AspaSome: Learning customer service through a role-playing game
AspaSome [Customer service and Social media] is a role game that takes place in an imaginary department store. It teaches students customer service, basic operations of retail industry, and working life practices by experiential learning.
AspaSome was named as a Best Practice by the National Board of Education in Finland in 2014. As all the required documentation is easily accessible in the National Board of Education site, the adaptability of AspaSome in Finnish schools is very good.
How to play?
There is available a game play manual, role cards, and specific tasks to accomplish weekly (in Finnish). The game manual focuses on game building and the success of the game, but leaves the developer a room to choose the substance they want to attach to the game. The method can be applied mainly as it is, however, more intended as a model and foundation on which everyone is able to build the best way for themselves and their organization.
AspaSome simulates the hectic rhythm and business life curve balls in a school environment. Typically, AspaSome is played on 4-6 weeks, 2-3 days weekly in a classroom setting. The departments have also their Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and Youtube videos which the students have made.
An example of a page created on Facebook
Why we should play?
The raise of motivation has been seen by teachers and students when playing this game as part of the learning process. No scientific research has been made, but everyday experience shows that role playing has helped deep learning, instead of non-experiential superficial fact learning.
In the feedback discussions the students felt the gaming approach as a more motivating and comfortable way to study than the traditional classroom teaching. Students were also able to identify the themes they had learned in different games, which supported the idea that the method is possible from the point of view of teaching. Teachers felt that the game alone was not enough to teach the desired set of themes, but it is an excellent addition to figuring out things, connecting them to everyday situations, and especially activating students in relation to their own learning.