implement successful business strategies and grow your company exponentially.

The new players who are joining the Virtonomics are related to business industry at some point. We do have business subject students from universities joining our game to gain some practical experience as well as entrepreneurs simulating their possible business idea. Some academics are playing this game and testing this business simulation platform with the vision to apply it in the lectures at universities. Business experts are playing this game out of curiosity and to measure their skills.

Virtonomics

The game unifies multi-tiered business and company management simulation (17 interconnected main business processes, 141 subsidiaries), multidimensional global business simulation (25 industries, 203 products to produce, 33 countries, 300 cities), social simulation (gives you an opportunity to try different roles while managing virtual business) and virtual economy. In general, Virtonomics was created and is developed as a business and economy environment simulation, which can be used for the development of practical and business orientated skills. Differently from the classic business teaching approach, Virtonomics allows you to understand and interactively study business as a system, seeing not only structural elements (standard management processes like marketing, finance, HR, etc.) but also the connections between them (typically, these can be seen only after gaining practical experience).

There are many great examples of Virtonomics game being implemented into education processes. Gamification in education is being used by Daniel L. Simonds Jr. He is the teacher from United States of America who used the system to teach the principles of economics. The course is an economics survey course for ESL (English as a Second Language) students, and Virtonomics is incorporated into the business unit.  During that time the students run the business for 1 year in the Virtonomics world. Students had to create a business empire over a 52 day period and needed to provide feedback on their decisions, the techniques they are using and applying it to economics theory. Every 13 days they had to prepare a shareholders report that includes important information about their company and data such as balance sheets, income statements etc which they used to form charts and graphs.  The students also present a final annual report to the class.

Recently, we have launched the startup and called it Simformer. We used the idea of business simulation game and adapted it for corporate and academic industries. Basically, Simformer unites the modern education system with a unique, multi-user business-simulation environment with flexible settings for courses and training programs. Educators, instructors and corporate trainers have an opportunity to expand their technology tools, as well as promote their products through Simformer Marketplace.

Image credit: Wikipedia

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