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Teaching construction management through games alone: a detailed investigation

G. Long (Research Associate at the School of Civil Engineering, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK)
M.J. Mawdesley (Associate Professor, at the School of Civil Engineering, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK)
D. Scott (Professor at the Department of Civil Engineering, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 25 September 2009




This paper aims to describe work carried out by the authors using simulation games to teach key aspects of construction management to civil engineering students. The use of simulation games for this purpose is well documented but is still not fully accepted. The work described in this paper aims to address this by analysing the use of simulation games as the primary teaching mechanism in a teaching module, Applied Construction Management.


Two simulation games are described along with the software used to manage and monitor their operation. The two games are functionally similar though the construction scenario's represented, 30 m high dam and 7 km of clay lined canal, are quite different. The Applied Construction Management module is detailed, including the instructional design, assessment procedures and operation during its first three years. This is compared with the more traditional use of the simulation games as a coursework element as employed at Curtin University of Technology in Western Australia.


Student performance is tracked during operation of the module, and statistics for each year of teaching are given along with examples of student feedback. Examples of individual student behaviour are used to illustrate behaviour patterns identified during the course of the research. Conclusions and implications for the use of simulation games are provided.


The novelty of this work lies in the acquisition and analysis of quantitative data on performance collected during the learning process. It focuses on the simulation games as the sole source of teaching and the comparison with more traditional use of the games previously provide additional value.



Long, G., Mawdesley, M.J. and Scott, D. (2009), "Teaching construction management through games alone: a detailed investigation", On the Horizon, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 330-344.



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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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