Prepare for take-off!… Students’ experience of using an airline simulation game as preparation for assessment (Interactive Session)

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Shuna Marr and Ahmed Hassanien (School of Marketing, Tourism & Languages)

We hope in this session to gather from our colleagues their perceptions regarding the use of simulation games as a tool for assessment or assessment preparation. We will be using our own research as the basis for this discussion.

In the level 10 Airline Management module, students work in small teams to build and run a virtual airline using sophisticated simulation software. During the process of the game they accumulate three years of operational data. The game itself is not assessed at all, but students use it to gain experience about airline management upon which they then submit a reflective analysis.

We designed a 2-page questionnaire to evaluate the students’ learning experience of the airline simulation game in their module to prepare them for assessment, and find ways to further improve the experience. The questionnaire included statements on student feelings regarding the different aspects of the business simulation game such as design, organisation, content, resources, assessment, tutor support, and student engagement and satisfaction. The survey was administered in person in the last class just after the game ended. A focus group was undertaken after they submitted their assessment.

The findings suggest that the simulation game is perceived by students as an effective learning and teaching tool that does prepare them very well for their assessment. We gained further insights around issues of group dynamics and identified some areas where they potentially needed further support and guidance.

Theoretical underpinning
Bragge, J., Thavikulwat, P., & Toyli, J. (2010). Profiling 40 years of research in simulation & gaming. Simulation Gaming, 41(6), pp869–897.

Clarke, E. (2009) Learning outcomes from business simulation exercises: Challenges for the implementation of learning technologies, Education + Training, 51(5-6), pp448–459.