Applying project training in teaching young people entrepreneurship

The Bulgarian Memory Foundation, together with VŠĮ “Probleminiu mokymo institutas” implement the Erasmus +, Strategic Partnership project “Application of Project Training in Teaching Young People on Entrepreneurship” (2017-1-BG01-KA205-035758). The goal of the project is to adapt the project-based learning strategy to teaching young people entrepreneurship by giving them the opportunity to learn entrepreneurship in accordance with the requirements of modern didactics. On 2017, November 21-27.   Mikas Balkevičius, Božena Karveliene, Juozas Rėkus, Agnė Vernickaitė and Arnas Kukujevas  participated in the project training course for young people in Sofia (Bulgaria). During the courses, expert of problem-based Mikas Balkevičius introduced the participants of the course with Problem-based learning and project-based learning methodologies: modern philosophy of learning, problems’ designining, information research, strategy development, and reflection methodologies.

The duration of the project is almost two years (2017-2019). Within the project there are planned 3 international  training mobilities for young people  about  modeling, adapting and testing the PBL learning strategy by learning the basics of entrepreneurship. The project intends to develop methodological materials for teaching entrepreneurship in accordance with the methodology of PBLand to virtualize it.

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Blended mobility of Youth

On 2018 June 7-14  15 participants form Lithuania (PBL Institute) and 15 participants from Bulgaria took part in the Blended mobility  in Sofia, where they tried-out PBL methodology for learning of different entrepreneurship competences.

During the programme they tried-out the different PBL methodologies like game-based learning, group-based learning and team-based learning.

​The following topics  of entrepreneurship they are focused on:

  • Generating a business idea;
  • Market research – gathering information about the future market of the product/service that will be offered; opportunities and challenges;
  • Institutional and procedural steps for starting a business;
  • Finding and gathering a financing;
  • Finding resources – materials, human capital, etc.;
  • Mission, vision and goals of the business;
  • Marketing strategy;
  • Business ethics;
  • Corporate social responsibility;
  • Patent and copyright of the newly created product.

At the begining of  training learners were involved into the number of ice-breakers and energizers were had opportunity to acknowledge each other: names, birth-dates, life-stories. Participants also have participated in educational game “Monologue VS Dialogue”, where experienced peculiarities of monological, dialogical and polilogical communication. The game was implemented using different communication approaches by sitting back-to-back  and face-to-face positions – in pairs and groups. This game helped them to understand how’s important communication position and learning spaces in education.

Also youngsters participated in practical workshop “Vero Tea(m)” where had opportunity to try-out their creative skills by  creating different innovative tea from the different provided ingredients. This workshop demonstrated, that every person can be a creator and innovator if open minded and right communication dispositions possessed in the process of education.

Also learners tried to perform different business ideas by applying Game-based learning. Every team performed different business organizational situations where different routine problems where solved. Afterwards they participated in the art sessions where process of game and business ideas were visualized.

On the second day of the programme participants experienced  the second collaborative strategy of PBL – group-based learning: they explored their business insights in depth by researching technological learning objects of possessed  business’ ideas. During group-based learning sessions they learned how to proceed with information research in PBL; learned about knowledge management basic issues; acknowledged importance of active discussions and sharing of information during group-based learning; During the lecture session invited speecher instructed them on gaining funding resources for start-ups and business development.
​During the third day of the programme learners visited Business Park of Sofia, where were introduced with different schemes of development of entrepreneurship competences of youngsters in Bulgaria. Representatives of business park demonstrated advanced business infrastructures and laboratories, learning spaces for development of entrepreneurship competences of youngsters.  Also learners were involved into information research process, by researching of major entrepreneurship topics as well participated in painting sessions were they visualized group working process in terms of interactions, groups’ spirit and groups’ dynamics issues.
At the final days of the programme participants explored Canvas Business Model, trying out to create their business plans for the initial entrepreneurship ideas. Groups of learners explored information and filled out templates of Canvas Business models. Also represented them to their colleagues. Also learners had interesting lecture on creativity provided by invited speecher. At the end all artistic work related to Game-based learning, Group-based learning and Team-based learning were presented as well as elaborated initial business ideas. Consequently – certificates were delivered and smiles exchanged.
Projekto fasilitatorių mokymas

2018 m. lapkričio 19-26 dienomis Vilniaus kolegijos projektų vadovas, PBL Instituto direktorius Mikas Balkevičius ir lektorius Arnas Kukujevas, mokytoja Agnė Vernickaitė, suaugusiųjų švietėjai – Božena Karvelienė ir Juozas Rėkus  dalyvavo “Erasmus plus” programos, strateginių partnerysčių projekto “EntrepreneurshipXchange through project-based learning” (2017-1-BG01-KA205-035758) stažuotėje, Sofijoje (Bulgarija).

Stažuotės metu buvo mokomi Lietuvos ir Bulgarijos jaunimo darbuotojai probleminio ir projektinio mokymo fasilitacijos pagrindų: kurti projektiniam mokymuisi metodinę medžiagą, vadovauti ir vertinti grupes bei komandas mokymosi metu. Projekto metu apmokyta daugiau kaip 20 fasilitatorių bei 30 jaunų žmonių dirbti dirbti pagal probleminio ir projektinio mokymosi metodikas; pritaikyta speciali projektinio mokymosi metodika verslininkiškumo mokymui(si).Projektą parėmė Bulgarijos “Erasmus+” Nacionalinė agentūra. Projektą administruoja Bulgarijos atminties fondas. Projekto partneriai yra VŠĮ “Probleminio mokymo institutas” ir Vilniaus kolegija (asocijuotas partneris).Projektų vadovas
Mikas Balkevičius

Educational game “Invaders”

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Educational game “Invaders” is for promoting learners cooperation and argumentation skills. The aim of the game to foster learners argumentation, persuasion, reasoning skills. 

Context of the game:

Your country is about to attack the enemy army, which sends its messengers: the ministers of economy, education, transport, culture, environment. Accordingly, the State which is preparing to attack sends its representatives – in the same areas as the enemy’s messengers. The goal of the game is to persuade representatives of the warring state that cooperation in various fields is better than warfare. Therefore, every minister tries to defend his position – why should not / should war be? Representatives of the target country must present the benefits of such cooperation. Accordingly, opponents of the war-torn state must find arguments why warfare is the best way out?
Remark: Recommended to select the other states than native in the game  to avoid tensions between learners in learning process.

​The game procedure is performed as follows:

1. Two groups (learners from different countries) are aligned to one large circular or oval table;
2. The fighter launches a soundtrack on the theme of war and says the opening words: “The State preparing for the war has sent its messengers …., who have driven the hostile and unilateral demands for capitulation. However, the friendly state has delegated its representatives who are inclined to persuade their opponents not fight to cooperate in finding the best solution for everyone”;
3. Each minister and the opposing groups start a dialogue in an attempt to persuade him to justify his position;
4. The Minister of Education seeks to persuade a model model of an education system that can function better without any military engagement, by shifting innovation to a hostile state education system;
5. The Minister of Economics must convince the hostile Minister of the Economy that the conversion of the resources available would be a much more advantageous solution than warfare for the destruction of part of the infrastructure;
6. The Minister of Transport has to prove that logistics cooperation can be much more valuable than bombing strategic communications networks and airports;
7. The Minister of the Environment must highlight and justify the damage to the environment and the ecosystem of war;
8. The Minister of Culture has to convince the progressiveness of the country’s cultural life and its mutual cultural benefit without sacrificing it;
9. Facilitator after listening to the arguments of both groups. initiates a general discussion of the arguments put forward;
10. Both groups watch the short film (Up to 15 – 20 min.) about World War II and share their experiences – how did the war affect culture, economy, education, logistics and the environment?


Game-based learning facilitation

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Within the project three types of collaborative approaches applied: Game-based learning, Group-based learning and Team-based learning. All three learning strategies are complementary. Therefore recommended to be applied synchronically.

Facilitation of Game-based learning in educational settings at first glance was not an easy process, however, when it all started everything went qualitatively smoothly. ​

​Facilitators where introduced with game-based learning definitions, main characteristics and types of games. Three major types of games were emphasized: Simulation games, Discovery games and Decision making games.

Discovery games are important in PBL for:

  • ​Retaining certain information from long-term memory;
  • Researching information on certain learning object by playing in
  • certain environment (real or virtual);
  • Provocation of learners for a better brainstorming the ideas;
  • Games for creative thinking and creation acts;
  • Creation of “Thinking out of the box“ learning mentality.


​Simulation games are important in PBL for:

  • Simulation particular business situation;
  • Personification / visualization of product or process;
  • Using humor in situations – creating comics;
  • Using drama in situation – performing tragic situations;
  • Improvisation when decisions not known so well;
  • Conflict resolution;
  • Virtual simulations getting the best possible design solutions.

