Academic journal article International Journal of Cyber Society and Education

Benchmarking Learner Education Using Online Business Simulation

Academic journal article International Journal of Cyber Society and Education

Benchmarking Learner Education Using Online Business Simulation

Article excerpt


Background of Research

Building of dynamic capability, which is a strategic competency, is structurally modeled through a learning-by-doing approach via an online simulation game. A 60-participant pilot study explored perspectives of business simulation learners across three specializations, namely, Human Resources, General Business, and Accounting. The Cesim Global Strategy Simulation consisted of three practice turns and six to eight game turns, each equaling one year of real time. The scenario students played was based on a simulated Global handset market, managing, production, technological innovations, marketing, logistics, taxation, and finance of mobile handsets. The course team leader deployed Total Shareholder Return as the winning criterion, and this factor was based on an algorithm that accounted for net present value of dividends paid and the net increase in share valuation.

The analysis was based on the Dynamic Capabilities model proposed by Romme et al. (2010), and structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to fit and assess both 1) path analysis and 2) aggregated factor models that connected the students' experiential learning in a Cesim business simulation-based college course to the assessed components of the course. Path analysis implied causation, whereas the factor model was analyzed to determine the relationships among factors. Subsequent data, using the same Cesim simulation gaming platform, have enabled further validation of models proposed in this study and exploration of emergent properties, from incremental changes made to the assessed components of the course. Simulation gaming has the exciting potential to explore the ways in which educators in the digital age create a learning environment that attracts students' interest and engagement in learning strategic management (Miller, 2013).


The study of business simulation in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been limited. However, the Higher Colleges of Technology (UAE) has had recent deployment of another study about business strategy simulation. Using a qualitative phenomenological approach in a focus group setting, De Klerk (2015) reported that student perceptions of the use of a business simulation and students' lived experiences helped them understand and apply learning of business concepts. Kabeil (2009) developed a computer business simulation called the Strategic Management Game while teaching in the UAE at the University of Sharjah. The simulation had a logistics and manufacturing focus and comprised two products, tractors and trailers; over three available technology levels; and five teams called syndicates who played over five class meetings. Students participated in the simulation and filled human resources, production, inventory, marketing, and finance functions in the simulation. Kabeil (2009) measured the acquisition of business expertise in a 5-point Likert Scale to establish the learners' position on the Felder Index of Learning Style (ILS). Kabeil (2009) explored empowerment, dynamics, validity, intensity, holistic approach, and collective experience proposed in 2007 by Lainema and Lainema. Intensity and dynamics were the key factors developed using the business simulation.

Outside the UAE, Kiili (2007) also created a game and asserted that the three most important criteria in educational games were authenticity, collaboration, and learning by doing. Hoffman and Nadelson (2010) examined motivation to participate in simulation as rooted in gender, task orientation, time consumption, and socialization. On the other hand, Kilburn and Kilburn (2012) postulated that high levels of participation and interest, rather than teacher mentoring were more crucial for team success.


Three theoretical perspectives were used in the analysis of benchmarking innovation education through business simulation. The linked feedback model by Romme et al. (2010) shown in Figure 1 guided the study while two models shown later in the results section of the study were synthesized as emergent properties of the pilot study. …

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