A Review of Previous Studies

A Review of Previous Studies

Angela Piu (University of L’Aquila, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-930-4.ch011
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The chapter presents a critical analysis of the literature on simulation games identifying the research direction along which the studies conducted up until now have been following and the issues that have emerged during the research. On the basis of these considerations, a choice can be made of the most suitable simulation games to employ in a specific learning context.
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Certain Results

The results on the effectiveness of simulation games, notwithstanding the 50 years of fruitful experience (Wolfe & Crookhall, 1998), have not always been supported by the research, and even where there has been research, one has to exercise considerable caution when reading the results. As various authors point out, for example Randel, Pierfy, Bredemeier and others, numerous studies have not been adequately structured, there is no shared taxonomy of simulation games and the final results frequently lack thorough documentation.

Three categories of research into simulation games have been identified in the literature:

  • descriptive studies of the effects of a particular game on the participants;

  • explanatory studies that place the results achieved by various players in relation to other variables;

  • comparative studies that compare the effectiveness of simulation games with other teaching methods (Fletcher, 1969 in Keach & Pierfy, 1972).

To the first group belong those studies that describe what the participants have learnt from the experience through subjective observations supplied by the designer of the game and the teachers involved. Though many studies examine a single group of subjects, some also assess students’ perceptions of the game by asking them what they have learnt; other studies provide the learning results.

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