Agapiou, A. (2006) The use and evaluation of a simulation game to teach professional practice skills to undergraduate Architecture students. Journal for Education in the Built Environment, 1 (2). pp. 3-14. ISSN 1747-4205
Architects are currently grappling to exploit new forms of communication made possible with developments in internet communication. At the same time, the construction industry is in a state of flux as novel project management systems are being introduced. Students need to understand the first principles of project management within the context of our changing environment. One of the best ways for students to learn about the legalities of the construction process is through role play and simulation, but there is a Catch 22. Unless students have a basic understanding of project management, the contractual process can be confusing and intimidating. Even fifth and sixth year architecture student are reluctant to ask practitioners questions, for fear of appearing ignorant. This paper describes the use of a web-based simulation game to deliver the Management, Practice and Law syllabus to Architecture Students. The web-based game allows students to critically observe the transformation of designs into buildings through the exploration of the contract management process. A questionnaire survey was used to assess the efficacy of the simulation game as a learning tool, and in particular the effectiveness of the web-based simulation in facilitating the development of professional practice skills in undergraduate Architecture students. The initial results of the assessment indicate that the simulation game is both a useful and complementary adjunct to traditional teaching and learning methods, as observed through the evaluation of outcomes, and helpful in developing generic professional practice skills of undergraduate students. Further game development will require more formal evaluation over a series of uses.
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