The role of manual simulation/games in learning

Williams, Laurence Glynn (2010) The role of manual simulation/games in learning. In: Engineering Education 2010 (EE2010) Conference Proceedings: Inspiring the Next Generation of Engineers. Advance HE, Loughborough, UK, pp. 1-3. ISBN 9781907632099

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The purpose of this workshop is for participants to reflect upon the role of manual simulations or games in developing learning activities. Participants will take part in a manual simulation to achieve some learning outcomes and will then discuss this approach and alternatives to achieving the same learning outcomes.

The purpose of this game is to introduce Optimised Production Technology (OPT) principles for scheduling and materials control in manufacturing systems. The game was initially designed as part of a 2 day course for British Aerospace in Materials Management and has subsequently been used with a wide variety of ages and ability levels, from schoolchildren aged 12/13 years through degree students to professionals in related areas.

The game is to run a production system for a period of time to make a profit. The ‘product’ is simply two pieces of folded paper stapled together in the general shape of an aeroplane. The processes and process routes are similarly straight forward so participants can quickly understand the requirements of the game, however making a profit is not always as easy. The OPT rules and other issues are brought out in the discussion and analysis of the system.

The same topic has been delivered using a variety of methods including traditional lecture, a shortened version of the game, computer based simulation game and various combinations of these. These experiences and the experience of participants will be discussed in groups ending with a plenary.

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