A detailed investigation of the applicability and utility of simulation and gaming in the teaching of civil engineering students

Long, Gavin (2010) A detailed investigation of the applicability and utility of simulation and gaming in the teaching of civil engineering students. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

This thesis describes research carried out into the use of computer based simulations and games in learning and with particular regard to the education of engineering students. Existing research within the scope of the subject domain was fully reviewed and documented and a list of research aims and objectives were devised. It was identified that the use of educational simulation games (a hybrid combining aspects of simulation, games design and educational content) showed potential for the teaching of organisational and project management skills.

A number of simulation games were developed during the research programme and are described. These ranged in complexity, functionality and subject domain.

The design of simulation games capable of generic modelling was investigated and proved to be a highly flexible solution enabling student business proposals to be modelled quickly and effectively to provide them with bespoke simulation games based on their plans. The simulation game was used as a coursework exercise within a teaching module for Masters level students over a three year period and results from this trial were positive and demonstrated benefits arising from the use of the simulation game.

Two complex simulation games for the teaching of construction project management were developed and extended for implementation within a teaching module. This was aimed at providing learning through the principal use of simulation games. Additional software was developed to assist in the management and monitoring of student use of the simulation games within the teaching module.

The teaching module, Applied Construction Project Management (ACPM), was designed to both educate the students and to inform this research work. It featured little to no traditional teaching content such as lectures and tutorials and instead relied on student centred learning and the use of simulation games as a form of Experiential or Constructivist Learning. Weekly clinic sessions and in-game communication tools were the primary mechanisms for student contact and support with the teaching staff.

Extensive quantitative and qualitative data was collected during the ACPM modules four years of operation described in this thesis. This data was collated and analysed in order to answer the research aims of the work. Results and feedback were extremely positive showing that the use of simulation games for learning can be both an engaging and effective method of learning. Issues and limitations of this approach to learning were also identified and methods for overcoming these were proposed.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Supervisors:Mawdesley, M.J.
Faculties/Schools:UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering > Department of Civil Engineering
ID Code:1216
Deposited By:mr gavin long
Deposited On:21 Feb 2011 11:02
Last Modified:21 Feb 2011 11:02

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