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Role-play exercises for project management education that incorporate a software agent

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4 Author(s)
Taichi Nakamura ; School of Computer Science, Tokyo University of Technology, Japan ; Hiroshi Maruyama ; Akio Takashima ; Yasuo Sambe

Role-play exercise is an effective method of teaching project management, in which each student concentrates on playing the role of a stakeholder defined in a virtual project to solve problems from the perspective of his/her role, sharing information in a timely fashion. This paper proposes the introduction of a software agent in on-line role-play exercises, to act as a mentor and provide appropriate hints to students. The analysis of the log data collected from role-play exercises based on the proposed method shows that the ratio of positive influence of the agent's comments, which are designed to encourage students to take appropriate actions, on the students was 0.7, indicating that the agent's comments are effective in guiding the students in the direction thought to be desirable by the instructor. A quantitative evaluation of the extent to which the students took desirable actions shows that the students who participated in a role-play exercise with the software agent present earned scores which were 74% better than those in a role-play exercise without the agent, confirming the effectiveness of the proposed role-play exercise method.

Published in:

Teaching, Assessment and Learning for Engineering (TALE), 2012 IEEE International Conference on

Date of Conference:

20-23 Aug. 2012