Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Many research studies are related to these tools
of education, but they are concentrated into three
main areas: education, business administration
and management information systems.
Simulation games have their background in
board games, dating back to China in the year
3000 b.c., Go, Weiqi and I go , are followed by
other modern board games such as Monopoly,
created by Darrow (1933) (INVENTOR). But
modern business games, or simulators in busi-
ness administration, arrived on the scene before
1955 (Wolfe, 1993). In 1956 the first management
simulator appeared, Top Management Decision
Simulation , developed by the American Manage-
ment Association, followed closely by the Business
Management Game , developed by McKinsey &
Company (Andlinger, 1958); Schreiber's Manage-
ment Decision Game , the first to be used in the
classroom, and the Top Management Decision
Game, used in University of Washington in 1957.
In 1961 there were more than 100 business games
(Kibbe and Nanus, 1961). Graham and Gray, in
1969, made a list of more than 190 business games
in use, and in the “Guide of Business Games for
Education” 228 were listed (Horn and Cleaves,
1980). The evolution in the use, number and type
of management simulators has been reviewed
in different studies (Faria, 1987), (Faria and
Wellington, 2004), (Burgess, 1991), (McKenna,
1991) and (Day, 1968) among others. Of course,
advances in IT have improved gaming technol-
ogy: board games and paper yield to computer
based simulators; communication technologies,
and multimedia applications bring participants
into closer contact and add greater realism to the
Some selected examples are the business
simulation games developed by the Learning
Lab of Wharton University, which constructed
more than 20 simulators, as well as the E-Strat
Challenge of L'Oreal, and Mark-Strat . There are
many business games and they are being used in
virtually all top universities.
Although many simulators have been devel-
oped, only a few integrate all the company's func-
tional areas, product diversification, geographic
areas, customer segmentation, and different
business technologies. The research group IN-
NOVATIC, at the Autónoma University of Madrid,
which has developed 5 business simulators, is our
reference for this paper.
Educational outcomes highlight the success of
these software products. Advances in education
based on experience and immersion learning, and
the case method, achieve better results in terms of
interest, motivation, participation and team work
(Farrell, 2005). Business simulation improves
the transfer speed from theory to practice, with a
reduced cost, and savings in training time (Mus-
selwhite, 2006). It is a change in mental models,
making faster changing connections between
the perceptions of decisions and actions, having
quantitatively shown its effectiveness in attain-
ing a change in mental processes involved in
decisions (Scherpereel, 2005). Business simula-
tions incorporate behavior, a valid coaching tool,
advanced interfaces, learning on demand, and
teach specific knowledge (Summers, 2004). As
result, improvement in capabilities, competences,
skills and qualities, are well reported. The results
are clear in management improvement of orga-
nizational contingencies, creativity, assessment
criteria, interaction and discussion, and knowledge
acquisition (Wynder, 2004) (McGuinness, 2004)
(Marriott, 2004).
Some controversy exists as to what types of
simulators improve knowledge. On the one hand,
there is the problem of the interrelationship of the
functional company areas, organizational contin-
gencies, the company as an open socio-technical
system, flow or stock variables and feedback,
non-linear relations, qualitative information,
structure-results, since simulators address only one
functional area or problem of the company. The
proposition of an integrated focus, the Systems
Dynamics Approach, helps solve these problems
(Forrester, 1961) (Krajewski, 1998) (Richardson
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