Assessment of Complex Simulation Value in MBA Courses: A Quantitative Ex Post Facto Comparative Study

Assessment of Complex Simulation Value in MBA Courses: A Quantitative Ex Post Facto Comparative Study

Author: 
Teresa Hutchinson
Program of study: 
Ed.D./ET
Abstract: 
Corporations seek Master of Business Administration (MBA) students who are ready to perform upon hiring. Business schools need to align instructional practices and technology with student, accreditation, and marketplace demands. Complex simulation use has increased exponentially to provide MBA students with business experience in the classroom. Methods to assess the effectiveness of complex simulations to achieve learning outcomes is limited to student perceptions of learning, satisfaction, and direct assessment separately. The purpose of this quantitative ex post facto, comparative study was to examine MBA students’ perception of learning to real performance in integrative courses with complex simulation. Archival MBA student Peregrine COMP™ pretest, posttest, and SIRII™ scores were analyzed using independent t-test, paired sample t-test, and Pearson r coefficient. MBA students perceived higher levels of learning in courses with complex simulation based on the statistically significant increase in SIRII™ scores over courses without simulation. Another key finding from the quantitative study was the statistically significant negative correlation of students’ perception of learning to actual performance. Positive student perceptions of learning could hide a complex simulation’s inability to meet student learning outcomes, according to the statistically significant decrease between pretest, and posttest Peregrine COMP™ scores. Based on the quantitative correlation analysis of student perceptions of learning to actual performance, MBA administrators and faculty need to evaluate the use of instructional technology from multiple data points to avoid applications that offer minimal value to achieving learning outcomes. Future research opportunities could include a larger MBA population from multiple regions of the United States. Additional studies could investigate undergraduate perceptions of learning to actual performance to assess any benefit from complex simulations.
Dedication: 
I dedicate this dissertation to my late husband, Jack Hutchinson who encouraged me to start this journey, but unfortunately wasn’t able to see its end. I am very thankful to my mother, Bea Bellman for supporting me throughout the dissertation process. My son, Michael Hazelwood, who kept me going with fun anecdotes when I had to miss family gatherings and write on holidays. I look to everyone in my family as my primary motivation and hope to share increased opportunities with you.
Acknowledgements: 
With the utmost appreciation, I want to thank my dissertation chair, Dr. Arfe Ozcan and my committee members, Dr. Carol Hall, and Dr. Barbara Trent who held me accountable during the dissertation process. Dr. Ozcan was firm in holding me to deadlines, but in a supportive way that kept me moving forward. Dr. Hall, I am so appreciative of your APA guidance and keeping me on track. Dr. Trent really helped finalize my research methodology. My dissertation chair and committee members serve as a major example of the most professional, dedicated educational professionals that University of Phoenix has to offer. I am so thankful for their contributions and willingness to go above-and-beyond.