The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Enhancing Students’ Engagement with a Simulation Game on Change management

Petra Hauptfeld, University of Applied Sciences Burgenland (Austria)


The famous quote from Friedrich Schiller states that an individual is only fully human when playing [1], Play encompasses a person holistically and if game-based learning is understood as a simulation of real life that must be mastered, the use of games in teaching is particularly effective. The term game-based learning refers to digital games that allow students to simulate real experiences and generate learning effects. On the one hand, games stimulate students’ engagement through having fun; on the other hand, they can increase their performance regarding the topic of the game. Hence, to provide students with these game-based learning experiences, the University of Applied Sciences Burgenland introduced a business game on change management in the Master study degree program "Human Resource Management and Labour Law". The game SysTeamsChange [2] is based on the three phases of change by Kurt Lewin [3], which are enlarged in the game with the goal to lead 22 virtual employees of a table soccer company into the phase of integration. The game can be played either only digitally or with a physical game set, but in both forms individual computerized feedback is provided on the single moves. Students play in small teams, acting as change agents. The game stimulates learning effects on two different levels. One level refers to the strategy of the moves: The computer provides feedback on successful and unsuccessful moves, which promotes cognitive learning in relation to change management processes; the other level triggers group dynamics and emotional reactions among the team, which become very evident when playing. In a debriefing phase, these processes on the two levels are reflected. Students discuss the transfer of the game to reality, the concrete learning insights for change management and the group dynamics within the team. The on-site oral presentation introduces the game, a simulation can be tried out with certain moves. The presentation will also give insights on how the students experience the entire game, the decisions on the moves within the teams, the group dynamics and the learning effects. The students’ feedback is regularly very positive with a score of 1.2 and shows the successful implementation of the game. With comments in the evaluations like "exciting, insightful, very informative, effective, I would have liked to play longer" the aim of enhancing their engagement is achieved to a very high extent.

Keywords student engagement, game-based learning, change management game  


[1] Schiller, F (1793-1794). Theoretische Schriften. Über die ästhetische Erziehung     des Menschen in einer Reihe von Briefen, 15. Brief
[2] Game: SysTeamsChange:
[3] Lewin, K. (1947). Frontiers in group dynamics. Concept, method and reality in social science. Social equilibria and social change. In: Human Relations. Ed. 1, No. 1, p. 5–41

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