The Importance of Role-Play Simulations in Financial Literacy Education
Game based learning has the potential to positively disrupt patterns of exclusion experienced by many disadvantaged groups in education, employment, and entrepreneurship by improving accessibility and engagement. With that in mind, it was determined that one of the outputs of the FinancialLit4Women project would be the development of a Role-Play Games Handbook that would teach Financial Literacy to NEET women.
Why role-play in FinancialLit4Women?
There is substantial evidence that points to the efficacy of role-play in the learning experience (Maier, 2002). Role-play has been shown to be extremely effective in achieving learning outcomes and facilitating development in three major learning domains: affective, cognitive, and behavioural (Rao & Stupans, 2012). By making students take on the role of another person, they practice empathy and perspective taking. Therefore, role-play can be used to aid those who have struggled to participate successfully in education or training.
Role-playing is an effective and engaging method of working through a situation, scenario, or problem by assuming roles and practicing what to say and do in a safe setting, with no harmful consequences (Lukavská et al., 2016). Replicating real-life scenarios in a safe environment is particularly important for those who feel powerless, marginalised, or feel they lack a voice in society. Creating an environment in which participants feel comfortable, valued, and more confident will encourage NEET women to actively participate in the learning activities and enjoy the learning experience more.
Since role-play encourages a greater sense of empathy, it is recommended that facilitators or anyone with an interest in female inclusion should participate to develop an understanding of the social exclusion issues that women face, through which they will more likely become advocates for positive social change.
FinancialLit4Women’s role-play handbook:
In addition to conducting preliminary research, focus groups consisting of NEET women in Europe participated in a pilot of the role-play handbook and provided feedback through surveys. The input from NEET women contributed to the development of the handbook, making sure it would be effective at meeting the needs of the target groups and achieving the project’s objectives. The feedback revealed that there was a demand for role-play games and game-based learning in how women of all ages would like to learn about financial literacy. Many participants expressed that they lack the opportunity to ‘learn by doing’ to grasp concepts of financial management. Role-play is essentially ‘learning by doing,’ and is an effective method that enables NEET women to practice financial management in a safe setting. Therefore, it is likely to improve the learning outcomes of women who are NEET. Participants also expressed a strong desire for non-formal education to facilitate learning, which is supported by role-play. There were several responses that indicated a lack of confidence among NEET women, both in terms of financial literacy and their ability to participate in employment and entrepreneurship. Role-play can be used to simulate real-life situations which will better prepare and instil confidence in NEET women to participate more actively in financial and work contexts. The role-play handbook had now been developed and was trialled during the next months. It focused on teaching financial skills through several role-play games/scenarios, including theatre of the oppressed (theatrical role-play activities), and role-play activities such as pitching a budget and competitive trading. The handbook also included a methodology for NEET participants to design their own role-play games to keep learners inspired and motivated. There were a variety of role-play games in the handbook for NEET women to choose from and participate in according to the areas of financial literacy that they want to practice and develop.