An Australian university is this year set to draw inspiration from Squid Game to make difficult economic concepts a little easier to digest.
A new paper by the Monash University Business School has revealed how Squid Game could be used in education for teaching complex economic theories.
No, the paper doesn’t discuss putting students in life or death games against each other to learn economics, but rather it delves into how game theory can be applied to Squid Game.
If you’ve been living under a rock, Squid Game is about 456 players in six deadly games, playing to win a crazy amount of money to pay off their serious debts. It’s a terrific anticapitalist story and is one of the most successful shows Netflix has ever produced.
But for Monash, researchers from its business school have developed interactive tools, based on insights from Squid Game, to teach demanding topics at the introductory level of learning economics. From the first semester of 2022 at Monash Business School, these tools will be used in teaching first-year microeconomics.
“The Netflix series focuses on six games, we’ve chosen three of those to represent the best practical applications of game theory for students,” says associate professor Wayne Geerling from the Monash Business School. He’s the author of the paper ‘Using Squid Game to Teach Game Theory’.
“The players in Squid Game are a metaphor for companies and we have examined the strategic interactions of Squid Game in comparison to real life business. How do players, ie companies, interact. Game theory has a lot of real-world applications, analysing how actions influence others and the strategic implications of such.”
Key scenes from the show will be used in teaching economic concepts, with Geerling identifying several moments that translate well to principles of game theory. For a lot of people, economics isn’t the most interesting subject, so an idea like this is very welcome, breaking the mould of simply writing things on a chalkboard and lecturing.
“Many students struggle to think in a strategic manner when material is taught through traditional methods alone,” Geerling added.
“Pop culture, such as Squid Game, can be used as an effective medium to break down barriers to learning because it taps into everyday life and allows students to see connections between abstract theory and real world applications.”
Monash University draws a line between the 456 players of Squid Game, the split-second decisions that they have to make and real-world businesses.
Being able to apply complex concepts to easily understood scenes is very valuable, so props to associate professor Geerling for this idea. If I was him, I’d walk around the Monash University campus like this:
Perhaps we’ll start to see more Australian universities using pop culture to teach difficult concepts in the future.