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Supercharging case-based learning via simulators: Achieving double-loop learning with case-sims

Antonio Pérez-Bennett (Quantum Consulting Group, Panamá City, Panamá)
Pål Davidsen (University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway)
Luis E. López (INCAE Business School, Alajuela, Costa Rica)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 14 October 2014




The purpose of this paper is to examine the use of simulators as pedagogical complements to traditional case studies. The research performs experiments with a case and its accompanying simulator to assess the additional learning attained by the use of a case with its simulator as compared to using the case alone. The paper also describes the development and proposed use of cases and simulators combined.


The paper describes the development of one companion simulators, it outlines its proposed use, and it shows the results of an experiment to assess marginal learning with the simulator.


The research finds that simulators increase the understanding of subjects when used to support a case study. Students and teachers perceive the use of companion simulators as valuable.

Research limitations/implications

The research provides ground for developing a new generation of case studies in which the traditional case is enhanced and augmented by simulators developed for one particular case and intended to be used only with that case.

Practical implications

This research has practical implications in how management is taught and learned.

Social implications

The paper has implications in terms of possible changes that can be introduced to the teaching of management in business schools.


This research provides one of the few extant assessments of the learning that can be attained with the use of simulators in management education. The research proposes the creation of a new entity, the “Case+Sim” that draws on the traditional strengths of managerial case studies to be used in educating managers, but complements the case studies with simulators, which provide an added value in permitting students to test their thinking using a realistic interactive learning environment.



Pérez-Bennett, A., Davidsen, P. and E. López, L. (2014), "Supercharging case-based learning via simulators: Achieving double-loop learning with case-sims", Management Decision, Vol. 52 No. 9, pp. 1801-1832.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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