The Use of Discrete-Event Simulation for Business Education: Learning by Observing, Simulating and Improving

The Use of Discrete-Event Simulation for Business Education: Learning by Observing, Simulating and Improving

Marijana Zekić-Sušac (University of Osijek, Croatia), Adela Has (University of Osijek, Croatia) and Marinela Knežević (University of Osijek, Croatia)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0004-0.ch006
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Abstract

A new teaching approach is presented which integrates observational learning through field teaching of business processes and simulation modeling in order to increase students' learning outcomes and acceptance of computer simulation technology. The teaching method, called LOSI (learning by observing, simulating, and improving), was conducted at a Croatian high education institution. The efficiency of the LOSI approach was investigated by conducting a survey based on the technology acceptance model (TAM). The indicators of ease of use, usefulness, and enjoyment in participating in LOSI were collected along with students' grades and their intention to use this technology in future work and education. The inter-relations among variables were analyzed by statistical tests. The results revealed that students find LOSI easy to use, useful in achieving learning outcomes, and highly enjoyable, while the ease of use and enjoyment is positively associated to usefulness (i.e., learning outcomes).
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Background: Theory And Previous Research

All simulation models are simplifications of reality (Zeigler, 1976). According to Greasley (2003), simulation provides a way of experimenting with a model of an organizational system in the attempt to understand its behavior under several scenarios. Borshchev and Filippov (2004) defined the simulation model as a set of rules that describe how the system being modeled will change in the future, given its present state. Van der Aalst (2010) described the computer simulations as attempts to imitate real life or hypothetical behavior on a computer, in order to explore how to improve processes or systems and to predict their performance under different circumstances.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Field Teaching: Teaching students outside of the classroom, typically as field trips to a company or other institution where students can observe and experience real processes with the aim to enhance their understanding and confidence.

Business Process: A set of linked activities and tasks that aim to accomplish an organizational goal, such as the delivery of a product or service to a client. It can be modeled as a flowchart of a sequence of activities with interleaving decision points or as a process matrix of a sequence of activities with relevance rules based on data in the process.

LOSI Approach: Learning by observing, simulating, and improving—a teaching approach that integrates observational learning through field teaching and simulation tools in order to increase students’ acceptance of computer-simulation technology and learning outcomes.

Simulation Model: A set of rules that describe how the system being modeled will change in the future, given its present state.

Discrete-Event Simulation: Modeling of a system as it evolves over time by a representation in which the state variables change instantaneously at separate points in time.

Computer: S imulation: A way of experimenting with a model of an organizational system in the attempt to understand its behavior under several scenarios using computer.

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