Measuring the value of "all play and no work": Can rigorous assessment of simulation games drive innovative teaching in construction?

Dragana Nikolic, John Messner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The construction field is dynamic and dominated by complex, ill-defined problems for which myriad possible solutions exist. Teaching students to solve construction-related problems requires an understanding of the nature of these complex problems as well as the implementation of effective instructional strategies to address them. Traditional approaches to teaching construction planning and management have long been criticized for presenting students primarily with well-defined problems - an approach inconsistent with the challenges encountered in the industry. However, growing evidence suggests that employing innovative teaching approaches, such as interactive simulation games, offers more active, hands-on and problem-based learning opportunities for students to synthesize and test acquired knowledge more closely aligned with real-life construction scenarios. Simulation games have demonstrated educational value in increasing student problem solving skills and motivation through critical attributes such as interaction and feedback-supported active learning. Nevertheless, broad acceptance of simulation games in construction engineering education remains limited. While recognizing benefits, research focused on the role of simulation games in educational settings lacks a unified approach to developing, implementing and evaluating these games. To address this gap, this paper provides an overview of the challenges associated with evaluating the effectiveness of simulation games in construction education that still impede their wide adoption. An overview of the current status, as well as the results from recently implemented Virtual Construction Simulator (VCS) game at Penn State provide lessons learned, and are intended to guide future efforts in developing interactive simulation games to reach their full potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationConstruction Research Congress 2012
Subtitle of host publicationConstruction Challenges in a Flat World, Proceedings of the 2012 Construction Research Congress
Pages2101-2110
Number of pages10
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 19 2012
EventConstruction Research Congress 2012: Construction Challenges in a Flat World - West Lafayette, IN, United States
Duration: May 21 2012May 23 2012

Publication series

NameConstruction Research Congress 2012: Construction Challenges in a Flat World, Proceedings of the 2012 Construction Research Congress

Other

OtherConstruction Research Congress 2012: Construction Challenges in a Flat World
CountryUnited States
CityWest Lafayette, IN
Period5/21/125/23/12

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction

Cite this

Nikolic, D., & Messner, J. (2012). Measuring the value of "all play and no work": Can rigorous assessment of simulation games drive innovative teaching in construction? In Construction Research Congress 2012: Construction Challenges in a Flat World, Proceedings of the 2012 Construction Research Congress (pp. 2101-2110). (Construction Research Congress 2012: Construction Challenges in a Flat World, Proceedings of the 2012 Construction Research Congress). https://doi.org/10.1061/9780784412329.211