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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best entertainment magazine in the UK“, JJ Barnes checks out some of the online business games that make finance and business skills fun!
Written by JJ Barnes
The world of finance and business can often be feel dry and complicated, especially if you’re an arty brained person like me, meaning lots of us turn away from learning about them. The problem is, if you’re an arty brained person who’s also trying to run a business like me, not being good at learning about finance and business can be a real problem!
However, a new trend has emerged in the world of financial education that gives people like me an access point to something that has previously felt too daunting – playing business-themed games online!
Gamification of Learning
Gamification means using games as educational content, making it an interactive and enjoyable experience. Schools have been doing this with spellings and maths for years, and my children often have games as part of their homework, but now it can be applied to more adult concepts too. When it comes to finance and business concepts, gamification makes it easier for people like me to grasp complex financial principles.
Games use engaging storytelling, interactive challenges, and rewards to motivate players, and when you experience financial scenarios in a game’s virtual world, you’ll gain practical knowledge and problem-solving skills that can be applied in real world situations.
For instance, take this coffee shop game. To gain points and keep your coffee shop business going, you have to keep your customers satisfied by providing enough coffee that tastes good. This means you have to manage the inventory, budget the cashflow, set the pricing, adjust the coffee formula, and plan to maximize day to day earnings. You even have to learn to adjust the business based on the weather because in this game the demand for coffee goes up in it’s cold outside, and down when it’s warm.
Described like this it might seem overwhelming and complicated, but when you’re playing it kind of goes in like osmosis. You absorb it by working out you need to have enough milk and sugar in stock to keep the coffee tasting good, and budget for enough coffee to stay open long enough, so the customer satisfaction stays high enough that you can keep your business open.
One of the greatest advantages of playing business-themed games online is the risk-free environment they provide. In real life, financial decisions can be too daunting because you’re scared of making mistakes and losing money. This fear can put people off exploring and experimenting with investments or entrepreneurial ventures, and potentially means you’ll lose out on a brilliant opportunity.. However, games offer a safe space to take calculated risks without any actual financial repercussions. Players can learn from both their successes and failures, gaining valuable insights and developing financial acumen without the stress of financial losses.
For instance, with this stocks and shares game, you trade and try to make a profit depending on the market movement but without any danger of going bankrupt. Hit the buy and sell button as the value of your stocks go up and down, and try to make a profit. If, like me, you’ve always been curious about the world of stocks and shares, but too scared to dip your toe in, this is a fun way of finding out if you’ve got any instinct risk free!
Competitive Spirit and Collaboration
Business-themed games often incorporate elements of competition, pitting players against each other to achieve specific objectives or reach financial milestones. The competitive spirit drives players to strategize, analyze data, and make calculated moves to outperform their opponents. This healthy competition fosters a sense of excitement and determination, motivating players to delve deeper into financial concepts to gain a competitive edge, and can definitely encourage you to think of ways to outperform your competition in real life too.
Many online games also encourage collaboration and teamwork, encouraging you to work together as a team toward common goals. By taking part in this kind of collaborative play, you can learn interpersonal skills, such as negotiation, communication, and teamwork, which are so important in real world business. I know that my team are essential for me if I’m ever going to achieve any kind of success, and anything that teaches us to be a stronger unit has to be a good thing.
Instant Feedback and Progress Tracking
In business-themed games, players receive instant feedback on their decisions and actions. Whether it’s a financial simulation or a virtual business management game, players can see the consequences of their choices immediately. This quick feedback loop reinforces learning and helps players refine their decision-making skills. Additionally, many games offer progress tracking, allowing players to monitor their growth and improvement over time, providing a sense of accomplishment and motivation to continue learning.
For example, in this supermarket game, if you manage to keep on top of restocking and taking payments, you’re rewarded with points and continued gaming. Just like in real business, there is loads of things happening all at once, and it’s constantly changing so you have to pay attention all the time. Keeping up with all the different elements is a real challenge. By rewarding you for being able to monitor all things, all the time, you can easily transfer those skills to your real work and never lose track of all the challenges of business.
Exploration of Different Financial Scenarios
Business-themed games often feature diverse financial scenarios, so you can explore various aspects of finance and entrepreneurship and learn from all of them. From managing budgets, making investment decisions, or running a virtual business, you’ll get exposure to multiple aspects of finance in a dynamic and interactive manner. These experiences will widen your understanding of financial concepts and make you feel far more confident when it comes to navigating real life financial challenges.
Bridge the Generational Gap
Older generations who grew up before the internet and digital technology were so prolific are going to be much more confident with traditional learning, whereas their younger counterparts are more likely to be turning to modern styles of learning. This generational gap can make communicating about finance and business tricky.
Playing business-themed games online can also bridge the generational gap and provide a common ground for different generations to engage in financial discussions, share insights, and learn from each other’s experiences.
My children are always interested in the work we do, and ask a lot of questions. I’d love for them to be better than me, and achieve more, and games are a great way of teaching them about the world of business and finance in a way that is completely accessible to them, even at such a young age.
In a world where financial literacy is essential for personal and economic well-being, finding innovative and engaging ways to learn about finance is crucial. Business-themed games played online offer a unique and enjoyable approach to understanding financial concepts, even for someone who struggles with it in real life, like me!
By gamifying financial education, it becomes fun, interactive, and accessible to people of all ages, but the benefits of playing business-themed games online even extend beyond entertainment. You’ll learn practical financial knowledge and decision-making skills, and gain a real a sense of confidence to navigate the complexities of the financial world. Embrace the power of gamification, and embark on an exciting journey to financial literacy through business-themed games!
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