Development and Evaluation of a Simulation-Based Graduate Education Course

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: David Kaufman, Faculty of Education

Project team: Negar Kaviani, research assistant

Timeframe: May to August 2012

Funding: $2,975

Course addressed: EDUC 894 – Methods for Research and Inquiry in Learning Technologies

Poster presentation: View a poster (PDF) describing this project from the 2013 Symposium on Teaching and Learning.

Description: Students completing a MEd in the Educational Technology & Learning Design are required to attend a course in which they apply their research skills by conducting an actual research study (EDUC 894). Feedback from students and the previous instructor highlight two main problems with this course: (1) The workload created in conducting an actual research study in a one-semester course is unrealistic and overwhelming, and (2) Students work in teams and each team conducts a different study. Therefore, students receive variable exposure to important topics, experience gaps in their learning, and/or have limited opportunity to practice essential skills.

Based on this feedback, EDUC 894 will be redesigned using simulation as the instructional model. There has been a great deal of recent interest in using simulation in education, as there are a number of arguments that would seem to support simulations as learning tools (Kaufman & Sauve, 2010) which include: greater engagement, simulated experiences, better meeting learning outcomes, and possible integration of theory, experience and best practice.

The creation of the full-scale simulation will evolve over several offerings of this course each year. This first iteration, funded by this grant, will comprise a fully operational paper and web-based simulation containing all the necessary artifacts. Subsequent versions will include computer-based artifacts and multimedia learning objects.

The first version of the simulation will be designed for graduate students to work through the various steps of a mixed-method research study (quantitative and qualitative design). Students will work collaboratively in small teams during each class to complete some practice activities to prepare them to complete the next step of the simulation. Each individual then will work outside of class to complete and present their version of a ‘deliverable’ for each step of the research process. Students then will be presented with the instructor’s version and will move on to the next step. These steps will continue until the research study has been completed and a full research article written by each student.

The steps to be followed are: identify the research problem, review the literature, specify a research purpose/questions, complete ethics review/prepare consent form, design/methods/collect data, analyze & interpret data, draw conclusions, and write final paper.

Kaufman, D., & Sauvé, L. (2010). Educational gameplay and simulation environments: Case studies and lessons learned. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Questions addressed:

  • What is the workload of students and is the time outside of class appropriate?
  • How well/actively do students participate?
  • Are there any problems related to learning and teaching?
  • What are students’ suggestions for improvement?
  • Have the students’ knowledge, skills, attitudes, and confidence increased from the start to the end of the course?
  • How do students plan to use what they have learned after the course?

Knowledge sharing: Project results were presented as a poster (PDF) at the 2013 Symposium on Teaching and Learning at SFU.

Kaufman, D. (2013, May). A simulation-based graduate educational research course. Poster session presented at the Symposium on Teaching and Learning: Embracing Change @SFU, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC.