Design of a construction simulation educational game through a cognitive lens

Fadi Castronovo, Sarah E. Zappe, John I. Messner, Robert M. Leicht

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Recent advances in digital technology have expanded the adoption of computer modeling software in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) Industry. This adoption has also initiated changes to curricula and teaching dynamics. In particular, in the field of construction engineering and management, visualization software is being implemented to support students' learning and cognition. One example is simulation games, such as the Virtual Construction Simulator (VCS), developed and implemented to engage students in an active learning 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 through practical experience. A new version has been developed utilizing the ADDIE (analyze, design, develop, implement, evaluate) framework for the design of instructional material. Through the development of the VCS4, we aim to illustrate how a rigorous analysis of cognitive models and theories, instructional design guidelines for multimedia learning, fundamentals of human computer interaction theories, and 4D simulation guidelines, can support the design and development of an educational simulation game. The game is designed using several modules to target differing levels of experience from outreach efforts of high school students and underclassmen, to senior construction engineering students in technical courses. Three different learning modules, with scaled learning objectives, were developed to target undergraduate to graduate students learning about construction engineering and management. The design of the game was dictated from new game mechanics and features, which aim at supporting the engagement as well as the acquisition of higher order cognitive skills. Additionally, the development will illustrate the dynamic nature of the VCS4 by using Building Information Models for the development of additional learning modules. The presented work illustrates how the influence of instructional theories and design can support the generation of a new learning platform for construction engineering and management.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event2015 122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Seattle, United States
Duration: 14 Jun 201517 Jun 2015


Conference2015 122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© American Society for Engineering Education, 2015.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


Dive into the research topics of 'Design of a construction simulation educational game through a cognitive lens'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this