Improving Instructional Simulation with Structural Debriefing

Pavlov, O., K. Saeed and L. W. Robinson (2015). "Improving Instructional Simulation with Structural Debriefing." Simulation & Gaming 46(3-4): 383-403.

18 Pages Posted: 1 May 2016 Last revised: 4 May 2017

See all articles by Oleg V. Pavlov

Oleg V. Pavlov

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) - Department of Social Science & Policy Studies

Khalid Saeed

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)

Lawrence W. Robinson

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management

Date Written: April 28, 2016

Abstract

Background. Research shows that learning and task performance improve when participants in management exercises understand the structure of the system they control. However, the majority of business simulators are “black-boxes.”

Aim. This article introduces structural debriefing, which is a debriefing activity aimed at helping students learn about causal relationships, feedbacks, accumulations and delays within a black-box simulation.

Method. A structural debriefing can be prepared and facilitated by following the Structural Debriefing Protocol.

Results. A pilot study was conducted in which undergraduate students participated in a structural debriefing of The LITTLEFIELD TECHNOLOGIES, a popular simulation for teaching principles of operations management. The students were able to complete all eight steps of a structural debriefing, but required considerable time (three academic terms) to do so. Not every instructional simulation will require all the steps or such a large time commitment.

Conclusion. The successful completion of the pilot study demonstrates that structural debriefing is a useful debriefing technique. However, to be effective, the scope and format of a structural debriefing activity must suit practical and pedagogical considerations.

Keywords: debriefing; structural debriefing; simulation; simulators; black-box simulation; business training; LITTLEFIELD; operations management; system dynamics; systems thinking; learning science

JEL Classification: M11; L00; D21; C63; A2

Suggested Citation

Pavlov, Oleg V. and Saeed, Khalid and Robinson, Lawrence W., Improving Instructional Simulation with Structural Debriefing (April 28, 2016). Pavlov, O., K. Saeed and L. W. Robinson (2015). "Improving Instructional Simulation with Structural Debriefing." Simulation & Gaming 46(3-4): 383-403., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2772353

Oleg V. Pavlov (Contact Author)

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) - Department of Social Science & Policy Studies ( email )

100 Institute Road
Worcester, MA 01609
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.olegpavlov.org

Khalid Saeed

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) ( email )

100 Institute Road
Worcester, MA 01609
United States

Lawrence W. Robinson

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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