The Simulated Company
The Simulated Company (Impresa Formativa Simulata – IFS) is a teaching method that combines problem solving, learning by doing, cooperative learning and role playing by reproducing a simulated environment that allows the student to learn new skills from an operational point of view, strengthening those knowledge and skills learned during the studies.
IFS is applied in the framework of the Paths for Transversal Skills and for Orientation (PCTO) – the curricular programme of work-based learning for secondary schools and represents an important opportunity for students to reproduce the working model of a real company, learning the principles of management through concrete tasks (action-oriented learning).
All that is needed, is an IT platform supported through a Simulation Center (SimuCenter), consisting of a system that allows virtual companies on the network to simulate the actions related to specific areas of their business activity.
The great advantage of this model is that the PCTO does not happen necessarily outside school (e.g. in-company traineeship), but it is practiced the school’s laboratories and it reproduces all aspects of a real company, with the tutoring of the godmother company. It appears to be very effective especially in those educational institutions located in entrepreneurial system characterized by a reduced number of companies, mostly of small and medium size, that would have difficulty in hosting students in work environments.
The remoteness of the IT platform, however, does not impact on the contact with reality: the IFS, in fact, foresees a continuous contact with a real in-company tutor and the possibility for the students to visit the company.
Thanks to experience in IFS, the students acquire key skills, with particular reference to the competence of entrepreneurship, financial education and literacy as the students have the opportunity to manage real businesses, create a product or service, and carry out all the activities that lead from the idea to action.
The preparation is done with the collaboration and under the supervision of in-company experts involving students in dynamic activities, group work, project-work, simulations, role-playing games, through visual aids such as posters, slides, video-lessons, game cards, cards and quizzes, with the aim of developing an entrepreneurial idea through which to give rise to a product, be it a good or a service, which fulfills the real needs of potential consumers.
The training path is articulated in six main steps:
- The LINE 1 is aimed at raising awareness and guiding the students in the context of active citizenship, by providing them with "tools" to explore the territory.
- The LINE 2 is conceived to sensitize a systemic vision of civil society through corporate culture in order to develop the ethical sense of interaction with the surrounding economic environment.
- The LINE 3 presents a concrete situation, allowing students to apply the theoretical learning, acquired in formal contexts, but gives space to creativity by defining own Business Idea.
- The LINE 4 allows students to diversify and deepen knowledge of the territorial economic system in interacting with the subjects, by drawing up the Business Plan.
- The LINE 5 refers to the establishment and start-up of the simulated company in compliance with current legislation and with the support of the national and regional infrastructures.
- The LINE 6 consists of the operational management of the simulated company, with particular attention to commercial management as the simulator supports the e-commerce activity and the connection between the training companies at national and international level.
Figura 1. IFS Confao path
© IFS CONFAO
 Law 30 December 2018, no. 145 “Paths for Transversal Skills and for Orientation – Guidelines”.