‘Gamified learning’: Game-based pilot for young farmers launched

A gaming pilot programme to raise cooperative awareness among young farmers through “gamified learning” resources has been launched recently.

ICOS Skillnet, with the support of Teagasc and Kildalton Agricultural College, is engaged in the interactive pilot for young farmers.

According to the Irish Cooperative Organisation Society (ICOS), the “games” improve the students’ leadership, communication, organisational and risk assessment skills, and create discussion on how the cooperative model works for Irish farmers.

Training programme

ICOS Skillnet developed a young farmer training programme to support the young farmer at farmgate level in his/her farm business, and also introduce them to the cooperative, its values and culture, outlining the benefits of being involved in a cooperative, including generational renewal.

The modules that have been developed are under two different headings, namely ‘Basic Farm Management’, and ‘Cooperative Values and Cultures’.

Basic Farm Management:

  • Decision Making;
  • Markets;
  • Risk Management; and
  • Finance.

Co-operative Values and Cultures:

  • Daily Management;
  • Legal Frameworks;
  • Leadership;
  • Organisational Skills;
  • Agricultural Policy;
  • Marketing;
  • Origins of Co-ops; and
  • Sustainability.

Game-based learning

Under the pilot an online training platform has been developed with training materials for young farmers.

The unique point about this programme is the blended approach taken in training delivery and in particular the use of game-based learning to meet the needs of young farmers, as they don’t want to sit in a classroom all day.

There are currently six games which effectively support the training materials and bring home the practical element of learning, through ‘gamification’.

The games that have been developed include:
  • Decision Making;
  • Risk Management;
  • Finance;
  • Organisational Skills;
  • Leadership and Communications; and
  • Principles of co-operation.

ICOS vice-president and chairman of the ICOS Rural Business Committee, James O’Donnell, expressed his gratitude to Tony Pettit and Frank Murphy of Teagasc and Tim Ashmore and James Ryan of Kildalton College for agreeing to the pilot.

O’Donnell emphasised the importance of the co-operative model in the agriculture sector as well as the need for greater involvement by young farmers in the co-operative movement.

The vice-president added that he is optimistic that the ongoing cooperation between ICOS and Teagasc will help to ensure an upsurge in young farmer involvement with their local dairy co-operative, their co-operative livestock mart or their local Farm Relief Service.