Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

The Team vs. the Individual: Login Activity as a Predictor of Web-Based Simulation Team Success

Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

The Team vs. the Individual: Login Activity as a Predictor of Web-Based Simulation Team Success

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The investigation into the student group dynamic provides insight into pedagogical strategy of utilizing groups in the classroom. Student groups have been found to be more productive than the individual in their ability to introduce diversity in thought and understanding of material (Umble, Umble & Artz, 2008). Further, the use of simulations in the classroom have also proved positive: learning reinforcement (Dweck, 1986), exposure to real-world decision-making scenarios, increased decision-making speed, and extended information retention times (Bolt, 1993).

Empirical analysis examining student activity via the number of online simulation log-ins is used to examine the relationship between both the group's average number of log-ins as well as the individual log-in activity of overachieving group members and overall group success in the simulation. Thus, allowing us to assess the utility of the login variable as a predictor of team performance at the group and individual level.

Findings from a sample of 10 different simulations comprised of over 250 students across 54 groups (approximately 5 students per group) suggest that individual log-ins within teams may be better predictors of performance than group-based measures. Thus, based on this observation, the individual may have more impact on team success that the group as a whole. Pedagogical implications are provided to highlight the possible use of activity level (e.g., number of log-ins for computer simulations) as a predictor of overall group performance.

WEB-BASED COMPUTER SIMULATIONS

In an effort to enrich the classroom experience for students in higher education, competitions, namely computer simulations, have been used heavily (Cantor, 1995). Computer simulations have been used in various business disciplines: marketing, accounting (Polimeni, Burke and Benyaminy, 2009), organizational science (Hill, Bartol, Tesluk and Langa, 2009), political science and international relations (Meleshevich & Tamashiro, 2008). The use of computer simulations as learning tools has been main stream since the mid-late 1970's (Sprouls, 1962; Trieschmann, 1976) due to the ability of students to learn through practice as opposed to the traditional hands-off approach. Online computer simulations are internet-based games which introduce a more realistic learning experience than pure theory or even case studies (DiMeglio, 2008).

Umble, Umble & Artz (2008) describe the benefits of team-based competitions as learning tools and their positive effects on student learning process, student motivation to learn, greater retention of knowledge, a more comprehensive and integrative understanding of course material, among other benefits. Positive outcomes from competition include learning reinforcement (Dweck, 1986), exposure to real-world decision-making scenarios, increased decision-making speed as well as longer information retention times (Bolt, 1993). Academic research has also recognized the ability for students to evaluate information, weigh alternatives and to make decisions in a virtual environment (Di Meglio, 2008).

This study examines the volume of group member logins as a predictor of team performance. Both group average logins and individual team member logins are examined as independent variables against to the dependent variable team performance. At the group unit of analysis, the sum of the logins for each member divided by the number of team members is used to determine the average number of logins for each team. At the individual unit of analysis, the number of logins for the "high login" member for each team is used as the independent variable. Regression analyses were used to assess relationships between these two variables and team performance.

CAPSIM©

The computer simulation used in this study will be CAPSIM©. CAPSIM© is a crossfunctional team-based competitive computer simulation wherein students are tasked with managing a $100 million company over a simulated time period of up to 8 years (Saulnier, 2009). …

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