Hyperinflation Game: The power in “Playing”
For some years now, game-based learning has played an important role in education. As a student, I certainly recognise that what students really want, is gain the knowledge in more interactive and engaging way. There are several dynamic methods of teaching and learning, such as online training, among others.
Playing embeds the use of many skills that other ways of learning, such as sitting passively in a room to listen, does not. Solving a given problem through a table or "board game" in a friendly and playful manner is very constructive. The players share their own experiences and comparative reflection when listening to the experiences of their peers. The result, a genuine and long-lasting learning. Such an approach can empower students to think critically as well as providing the tools to overcome life struggles.
I created a ‘Venezuelan’s hyperinflation game’. I gratefully acknowledge Rafael Araujo and Dr Neil Stott’s help designing and delivering the hyperinflation game workshops, first delivered at the ARU’s Global Week 2019.
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About the game
The game is an interactive crash course on the principles behind the crisis. Its purpose, to demonstrate how hyperinflation works and what has caused it in Venezuela, as well as to provide a space for students to reflect on the consequences that are unleashed by poor management of a nation's economic policies.
Through a play-role, participants use real 'Bolivares' (Venezuelan bills) and budget lists to experience the daily life decisions that many Venezuelans make to navigate hyperinflation through the high prices and shortage of goods and services. The instructor in his/her role, gives students a quick and basic background of characteristics that have pull inflation up as well as the concept of hyperinflation and Gross Domestic Product (GDP). There are 4 rounds of 5 minutes each that keep students active in their decision making, such and how hyperinflation works in real life. During this 20 minutes, students are taken through rounds entitled ‘2010 Prosperity”; 2015 “High inflation”; 2017 “Hyperinflation”; until -today- where students are pushed to make the use of bartering as an alternative of exchange in order to survive within the critical economic situation of the country.
The game can be used in ‘principles of’ and intermediate macroeconomics courses. Also, university open days and fresher fairs. Because of its ease of delivery and the language in which it was designed, it is believed that this game will allow any high education student and onwards, to participate in the activity even without having academic knowledge of economics. As well as, enrich their international, economic, political and sociocultural knowledge.
The desirable number of students in a classroom would be 10-24 and two instructors. In a class of more than 24 participants, the instructors would might want to arrange for an extra assistant to support circulating around the classroom, to provide individual help to any who remain confused. It takes approximately 40 minutes to run plus 20 minutes for students that want to engage in a Q&A session or just to use that time for reflections. No computers are required to run this game.