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Simulation-based learning in management education: A longitudinal quasi-experimental evaluation of instructional effectiveness

Jiafang Lu (Asia Pacific Center for Leadership and Change, Hong Kong Institute of Education, Tai Po, Hong Kong)
Philip Hallinger (Asia Pacific Center for Leadership and Change, Hong Kong Institute of Education, Tai Po, Hong Kong)
Parinya Showanasai (Faculty of Management Science, Prince of Songkhla University, Hat Yai, Thailand and Hong Kong Institute of Education, Tai Po, Hong Kong)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 8 April 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

Proponents have argued that simulation-based learning (SBL) offers capabilities that respond to persisting critiques of management education. This research intended to provide additional empirical evidence for the instructional effectiveness of SBL. This paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

This research adopted a quasi-experimental, multiple time series design to examine the instructional effectiveness of courses that incorporated computer simulations in a Master of Management program at a business school in Thailand. It compared student perceptions of three SBL courses with courses that used a variety of other instructional approaches over a period of seven years.

Findings

Results revealed that students rated the SBL courses significantly higher on overall perceived instructional effectiveness, as manifested by action-directed learning, student engagement, quality of assessment and feedback, and instructor effectiveness.

Research limitations/implications

The consistency of significant results for a large number of course sections over a substantial period of time suggests that the SBL courses created a more active, productive environment in which to learn management theory and practice.

Practical implications

The results support assertions that simulations offer potential for enhancing the quality of university-based management education.

Originality/value

First, the research provides empirical insights into the implementation of SBL in management education; second, many instructors remain skeptical as to whether active learning methods imported from western contexts are suitable for Asian learners. The study addresses this issue in the light of data that describe one institution's sustained attempt to employ computer simulations in its graduate management education program.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by research grants funded by the Hong Kong Institute of Education (Ref. RGB31/2008-2009; Ref. RG53/2009-2010) to the first and second author. The authors would like to thank Ms Lydia Li assistance in data analysis, and Prof Ronald H. Heck for his valuable comments of structuring the longitudinal analysis employed in this study.

Citation

Lu, J., Hallinger, P. and Showanasai, P. (2014), "Simulation-based learning in management education: A longitudinal quasi-experimental evaluation of instructional effectiveness", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 33 No. 3, pp. 218-244. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMD-11-2011-0115

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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