Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences will develop students' skills to solve problem situations through social simulations

In collaboration with Vilnius University (VU) and Tartu University (TU), Vidzeme University of Applied Science (ViA) researchers are launching the project on the use of social simulations in the study process. Using the simulation scenarios, which will be developed during the project, it is planned to improve students' abilities to solve non-standard situations, operate under uncertainty conditions and find creative solutions in complex problem situations, while lecturers will learn about creation and implementation of social simulations, as well as assessment of students' skills and competences.



The collaboration in framework of communication and media studies between lecturers and researchers of the three Baltic States higher education institutions has developed over the years by implementing various projects together. ViA initiated this project in order to give the university lecturers the opportunity to engage in professional development as well as to exchange experience with foreign academic staff. The European Commission has previously acknowledged that teachers in the European Union Member States can devote limited time to the development of their pedagogical skills, which creates the risk that learning methods, which promote student's active involvement in the study process, are not fully integrated into the studies.

Vineta Silkane, assistant professor and researcher at Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences, says that simulations are dynamic and complex real-life situations, and the aim of simulations is to enable participants to gain a diverse experience, apply their knowledge and skills, interact with other participants and play a role.

"Within simulations participants can respond to the situation, experience the consequences of their decisions, act in situations of risk and uncertainty, etc. Simulations allow to test and develop various competencies, such as leadership, decision-making, communication, conflict resolution, etc.," said Vineta.

The first meeting of project partners was held on March 21-22, 2019. The next project event is the practical training for lecturers on development of social simulations, which will take place in the beginning of July 2019 in Tartu, Estonia.

During the project period, starting from July 2019, a series of professional development activities for lecturers will be implemented, methodological materials for the use of social simulations in higher education, as well as a prototype for an interactive digital learning platform based on virtual reality solutions will be developed.

SimGames project will result in development of study methods that allow students to acquire skills and experiences for their career advancement through activities that are based around real-world problems in blended learning environment, and through meaningful application of digital tools.

The European Union Erasmus+ programme KA2 (Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices) Strategic partnership for higher education project “Simulation Games in  Strategic Communication” takes place from December 1, 2018 to May 31, 2021.

More about the project here.