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Effects of the heterogeneity of game complexity and user population in learning performance of business simulation games

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Computers & Education Volume 59, Number 4, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


Previous studies on business simulation games (BSGs) have concluded that improved performance may not be the primary benefit of using BSGs, due to mixed results between student performance and perceptions. Two relevant and insightful issues attract our attention, namely, the impacts of the heterogeneous student population and the different complexity levels of BSG software. To address these issues, the present study aims to understand the relationship between student profile/characteristics and performance in the classroom with BSG-facilitated learning. An in-depth case study is conducted on a general college course designed to teach three different complexities of BSGs to students enrolled in different majors. Four student profile factors are individually tested for differences in performance scores as evaluated by the teacher. Additionally, the influences of 11 student characteristics are assessed with regard their self-reported perceived learning performances. Regression analysis and ANOVA are used to investigate the impacts of heterogeneous users and game complexity on student performance. Based on the regression analyses of the data collected from 43 respondents who participated in the general course, the study concludes that knowledge and skill may influence the heterogeneous student population; moreover, student participation and tacit learning preference improve performance, and students with an auditory learning preference or high learning motivation may not perform well in classroom BSG learning. However, the low value of adjusted R square implies that more dimensions or variables are needed to increase the explaining power of the performance scores in the regression analyses. In contrast, heterogeneous BSG software with different complexity levels present different results. The current research contributes practical and incremental knowledge on the complexity of heterogeneous BSG software on performance scores and the perceived learning performance of heterogeneous student populations. With the research limitations acknowledged, a series of suggestions for teachers pertaining to appropriate applications of BSGs in classes is offered as well as recommendations to BSG providers. Nevertheless, in-depth analyses are required, preferably with larger student population samples, to further explore the insignificant relationship between student perceptions and attitude under nonlinear extended complexity.


Tao, Y.H., Yeh, C.R. & Hung, K.C. (2012). Effects of the heterogeneity of game complexity and user population in learning performance of business simulation games. Computers & Education, 59(4), 1350-1360. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved March 22, 2023 from .

This record was imported from Computers & Education on January 31, 2019. Computers & Education is a publication of Elsevier.

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