​Decision making games are important in PBL for:

  • ​Making certain decisions when choices already known;
  • Defining and weighting certain criteria;
  • Making consensus in groups and teams;
  • Making compromises;
  • Promoting strategical thinking;
  • Promoting planning skills;
  • Promoting learners’ deliberation and will.

In games learners imitates reality learning certain issues, knowledge and skills in order to be better prepared for the real life challenges. In this way game is catalizator of learners’ social skills; promotes communication and problem solving skills, using experience and emotional intellect. As well it’s  very useful for promoting of learners memorization mechanism using psycho-motor memory’ mechanisms helping to learn issues more in depth.

During the practical session groups of facilitators were asked to perform certain business idea / situation in three game’s modes: Simulation mode, Discovery mode and Decision making mode. One group performed on opening of the new restaurant facilities while other visualized and performed recruitment process of Marketing company.  Both performance where different, unique and interesting to observe. While group performed, other groups were observing and evaluated their performance according the defined criteria in the reflection journals. One of the games criteria were originality, teamwork, visualizations, improvisations and reflections.

Experience from this practical GBL session convinced facilitators that Game-based learning- powerful learning strategy for both – younger and elderly learners helping to get more from education process. Therefore should be used not only in non-formal educational setting but in formal as well.


Group-based learning facilitation

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Group-based learning activities was started with interesting instruction on group-based learning methodology. Project manager Mikas Balkevicius emphasized the main differences between group and team work. The main difference between group work and team work that groups’ major characteristic is collaborative research, fruitful discussions and knowledge creation, while team work is complimentary defined as a group of very independent and interactive experts that has been created on specific learning issues. The main aim of team is to create certain tangible learning results, production.

Major issues in the group work facilitation are connected with managing of correct groups’ discussions as well as effective information research process. Therefore created groups from Lithuanian and Bulgarian youth workers were given special exercises for fostering groups’ discussions’ culture. Groups were asked to create their own rules for correct discussions and then they were given 5 minutes each to discussed according selected topic. The following rules were selected like active listening, not interrupting, correctness,  politeness, clear speech, loud voice and other. Participants in the groups acknowledged, that it’s not so easy to follow groups’ discussions culture, that requires great focus, empathy and engagement with the topic.  Discussions’ culture in the group work is essential for group to become not only knowledge users but as creators as well. In Active discussions the new insights arises and new knowledge constructed.

​Group-based learning activities were combined with team-based learning exercises when learners has bee given specific tasks for the research of computer and lamp. Participants of groups used PBL methodology for researching conceptual, procedural, reasonable, personal and contextual knowledge of learning issue. They were fascinated about the activity of research information and delivered a lot of knowledge on computer and lamps definitions, working principles, producing methods, discoveries, contextual issues of learning objects.
​This activity showed, that united work in learning is crucial for successful learning results, where cooperation is much more important than competition. Those activities are very important in the context of facilitation learning groups for teaching and learning entrepreneurship’ issues, because it contains the same elements of group work –  forming, norming and performing.


Activities in School: Game-based learning and Group-based learning

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Project’s participants visited Basic school of „Цар Симеон Велики“ in Sofia. Project’s participants were welcomed by director, teachers and pupils of the school. Project’s facilitators organized special educational activities using Game-based learning and Team-based learning activities for pupils.

Pupils in this school has advanced learning spaces, exceptional good pedagogical staff, so project’s participants just shared some methodological insights with teachers and students on Game-based learning, Team-based learning activities. They have organized performance based games sessions and team based learning activities for creation and realization some business ideas in practice.

Two groups of 4-6 pupils were created and were asked to perform start-up business organization that’s going to produce furniture. Pupils were asked to perform interviews with artist, designer, project manager and carpenter. Afterwards they were asked to perform project-based learning tasks creating innovative table and innovative chair. For this they have researched information in internet on innovative furniture; created visualizations of innovative table and chairs; researched methodical information on innovative chairs and tables and delivered insights where innovative furniture could be used in the real life situations.

Usually pupils of basic education schools are overloaded with a lot of theoretical knowledge with less things to practice having more hands on learning activities, that’s why they found proposed educational activities motivating and interesting: they professionally researched information of project’s managers, carpenters, artists and designers professional profiles;  performed job interviews with hypothetical candidates and during group and team-based learning sessions created innovative projections of furniture.

It was interesting to observe how organized and focused pupils were in the process of PBL, having self-directed abilities to research, innovate and create. Ability to communicate, cooperate deal with the real professional life’s issues was the key competences for the future entrepreneurs, whose skills must be fostered in Basic school as well.


Project’s photo gallery