Experiential Learning

The teaching of entry-level economics seems particularly suitable to gamification, as most learning objectives involve the understanding of agent optimization and decision-making. One weakness I observed in many economics students is the difficulty to integrate mathematical approaches with economic intuition.

Drawing from previous experience in experiential learning educational workshop design, I’m currently working on a gamified approach to teaching macroeconomics to help students keep their focus on the economic intuition while familiarizing themselves with mathematical tools to assist their intuitive reasoning and make their analysis more precise. Such a course could be part of an innovative and appealing online curriculum.

Prototype

Monetaria is a gamified economic workshop aimed at non economists and first year undergraduate economics students. The objective is to introduce participants to economic concepts through a directed experience.

Participants are split into “cities” that have different comparative advantages. It is thus optimal to trade with other cities and the “trans-cities” firms to optimize their welfare. Trade is facilitated by a currency lent by the commercial bank. Each city makes optimal decisions, but market imperfections are such that collective over-indebtedness and an economic crisis looms… Will their Government apply helpful policies?

A debriefing is conducted at the end of the workshop, and the similarities and differences between the game and real life economics are discussed. Some topics are emphasized depending on the audience and the particular associated learning objectives. The following concepts are introduced in the game:

  • Comparative advantages
  • Supply and demand
  • Market power
  • Market frictions (Transaction cost/time, cash-in-advance requirements)
  • Central banking, commercial banking and money creation
  • Compound interest rates
  • Public debt
  • Fiscal and monetary policy
  • Pigouvian policy

When the game is played with high school students, the notion of compound interest rates is emphasized. Many are shocked to realize in the game the consequence of high compound interest rates. With non-economist adults, the discussion is more open and notions of public debt and policy are often highlighted by participants and discussed.

I am currently working on an online version of this game that could serve as an introduction for a macroeconomic policy course that would cover the above-mentioned topics.

For more information, do not hesitate to contact me.