Simulation-based learning in management education: A longitudinal quasi-experimental evaluation of instructional effectiveness

Jiafang LU, Philip HALLINGER, Parinya SHOWANASAI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Proponents have argued that simulation-based learning (SBL) offers capabilities that respond to persisting critiques of management education. This research intended to provide additional empirical evidence for the instructional effectiveness of SBL. This paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach: This research adopted a quasi-experimental, multiple time series design to examine the instructional effectiveness of courses that incorporated computer simulations in a Master of Management program at a business school in Thailand. It compared student perceptions of three SBL courses with courses that used a variety of other instructional approaches over a period of seven years. Findings: Results revealed that students rated the SBL courses significantly higher on overall perceived instructional effectiveness, as manifested by action-directed learning, student engagement, quality of assessment and feedback, and instructor effectiveness. Research limitations/implications: The consistency of significant results for a large number of course sections over a substantial period of time suggests that the SBL courses created a more active, productive environment in which to learn management theory and practice. Practical implications: The results support assertions that simulations offer potential for enhancing the quality of university-based management education. Originality/value: First, the research provides empirical insights into the implementation of SBL in management education; second, many instructors remain skeptical as to whether active learning methods imported from western contexts are suitable for Asian learners. The study addresses this issue in the light of data that describe one institution’s sustained attempt to employ computer simulations in its graduate management education program. Copyright © 2014 Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-244
JournalJournal of Management Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


Management education
Computer simulation
Multiple time series
Empirical research
Learning methods
Student engagement
Empirical evidence
Active learning
Design methodology
Program management
Management theory
Business schools
Student perceptions
Management practices


Lu, J., Hallinger, P., & Showanasai, P. (2014). Simulation-based learning in management education: A longitudinal quasi-experimental evaluation of instructional effectiveness. Journal of Management Development, 33(3), 218-244.


  • Management education
  • Simulation-based learning
  • Multiple time-series design
  • Student evaluation