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Evaluation of service management simulation activities

Project leader(s): 
David Bowers

The aim of the study is to understand the effectiveness in developing communication skills of two activities in a new module TM254 that use gamification to simulate a service management challenge. 

In the first simulation, students are assigned, arbitrarily, a role within a group of 5 “managers”.  All students in the group receive one email a day, over a period of 2-3 weeks, which may be a “noise” message addressed to everybody, or may be directed specifically to their role.  In the latter case, they can choose one of four responses.  To cater for students who cannot access email on any particular day, there is a default response of “do nothing”, triggered overnight if there is no other response.

The second activity is an online simulation in which only role-specific messages are seen. Participants see all messages sent to each role and the possible responses, and choose how each role responds.

Both simulations are designed to demonstrate the importance of engagement with the underlying scenario and prompt communication (responses) to the specific messages.

All students will be able to access the second activity, and run it several times; a TMA question will ask them to comment on what they see as the important factors in the simulation, that can help avoid – or promote – disaster, and thence, on the importance of effective communication within an organisation.

The first, email-based, simulation is optional for the first (18J) presentation of.  This study seeks to understand the benefits and challenges of the two simulations and, in particular, whether the, more realistic, email-based simulation helps students to understand better the challenge of picking out important messages from background “noise”. 

The outcomes from this study will inform refinements of the activities for future presentations of TM254 and other modules with requirements to develop effective communication.

David Bowers and Matthew Nelson presentation