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Design of a Construction Simulation Educational Game Through a Cognitive Lens

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Construction Education Topics

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Page Count


Page Numbers

26.464.1 - 26.464.15



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Paper Authors


Fadi Castronovo Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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I am an architectural engineer with a passion for education, design, and sustainability. I have expressed these interests in my everyday life through my education, profession, and personal life.

I am currently pursuing a PhD in Architectural Engineering with a minor in Educational Psychology. My research interest lie in the areas of engineering education, sustainability, integrative design, simulation and educational games, and virtual reality.

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Sarah E. Zappe Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Dr. Sarah Zappe is Research Associate and Director of Assessment and Instructional Support in the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education at Penn State. She holds a doctoral degree in educational psychology emphasizing applied measurement and testing. In her position, Sarah is responsible for developing instructional support programs for faculty, providing evaluation support for educational proposals and projects, and working with faculty to publish educational research. Her research interests primarily involve creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship education.

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John I. Messner Pennsylvania State University


Robert M. Leicht Pennsylvania State University

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Robert M. Leicht is an assistant professor and graduate of the Department of Architectural Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University. He is the Director of the Partnership for Achieving Construction Excellence (PACE) at Penn State. Rob is an investigator in the new delivery methods study seeking to empirically capture the impact of integration on project success. Rob leads the construction engineering course dedicated to mechanical and electrical systems construction, he is the lead faculty for the construction option capstone course; he teaches graduate level courses in production management and project delivery systems.

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Instructional Design and Development of the Virtual Construction Simulator 4 Recent advances in digital technology have expanded the adoption of computer modelingsoftware in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) Industry. This adoption hasalso initiated changes to curriculums and teaching dynamics. In particular, in the field ofconstruction engineering and management, visualization software is being implemented tosupport students’ learning and cognition. One example is simulation games, such as the VirtualConstruction Simulator (VCS), developed and implemented to engage students in an activelearning environment by simulating the planning and management of a construction project. The previous version of the VCS has shown great potential in enhancing students’motivation and basic learning of dynamic construction concepts traditionally acquired throughpractical experience. Continuing the previous research efforts, a new version has been developedutilizing the ADDIE (analyze, design, develop, implement, evaluate) framework for the design ofinstructional material, and innovative game development technology. Through the developmentof VCS4, we aim to engage, promote, and assess the acquisition of higher order cognitive skillsand problem-solving skills. The paper will provide an overview on the analysis, design, and development steps of theVCS4 instructional design. The game is designed using several modules to target differing levelsof experience from outreach efforts of high school students and underclassmen, to seniorconstruction engineering students in technical courses. Three different learning modules, withscaled learning objectives, were developed to target undergraduate to graduate students learningabout construction management. The design of the game was dictated from new game mechanicsand features, which aim at supporting engagement as well as the acquisition higher ordercognitive skills. Additionally, the development will illustrate the dynamic nature of the VCS4 byusing Building Information Models for the development of additional learning modules.Preliminary assessment of the VCS4 has begun; assessment plans and preliminary data will bepresented in the final paper. The presented work illustrates the necessary steps towards thegeneration of a new learning platform for construction engineering and management.

Castronovo, F., & Zappe, S. E., & Messner, J. I., & Leicht, R. M. (2015, June), Design of a Construction Simulation Educational Game Through a Cognitive Lens Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23802

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