The development and implementation of business simulations in higher education in the United Kingdom.
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This thesis is a study of the development and implementation of business simulations/games in United Kingdom Higher Education institutions. The research takes an holistic approach and examines the topic from the perspective of developers of business simulations, academics who choose to implement simulations in their teaching, and students who are the end users of business simulations. The research is based on an empirical instructivist research paradigm and takes an holistic approach to consideration of the key issues in design, development and use of business simulations/games from the perspective of developers, academics, and learners. The research takes a pragmatic approach to the application of research methods. It relies mainly on the use of qualitative methods to examine in detail the perceptions of learners. A typology of business simulation/games was established and a set of six educational objectives associated with use of business simulations was derived from a study of the literature. Surveys of developers and academics were conducted in order to determine the extent to which both groups shared a common perception of key features which should be exhibited by a business simulation and the pedagogical objectives which business simulations could support. A wide range of literature in the field of educational technology was analysed to determine the manner in which business simulations supported current views on pedagogic theories and also models of learning. The manner in which the pedagogical objectives of simulations were evaluated was then considered and, through a critical review of the literature, a framework for evaluation of business simulations was developed. The framework for evaluation was used in a case study evaluation of Masters students at the Robert Gordon University, the United Kingdom. The evaluation drew on illuminative and integrative evaluation approaches. Drawing on the literature and the findings of the surveys of academics and developers the evaluation explored the key question of whether or not the use of the business simulation achieved the pedagogical objectives which it was intended to achieve, examined the process by which students learn using a business simulation, and did this in the authentic context in which the business simulation was used. The results of the literature analysis and empirical surveys were used to summarize the critical success factors in developing and implementing business simulations in the Higher Education curriculum in the UK. Issues which arose as barriers to adoption of the use of business simulation were explored and recommendations on how to address the key barriers associated with adoption of business simulations are discussed.
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