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Table 1. Evolution of the students' degree of learning <g>.
Control Group (without SimCompany)
Experimental Group (playing SimCompany)
of correct answers in the pretest. The procedure
for the control groups was similar, except that the
teacher was asked to give the class about the exact
same subject (business management concepts and
entrepreneurship) but using traditional methods
like the whiteboard and topics.
Table 1 shows the evolution from pre-tests to
post-tests for each of these groups of students. The
results refer to the pre and post-test percentage
of correct answers; the right-most column shows
the <g> value.
From this initial evaluation, it became clear
that SimCompany is an effective game for teach-
ing children general business management con-
cepts: results showed a higher <g> value for the
experimental group than the control group. This
is a step forward in designing technology that
really helps children learn. Also from this initial
study, we concluded that future work should in-
clude evaluating the game in more schools and
students, as well as outlining general principles
that can prove useful when designing this kind of
games. This also contributes to a growing body
of knowledge based on human-work interaction
design. Therefore, we conducted a second round
of more extensive evaluations, which included
five more schools, with a total of ten classes and
231 students. And again, at each of the classes in
every school, participants were randomly divided
into two groups of equal dimension: a control
group, composed of students who took a lesson
on managing a business using traditional methods
- blackboard, topics and the lecture itself - and
the experimental group, composed of students
who played “SimCompany” along with the
teacher's advice and lecturing.
Table 2 shows the consolidated results from
all the sessions. Results are similar to the initial
evaluation results. We also noticed that the game
was particularly effective among the groups of
“weak” students, i.e. those students whose grad-
ing history showed worse results than the whole
class average - although we didn't measure this
since it would require extensive data gathering.
But the tendency was observable, especially
taking into account the teachers observations
during the game sessions (typically the different
teachers involved in the sessions mentioned that
worst students who don't exhibit good results had
met the learning goals). The levels of motivation,
although difficult to quantify, were certainly easy
to observe in practice - which again suggests the
power of games as motivational tools.
The main goal of this research was to conceive a
new game that could promote the entrepreneurial
spirit in children. However, during that process we
Table 2. Evolution of the students' degree of learning, for the second round of the extended evaluation.
Control Group (without SimCompany)
Experimental Group (playing SimCompany)
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