1 Curtin University (AUSTRALIA)
2 University of Twente (NETHERLANDS)
3 University of Nottingham (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 2641-2650
ISBN: 978-84-612-7578-6
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain
There are ‘off the shelf’ simulation packages and custom made games. The challenge for users of simulations is to identify methods of running games that will achieve the intended learning outcomes of the activities. This paper will cover lessons learned by the authors in over 30 years of simulation. It will review methods of using simulation, benefits of different approaches, difficulties and problems.

During the time that the authors have been working with games, the technology available to games designers has changed beyond recognition. However, it is not always the increased use of technology that makes the game successful in helping students achieve the desired learning outcome. Frequently, it is the application of the game and the environment in which it is applied. This paper is intended to share experience in and promote discussion of several aspects of the use of games. It is based on the work they have been doing in the teaching and learning of construction management in the UK, the Netherlands and Australia. The games to be presented are based on construction projects which the players have to manage.

The paper will include an overview of the authors’ experience in the use of:
• Freeform play in which the students are given an introductory lecture and then allowed to run the games as they wish. Weekly clinics are held to assist students and an in-game messaging system provided to ensure good communication with students
• Supervised play. In this, students play in fixed sessions with teaching staff present to supervise the running of the game
• Single play-through versus multiple play-throughs. In this the authors discuss the pros and cons of each and the differing requirements for their application
• Group based versus solo play. In this the authors discuss the effects that group playing has on the effectiveness of achieving the desired learning outcomes.
• Customisation of content to the audience. This include alteration of the complexity to increase or decrease difficulty levels; the inclusion of ’bespoke’ pricing and varied climate configurations
• Simulation exercises without computers

The description of experience will be complemented by a discussion of features and formats which the authors have considered for inclusion. These include:
• Regular feedback sessions and student presentations of progress
• Student panels to assess their peers
• Timed simulation runs to bridge the gap between freeform and supervised play. This would possibly increase immersion and engagement by forcing real world deadlines on simulated progression.
• E-learning additions to enable, for example ‘clinics’ to be held between two university campuses in different countries.
• Competitive play in which students compete against each other in a limited market for equipment hire and staff resources in order to complete their projects.
• Evaluation of performance
Some of these have been used by the authors with other games, some are planned for future research and some have been discounted or are inapplicable under our teaching conditions.
simulation, games, construction management, engineering, operation.