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Effects of a Simulation on Exam Scores and Teaching Evaluation Results
Unformatted Document Text:  of the subjective impressions of the instructor or the students (cf Shellman 2001, 833; Powner and Allendoerfer 2008, 7). For example, Smith and Boyer (1996, 693-4) state that [t]he greatest unknown in using simulations is the impact of the method on student learning. Both of the authors of this article have accumulated large amounts of anecdotal evidence supporting the idea that simulation promotes greater depth of understanding and higher levels of retention while promoting the development of stronger critical thinking and analytical skills and generating enthusiasm for learning. Unfortunately, none of this information has been collective, standardized, or quantified. Indeed, many of our colleagues still believe we receive large teaching enrollments and solid teaching evaluations because the students enjoy playing games rather than sitting through the more traditional, lecture style course. But we conclude otherwise. While many scholars argue that active learning techniques are more effective in teaching “content, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills than conventional methods of lectures, reading, and group practice” (Dorn 1989, 8), one study of the use a gaming exercise in an introductory economics course found that the exercise had little comparative advantage over common instructional techniques. While it does encourage students to become more actively involved in the learning process, the amount of gain in economic understanding that a student could expect relative to an alternative experience of a conventional introductory course is considerably less . . . When the impact of the game was compared to the impact of conventional teaching under controlled situations, there was no statistically

Authors: Raymond, Chad.
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of the subjective impressions of the instructor or the students (cf Shellman 2001, 833; Powner
and Allendoerfer 2008, 7). For example, Smith and Boyer (1996, 693-4) state that
[t]he greatest unknown in using simulations is the impact of the method on
student learning. Both of the authors of this article have accumulated large
amounts of anecdotal evidence supporting the idea that simulation promotes
greater depth of understanding and higher levels of retention while promoting the
development of stronger critical thinking and analytical skills and generating
enthusiasm for learning. Unfortunately, none of this information has been
collective, standardized, or quantified. Indeed, many of our colleagues still
believe we receive large teaching enrollments and solid teaching evaluations
because the students enjoy playing games rather than sitting through the more
traditional, lecture style course. But we conclude otherwise.
While many scholars argue that active learning techniques are more effective in teaching
“content, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills than conventional methods of lectures,
reading, and group practice” (Dorn 1989, 8), one study of the use a gaming exercise in an
introductory economics course found that the exercise had
little comparative advantage over common instructional techniques. While it does
encourage students to become more actively involved in the learning process, the
amount of gain in economic understanding that a student could expect relative to
an alternative experience of a conventional introductory course is considerably
less . . . When the impact of the game was compared to the impact of
conventional teaching under controlled situations, there was no statistically


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