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ISAGA Summer School 2022 at the Centre for Management Simulation

three people discussing in front of a flipchart
picture of whole group

Even though the weather was not very summer-like the participants from Poland, France, Austria, and New Zealand made the ISAGA Summer School 2022 a week of a warm and sunny spirit.

Getting started on Monday we had a day of playing simulation games and discussing debriefing methods as well as game contents. One out of three games played was chosen to be an example for research. The overall goal of the Summer School was to develop and apply a research design on learning with simulation games. The simulation game used therefore was The Fishing Game. In the game players fish in a shared lake common but limited fish. The matter of the game is whether players compete each other or start to cooperate with each other. The game can be debriefed on questions on sustainability but also on competition or cooperation when dealing with limited resources in general, like it is the case in entrepreneurship and other business contexts.

After inputs on games and research on Tuesday, participants developed an overall research question: Does The Fishing Game support a change in cooperative behaviour/attitude? To research this matter an evaluation design was developed and applied on Wednesday afternoon with students from the DHBW. The design exists of a pre- and post-questionnaire. The pre-questionnaire was to evaluate the personal tendency of cooperation or competition players bring into the game. The post questionnaire evaluates players’ personal learnings and impressions from the game, mainly in a qualitative way. During the game, two trained observers per team documented the cooperative or competitive behaviour of the team in a structured way. Due to that, participants’ decisions and game-results per round were documented. On Thursday, participants partly worked on merging and coding data to get first impressions. However, most of the time was used to present and discuss participants own research projects.

After a gala dinner at Thursday night in the rooms of the ZMS, the Summer School was closed on Friday looking back and forward. Using flipcharts, participants symbolized their experiences graphically and outlined what they would take with them for their own research. Looking forward, participants planned an online meeting to do further data analysis on the Fishing Game research project which might lead to a conference paper for ISAGA 2023 in France. We are curious to see more results ;).  

The Summer School started with the very open concept of developing an exemplary research design and by that walk through a whole research project. Even as the organisation-team, we were not sure what to expect. Nevertheless, this open space was immediately filled by the ideas and engaged work of participants. They picked up the project and developed sophisticated ideas on how to do research on simulation-game based learning. With consultancy from lecturers, a promising research has started and is still going on. This Summer School can be seen as an example for Inquiry Based Learning[1] or Learning Through Research as described by Gabi Reinmann[2]. We can state that these are promising concepts that make seminars deep, wide, and intense. Students learn on multiple levels (such as content, process and methodology, social) and acquire competencies that can be applied in other research contexts. Especially mentioned should be the dynamic and motivation that comes up when students make the content of a seminar their own project as it is the case when a research project is developed. Then learning becomes an ongoing thing that doesn’t end after the seminar. We want to express our great gratitude to all attendants for their engaged participation that made this Summer School a remarkable and intense event. We also thank Marieke de Wijse-van Heeswijk and Willy Kriz for coming to Stuttgart and lecturing the Summer School together with the ZMS team.   


[1]Inquiry-Based Learning | Centre for Teaching and Learning (queensu.ca)

[2] Reinmann, Gabi (2016): Gestaltung akademischer Lehre: semantische Klärungen und theoretische Impulse zwischen Problem- und Forschungsorientierung. In: Zeitschrift für Hochschulentwicklung 11 (5), S. 225–244.