Gamification brings a new meaning to hands-on learning

Trulaske College of Business retail marketing students are taking advantage of a new partnership with the College of Education and Human Development’s Adroit Studios Gaming Lab.

a woman plays on a simulation on her computer

Nov. 30, 2022

For retail marketing students at the University of Missouri Trulaske College of Business, gamification is more than a buzzword they hear about from their professors. A new partnership with Adroit Studios Gaming Lab, a game development lab in the MU School of Information Sciences and Learning Technologies, has allowed students to put this innovative concept into practice — bringing a new meaning to hands-on learning.

The game, Trulaske Kaldi’s Sim, puts students in managerial roles in their own unique Kaldi's Coffee shop, either on a college campus, in a hospital or in a city. Students order inventory, design a menu, set pricing, staffing levels, schedule employees and then let the simulation take over. A week goes by with the click of a button, and students are presented with their financial results. Adjustments can be made to pricing, staffing levels and hours of operation, and students can begin to see the parallels between theoretical concepts and real-life applications.

The game was developed by faculty and staff from the Trulaske College of Business and the College of Education and Human Development. Their goal was to create a game that would be entertaining while teaching students important marketing concepts that can be difficult to internalize in the classroom.

“We want students to come away from this game with a better understanding of how to run a retail business,” said Assistant Teaching Professor Katie Essing. “It’s a great opportunity for them to get hands-on experience with some of the concepts they’re learning in class.”

Evan Shasserre, a senior studying economics, participated in the Trulaske Kaldi's Sim and said the experience was unlike anything he's done in a class before.

"It is so much fun to run a business in a game and see sales data generate right in front of you," he said. “We can do trial runs, watch potential problems play out, and then discuss what solutions would be effective."

This isn't the first time business students have had a chance to work with Kaldi's Coffee to enhance their learning experience. In 2019, the national coffee chain — founded by alumni Tricia Zimmer Ferguson, BS BA ’03, and Josh Ferguson, BS ’03 — opened a store in Cornell Hall that gives students a chance to learn about business operations, including global supply chain, human resources management and accounting.

"We are fortunate to have such strong relationships with companies in our community that are willing to work with us to create programs that benefit our students and our college," Essing said.

Read more from the Trulaske College of Business

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