Date of this Version
Rokooei, S., & Goedert, J. D. (2015), Lessons Learned from a Simulation Project in Construction Education, 2015 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24420
Virtual Interactive Construction Education (VICE) is a simulation designed for construction education. The purpose was to provide the traditional lecture-based construction contents along with supplementary instructions in a project-based learning environment. Six modules were proposed as a curriculum delivery guideline including: single span bridge, residential building, light commercial, heavy commercial, highway, and segmental bridge. The single span bridge was the first module used for prototype development providing an opportunity to design, analyze, implement, and test for effectiveness. This paper describes the design steps and results of this three-year research project. VICE-Bridge required participants to sequentially order the construction activities and then select the required resources for each activity such as personnel, equipment and material. The diversity of participants’ responses were represented by an animation or real situation video within the simulation. Different iterations were tested during development and used for analysis, design changes and implementation using feedback from participants to augment development process. The hypothesis of this investigation is that simulations can have a positive effect the participants’ interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines and particularly construction. In addition, the study investigated the participants’ perceptions of simulation on learning and the contrast between project oriented delivery and simulations when compared with traditional teaching methods. VICE was tested three times during the development process by 99 participants that included both high school students and college students. High school students were selected as a sample for two reasons. First, their knowledge and preconceptions about construction would not be tainted as would a student body from a construction program. Secondly, it was important to know what effect the educational game might have on an entry level population. A mixed methodology of both quantitative and qualitative methods was used in this research. The results from the post-survey indicated whether VICE had an influence on participants’ interest in each of the STEM disciplines. Participants also stated to what degree their performance in simulation was impacted by different factors, including prior knowledge from experience, prior knowledge from classroom instruction, instructions within the simulation, "ask a consultant" feature, instructional videos, and learning from mistakes. In addition, the participants’ beliefs about using simulation-based learning and project-based learning methods as a part of integrated construction program curriculum were analyzed. Moreover, the weaknesses and strengths of VICE, asked as open-ended questions, were categorized and qualitatively analyzed for all participants. These various feedback data were further developed, then, utilized in subsequent iterations. Since the participants’ population consisted of college and high school students, a comparison was used to show any possible difference in each group for aforementioned questions.