Tyco(o)nstructor - Mini-Games that Foster Entrepreneurial Competence

Development of a serious game to improve the learning of entrepreneurial competences for those who are starting a career or are planning to open their own company in the construction sector

Article by: Andrea Lucchini, Project assistant, SUPSI.

Project goal

The project’s main objective is to promote entrepreneurship among young people with a qualification comprised between level 3 and level 5 of the European Qualification Framework (EQF). This goal is consistent with the objectives postulated by the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training “Education and Training 2020” (i.e. enhancing open education and innovative practices in digital era, further strengthening key competences in professional training and promoting entrepreneurship education and social entrepreneurship among young people) and with the ones postulated by the European Commission (i.e. to train a dynamic workforce able to find creative solutions to the complex problems posed by the dynamics of the labour market).

The project outcome represents as well an innovative proposal for the Swiss context, on a both methodological and sectorial layers.

Project partnership

The project started the 1st of October 2018 and ended the 31st of January 2021 (with four months of extension due to COVID-19 pandemic crisis). To accomplish it has been created a European partnership, led by the Open Universiteit Nederland (OUNL) and composed by the following institutions:

United Kingdom:

  • Coventry University (CU).


  • Gospodarska Zbornica Slovenije (GZS)


  • Westdeutscher Handwerkskammertag (WHKT)
  • Bildungszentren des Baugewerbes (BZB)


  • Centro Edile Andrea Palladio (CEAP).


  • Fundacion Laboral de la Construccion (FLC)


  • Scuola universitaria professionale della Svizzera italiana (SUPSI), Dipartimento economia aziendale, sanità e sociale (DEASS).

SUPSI participated to this European project financed by Erasmus+ (the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport) as associated partner, thanks to funds granted by Movetia.

Project summary

The project started with the identification of key entrepreneurial skills needed in construction sector and with the creation of a framework of appropriate learning outcomes with a relevant assessment criteria methodology at the EQF levels 3, 4 and 5.

We identified the following five key entrepreneurial skills (competences):

  • Motivation and perseverance;
  • Self-awareness and self-efficacy;
  • Taking the initiative;
  • Planning and management;
  • Ethical and sustainable thinking.

Than we matched each skill to a learning goal and a practical real-life situation in which an entrepreneur have to show it up, in order to create five case leads that can be played as a game. The narrative of the game, that we called Construction Tycoon, is based on a young entrepreneur that has just founded his own company in the construction sector. He starts as a small start-up company and throughout the game he has to face challenges that will allow him to grow his company up to a multinational enterprise. To help the entrepreneur on the way to become a construction tycoon there is a business advisor, Mr. Buttinski, who will give him some advices on the way.

Using EMERGO, a web-based platform developed by OUNL to create serious games (see Slootmaker, A., 2018. EMERGO: a generic platform for authoring and playing scenario-based serious games. Open Universiteit), we translated the five case leads into five playable scenarios, each subdivided in one, two or three levels of increasing difficulty. Each level guides the player through the following five steps:

  1. Introduction to the situation and to the job that has to be accomplished (through Mr. Buttinsky).
  2. Acquisition of relevant information (through documents, audios and/or videos) to accomplish one or more tasks needed to get the job done.
  3. Carrying out tasks by the player.
  4. Evaluation of player performance assigning points for each accomplished task and reflection upon what has been done right, what has been done wrong and why.
  5. Progress to the next level.

Together with the game have been created: a trainers handbook, an awareness questionnaire for players to check if awareness of entrepreneurship increases by playing the game, a collection of possible use case scenarios and a collection of best practices deduced from the experience in using the game acquired by project’s team during the piloting test phase.

For at least three years after project’s end, the game and support materials are available for free on project website. Instead the source code of the game is available upon request to OUNL (the leading partner).

Benefits for Swiss educational and training environment

This project contributed to achieve competences in cooperation and in transnational work and supported the improvement of education for active citizenship linked with entrepreneurial skills. In addition it promoted the development and implementation of specific game-learning tools that are useful complementary teaching instruments in class (to apply theory in action) and for web based learning. The merge of important upcoming topics (entrepreneurial skills) together with innovative tools is surely of primary relevance for the Swiss educational objectives.

For example the Swiss Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Report 2015/2016 recommends to equip youngsters with entrepreneurial skills oriented to practice but as well with a solid theory behind. Therefore learning materials have to be inspired to an approach of practical usability regarding their content and the exploitability of learning outcomes, joining sector specific knowledge with a solid theoretical structure. Moreover the Swiss conference of directors in the public education (CDPE), in his document “Programme de travail 2015-2019 - Version actualisée 2016” states the importance of foster the integration of information and communication technologies in education (objective 1.6).

Thus the project Tyco(o)nstructor supports objectives, as well as strategies and policies stated national level. Furthermore in Canton Ticino the project has involved two important training providers (ECAP Ticino Unia and SSIC) as testing stakeholders during the various advancement steps of the project. In this way it was possible to benefit, in Switzerland, from an innovative training output achieved at European level, contributing and sharing knowledge with European partners. This is a further and concrete demonstration of the relevance and fruitfulness for Swiss institutions in participating in European projects, what, thanks to Movetia, it’s possible to carry out.


European project leader
Prof. Dr. Hans Hummel
Associate professor at Welten institute of the Open University of the Netherlands

Valkenburgerweg 177
P.O. Box 2960
NL-6419 AT Heerlen, Netherlands

+31 (0)45 576 26 51

Swiss project coordinator

Dr. Filippo Bignami
Senior researcher and lecturer at SUPSI, Department of Business Economics, Health and Social Care (DEASS), Competence Centre for Work, Welfare and Society
Via Cantonale 16e
CH-6928 Manno (TI)

+41 (0)58 666 64 19