Learning with simulation games: Evaluating hotel simulation games’ effectiveness on higher academic performance within service and hospitality

Michael Sørensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The purpose of this thesis is to evaluate hotel simulation games’ effectiveness on higher academic performance within service and hospitality. Effectiveness is assessed through the examination of the relationship between playing hotel simulation games and derived potential learning outcomes. Factors and processes that are expected to influence learning within hotel simulation game playing, as well as different potential learning outcomes, were incorporated into a designed logic model for hotel simulation games. To validate the conceptualized relationships and designed model, several different methods of gathering qualitative and quantitative data were employed. They included, among others, a comprehensive questionnaire undertaken with students from the 2011 course of Leadership & Strategy, and an exploratory interview with a Harvard Professor expert in simulation games. The responses and results reveal interesting insights into learning through hotel simulation game playing. Overall, students’, teachers’ and game characteristics’ seem to impact learning through game simulation. The processes underlying learning also seem to positively impact the learning outcomes. Further, both cognitive and affective learning outcomes were induced and facilitated through game playing. This evidences that hotel simulation games are a highly effective learning tool for higher academic educational purposes. Simulation games are, however, an effective learning tool to boost mainly practical knowledge and, in this regard, should be considered as a supplement to existing theoretical teaching methods. Having that into perspective, it can be advocated that hotel simulation games should be integrated into current academic curriculums, thus working towards shifting the current teaching paradigm to a more interactive and practical approach to learning looking forward.

EducationsMSocSc in Service Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages163