Title Teacher training to improve attractiveness and quality of management education through the simulation tool ‘Emerald Forest’ (MST-EF)
Project Number 2010-1-LV1-LEO05-00896
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
Marketing Text The project MST-EF works on developing the use and application of an innovative simulation tool in management education by training the teachers. Management Simulation Tool ‘Emerald Forest’ (MST-EF) is an internet-based simulation with strong links to social media and the ‘real’ life situations developed at NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands. Participants joining the simulation work in teams and have to run the park called ‘Emerald Forest’, manage investments, costs, marketing, strategy and other aspects. MST-EF can be used in great variety of contexts to train and strengthen participants’ entrepreneurial, group work, creativity and other skills. It allows using different assignments and reaching various learning results in such subject areas as business, international marketing, PR, tourism and other. Project aims at transferring and adapting the management simulation tool to the project partnerinstitutions in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Bulgaria and Germany in order to improve the management training of people in HE and lifelong learning contexts, i.e. professionals, people already in the labour market.
The project MST-EF addresses the issue of training and practicing management skills which is a necessity in business and mainly in SME’s. Management training needs to be interdisciplinary, interactive, international and effective in the way of giving the trainees the necessary professional competences and understanding of management processes. The Management Simulation Tool ‘Emerald Forest’ which is being adapted and transferred to the project partnerinstitutions is a virtual, internet-based simulation which at the same time involves real-life group work in a highly competitive and interactive environment. The project is aimed at training the teachers in order to apply the tool in professional training in higher education and life long learning contexts. MST-EF provides the partners flexibility to produce new assignments and activities (user generated content) and integrate the tool in training various aspects of management in an attractive and stimulating way. The project has the following main objectives:
• Adapt MST-EF to the local situations and apply it in partnerinstitutions in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Bulgaria and Germany;
• Improve the tool with experiences and assignments from the partner countries and users;
• Develop and test a teacher training module and train teachers;
• Disseminate the information on the tool among prospective users, professionals, people already in the labour market.
• Develop exploitation plan for application of the tool in the management training.
Background and Necessity
All the partner countries which want to implement the tool have a crucial need for high level managers in various business fields in order to be competitive in European market and beyond, especially in this economically difficult time of world crises. A training which reflects a real life challenges can be very important to support small and medium size enterprises (SME’s). The university and other bodies who carry responsibility for lifelong learning require skilled staff to train the entrepreneurs and people in labour market. Apart from that, management training facilities need new impulses and initiatives in order to be more attractive and more connected to real-life setting and challenges.
In the project, the partnerinstitutions aim together at developing a management training programme that is more attractive, modern, practical and internationally oriented by a transfer of a management training tool developed in NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences. The transfer partner who has a great experience with this management tool applies the input of the partners to expand, adapt and improve the instrument and to involve in the long term other users to apply this training instrument. Implementation of new teaching methods and ways requires a lot of time, but nevertheless in the current situation there is a need for new tools in the present training of management specialists. We aim to be prepared to train teachers in order to offer the tool to be used by entrepreneurs of SME’s to improve their management competencies; to offer short training courses for companies and to stimulate women to attend management training. Investing in development of education and stimulating innovation and attention for management developments are very important for the present day global situation in various fields of management today.
Aim and objectives
The aim of the project is to transfer the Management Simulation Tool ‘Emerald Forest’ (MST-EF) from the Netherlands to the involved partnerinstitutions in order to support the development of management education. The project aims at reforming the existing management tool, adapting it to the local situations in the partner countries using the expertise of the tool developed in the NHTV. The specific objectives include:
- Development and testing of a train-the-trainer programme so that teachers learn how to apply the MST-EF instrument in an optimal way;
- Adaptation, improvement and expansion of MST-EF, including recommendations and assignments from the partners;
- Development of management training for staff of SME’s in the region of the partners;
- Stimulating entrepreneurs and students develop a more practical attitude in management;
- Development of intercultural competences;
- Stimulating international cooperation as MST-EF is web-based and participants from different countries and institutions can work together and apply this instrument, and they also learn to act in a strategic and economic way because of the competitive character that is built in;
- Planning on further implementation of the tool in partnercountries.
Improvement of management skills is related to aims of European Community. The EC stimulates improvement of linguistic competences, knowledge of cultures and religions, mobility and practical experience. The project is in line with Leonardo da Vinci priorities because the staff will be trained in order to offer higher quality professional management education. The project also aims at creating closer link between professional education and labour market, bringing those together in order to develop an effective training tool. The European added value is achieved through the intercultural aspect of the tool, practising of English, thus adding to internationalisation of the training, more professional communication with colleagues, more cooperation between the involved partners and entrepreneurs.
Management Simulation Tool ‘Emerald Forest’
The project is based on the experience, methodology and materials developed in NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands. This is a rather new approach of management education and training during which the participants have the possibility to cooperate in groups in a simulation of company management and develop their personal management and other competencies. This instrument is web-based and also enables international cooperation, knowledge of students about other cultures.
The instrument has been developed and tested and NHTV with different groups of students and can be adapted and applied in other institutions and settings. It is based on a holiday park called ‘Emerald Forest’ which has to be managed as a real company with real figures. Users have to think about staff, investments, strategy, marketing and advertising, action in a situation of crises etc. On the other hand, there are a lot of competitors in the market which pushes the participants to think how they can reach the desired results and not encounter financial losses of running their business. The tool is characterized by flexibility of application and assignments that can be used in each particular training occasion in various subject fields such as business, finance and accounting, international marketing, consumer behaviour, PR, tourism and services management and other. Therefore, it can be adapted and applied in all partnerinstitutions and serve various groups and purposes. During the project, the tool will be tested with different groups of participants in national and international settings. Partners will attract target groups of different experiences – students, young professionals. The outcomes will be discussed and applied to improve the instrument.
Consortium and Work packages
The consortium is established with partners from countries who will have profit of the development of an innovative and modern management training style. The consortium involves partnerinstitutions from the Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as Bulgaria and Germany. The project partners are all representing institutions which promote a professional aspect of education, are active in internationalization of their study environment and work in the area of life-long learning. For the purposes of dissemination, the project involves also a professional partner from the Netherlands and a professional association from Belgium.
The structure of the project ensures that all partners are actively involved in the execution of the project activities which are organized in 8 work packages:
1.Management and Coordination
2.Adaptation and Improvement of MST-EF
3.Teacher training programme to teach application MST-EF
4.Publicity and Acquisition
5.Test of MST-EF by teachers and users
6.Dissemination and valorisation of the results
7.Quality assurance and evaluation
8.Exploitation of MST-EF in the partnerinstitutions
Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities
Product information The main outcomes and products of the MST-EF project are the following: teacher training programme that can be used for educating teachers which will use MST-EF tool in training; improved manual for prospective participants; adapted and improved web platform containing resources and possibilities for implementation of the tool, as well as information on the project for dissemination; integrated study modules of MST-EF tool in the project partnerinstitutions; DVD to be used both for introduction of MST-EF and dissemination, brochure, film and articles for promotional purposes.