Project Management Serious Games and Simulation: A comparison of three learning methods
Background. Despite the popularity of applying serious games in project management education and their potential advantages in simulating complexity, their value compared to other methods is uncertain. Few studies compare project management games with other methods, and still fewer investigate how the increased project complexity levels in games affect the learning experience. Aim. This study aims to examine students’ preferred learning method when selecting between project management games and a simulation exercise. It also evaluates whether games which simulate more complex projects are preferred over those with less complexity. It further analyses the underlying reasons (i.e. mentioned and unmentioned) behind students’ preference. Methodology. An empirical study was conducted on a group of Master’s degree students majoring in management of projects. Students were taught project crashing (acceleration) principles by implementing three learning methods. Their feedback in terms of preferred learning method and learning style was gathered using an online questionnaire. Results. This research finds that there is no dominant preferred learning method between the games and the simulation exercise. Students who prefer the project management games tend to value fun, attractiveness and teamwork. Those who prefer the simulation exercise tend to value clarity and accessibility. Furthermore, the game that simulates a more complex project is preferred over the less complex one, as the first offers a desirable unique experience, which is complex, challenging and realistic, which the latter does not. Finally, this study also finds that students’ learning style (i.e. intuitors vs sensors) affect their project management learning method preference.