Bridging the Learning Curve: An Experiential Learning Activity to Teach Project Management Concepts

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Many students, even graduate students, have had limited exposure to project management concepts. An Experiential Learning Activity (ELA) provides the student with action and a concrete shared personal experience that serve as a building block to facilitate a higher level of learning. The ELA provides the student with three critical components: 1) planning and introduction, 2) activity, and 3) feedback. The activity simulates a “real-world” application of a project management scenario requiring teams to plan, design, and build a bridge within a limited time frame while competing against the other teams. The activity also includes the concept of learning curve. The students are required prior to starting any construction to estimate how much quicker their team could build a second bridge based on their estimate to build the first bridge. This paper provides an overview of the exercise, detailed instructions for classroom integration and a discussion of effectiveness of the activity based on student opinions. The activity may be adapted for use in a variety of course settings to emphasize various learning objectives within a course.

Keywords: Experiential Learning Activity, Simulation, Teamwork, Learning Curve, Planning Exercise, Teaching Tool, Management Education, Project Management
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Bridging the Learning Curve

Peter Vendituoli

Senior Lecturer, Graduate Business Department, Rivier College
Nashua, NH, USA

Peter has taught courses in Project Management, Management Information Systems, Introduction to Systems Analysis, Microsoft Computer Applications, and Introduction to the Internet for 17 years in the Undergraduate and Graduate Business Department at Rivier College. He received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Brown University in 1983, his M.B.A. from Rivier College in 1990, and a M.S. degree in Management of Technology from the University of New Hampshire in 2007. Peter also earned is Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI) in 2006. Peter's interests include developing activities on conflict resolution, teamwork, and training virtual teams.

Ref: L08P0324