Bridging the Learning Curve: An Experiential Learning Activity to Teach Project Management Concepts
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
Senior Lecturer, Graduate Business Department, Rivier College