An Effective Project Management Simulation for Distance Education

  • Mark G. Angolia (East Carolina University)
  • April H. Reed (East Carolina University)


The challenge in distance education for project management courses is how to maintain quality when team projects, traditional lectures and in-class exercises normally conducted in face-to-face courses are not practical. This research explores the desirability and effectiveness of computer-based project management simulation as a teaching tool for industrial technology students in a distance education (DE) degree program. The purpose of using the simulation was to enhance learning outcomes related to project management processes and techniques taught in the course. A survey of approximately 100 students over four semesters was used to determine how online students responded to the use of simulation to teach specific project management concepts. Additionally, the research sought to determine which project management concepts were most enhanced through this active learning activity. The results established that the SimProject® computer-based simulation improved project management education for distance students and added value to the course by reinforcing text-based content. The data established a positive relationship between the simulation and specific project management knowledge areas for scope, time, cost, risk, human resource, communication, stakeholder, and quality management. The simulation provided students with the challenge to execute a virtual project, allowing up to three separate attempts, each with the same defined goals for time, cost, and quality. Dynamic, simulation- induced, life-like obstacles based on student choices presented unique management decisions for each trial. A successful outcome required students to meet time, cost, and quality goals within 10 percent of target. Student motivation for this pedagogy was apparent as most used all three attempts and provided positive survey feedback.

Keywords: project management|higher education pedagogy|simulation|distance education

How to Cite:

Angolia, M. G. & Reed, A. H., (2021) “An Effective Project Management Simulation for Distance Education”, The Journal of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering 37(4).

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Published on
01 Oct 2021