Problem-solving processes in an educational construction simulation game

F. Castronovo, Nicholas Stepanik, Peggy N. Van Meter, John I. Messner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The growing adoption of educational simulation games in construction pedagogy has significantly impacted student learning. One game, the Virtual Construction Simulator 4 (VCS4), has been found to support student learning of how to solve complex construction problems. However, further research is warranted to evaluate the thinking processes that students engage while playing the game. This study examines those thinking processes by analyzing verbal protocols collected as students thought aloud while playing VCS4 game modules and resulting verbal protocols were coded to capture both cognitive and metacognitive operations. Patterns of thought revealed by this coding were then compared to the patterns expected based on the intentions of game design. The results show that students do generally exhibit the expected patterns. These findings support the claim that students engaged in complex higher-order thinking processes and skills, which evolved based on the types of construction projects.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101574
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalAdvanced Engineering Informatics
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the National Science Foundation (Grant #1226204) for the support of the VCS4 game project. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. We also wish to thank all of the student participants, along with the researchers and developers who have worked on the development of previous versions of the VCS, in particular Timothy Schneider, Dragana Nikolic, and Sanghoon Lee.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022


  • Construction education
  • Engineering education
  • Problem-solving
  • Simulation games


Dive into the research topics of 'Problem-solving processes in an educational construction simulation game'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this