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An evaluation of a contract management simulation game for architecture students

Agapiou, Andrew (2006) An evaluation of a contract management simulation game for architecture students. Centre for Education in the Built Environment Transactions, 3 (2). pp. 38-51. ISSN 1745-0322

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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 students are reluctant to ask practitioners questions for fear of appearing ignorant. This paper presents an evaluation of the cost and benefits of a web-based simulation game to deliver the Architecture studies curriculum. The webbased 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 how the computer simulation operates as a group exercise, how it compares with more traditional approaches and the best and worst features of the web-based system. The students found the game to be practical, enjoyable, motivating and effective in stimulating the learning process. The benefits of the web-based game were also found to outweigh the costs, thus providing support for its use as an active learning tool in Architectural Education.