Potentials of virtual reality in entrepreneurship education
by Citizens in Power
The rapid technological advancement in this day and age sets guidelines when it comes to education and its development. If we are to educate people for the future then we have to stay up to date with all that technology has provided, and find a way to use those opportunities to modernize teaching. Being an educator in today’s extraordinary times comes with opportunities for creating innovative and technologically advanced methods of learning.
ER-SE project aims to promote learning through the concept of escape rooms, which is a fairly new educational concept. However, the digital times requires us to look for further educational concepts that make learning more engaging and effective. This is why the consortium of ER-SE has thought about and discussed the idea of bringing forth the notion of using virtual reality in teaching. We aim to utilize the technological advancements that the virtual reality brings in order to teach entrepreneurship skills – specifically aiming at promoting social entrepreneurship concept.
Entrepreneurship education provides individuals with the required skills and knowledge and gives them the ability to recognize relevant opportunities and potential pitfalls (Jones & English, 2004), but it frequently struggles with finding effective learning tools. VR then should be seen as a technological complementary tool by immersing the individual into a virtual environment in order to learn (Orel, M, 2012). Orel also notices that as starting a new business is commonly an uncertain undertaking and precarious process, the entrepreneur must develop a mental model through the sensemaking procedure on how the environment where the newly developed business will operate.
According to Raposo & Do Paço (2011), entrepreneurship education seeks to link knowledge with the abilities to recognize and pursue opportunities by generating new ideas and allocating needed resources, and the abilities to create and operate a business venture through creative and critical manner. In this way, virtual reality can come in handy by providing the individual with an “almost real” experience of running a business and solving business-related issues.
The potential uses of virtual reality as an educational tool have been the subject of several discussions and studies in the past (e.g. Wickens, 1992; Hedberg & Alexander, 1994; Psotka, 1995; Winn & Jackson, 1999; Kaufmann et al., 2000; Virvou & Katsionis, 2008; Merchant et al., 2014; Martín-Gutiérrez et al., 2017). However, the notion of using virtual reality in order to teach entrepreneurship skills is a fairly new subject. While the concept of teaching STEM through VR has been duly noted by researchers across the globe.
All in all, virtual reality technology has proven to help develop critical thinking, strategic thinking, problem-solving, creativity, teamwork, communication skills, etc. Which are all essential entrepreneurial skills. Even without much intention, VR already provides certain entrepreneurial skills to the player. One might only imagine what it could do if we are to create scenarios and storylines aimed at specific entrepreneurship education. Such as teaching social entrepreneurship skills through virtual reality.