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Using Construction Equipment Simulators to Teach Learning Curve Theory

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

BIM and Virtual Construction Environments

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1422.1 - 25.1422.11



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Paper Authors

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John Hildreth University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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Using Construction Equipment Simulators to Develop Learning CurvesConstruction crews learn through experience as operations are performed. This learning oftenpositively impacts the achieved production rate and, thus, the cost and duration of the operation.Learning curves are used to graphically, and/or mathematically, describe the effect ofexperiential learning on the increased output or decreased unit cost. The information containedin learning curves can be used to refine cost and time estimates for planned constructionoperations.Teaching the concept of learning curves for construction operations is often difficult becausestudents do not have the opportunity to experience the effect. Providing that experience requiresextended time on site to observe and collect data regarding repetitive operations, and site access,safety considerations, and time constraints typically render this approach unavailable. Facultymay provide a dataset that may be either real or fictitious for students to analyze.Construction equipment simulators have been developed by equipment manufacturers to trainoperators for the stressful and tough construction environments without the need to employ anactual machine. Equipment simulators present an opportunity for construction engineering andmanagement students to operate equipment and repeatedly perform a simulated constructionoperation. As students become familiar with the controls and perform the operation, theyexperience the effect of the learning curve. Data can be collected from the operations to quantifythe learning effect on performance.This paper presents the results of graduate course module that incorporated an active learningexercise to use equipment simulators for the purpose of teaching the learning curve concept.

Hildreth, J. (2012, June), Using Construction Equipment Simulators to Teach Learning Curve Theory Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22179

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