Based on the game ProTUce developed by the TU Berlin team, an integrated e-learning platform will be created and applied in a blended learning format based on the concept of the 3 pillars’ integrated pedagogical framework.
In ProTUce, students work in groups and manage their own production environments. They need to make various decisions: strategic ones about which products to manufacture, tactical ones about machine investments, and operational ones about ordering material. Students can directly apply knowledge gained in teaching sessions and achieve a deeper understanding on how to adapt their decisions once a stochastic component is introduced into the system. This way, the students will iteratively expand their knowledge of production processes according to input from class and experience and discuss limitations. Evaluating their system to make better decision they also practice data analysis and statistical skills necessary in a volatile and complex work environment.
The platform will contain five elements:
The Sharing module will offer predefined industrial and service processes to work with in class, setting low entry barriers for teachers and students. These could be detailed production processes like an Additive manufacturing (3D-printing) machine handling customer requests on time but also small queuing systems showing the interaction of processes and the influences of uncertainty. Complex global supply chain models with interaction between different players are also possible. Teachers can use these models in class or adapt the parameters for their students. Students will find introductory models to help them make their decisions.
The Design module gives teachers the opportunity to implement process models of their own. There are different elements available which can be dragged onto the workspace and configured according to the users’ wishes. There will be basic common simulation elements like sources, sinks, queues and processes which are interlinkable. The user can implement deterministic processes or introduce uncertainty by associating distributions to the elements. The model can be shared in the sharing module. As a thesis students could design processes of their own and evaluate different process designs.
In the Gaming module students can compete in groups in real time planning processes on a tactical and operational level, as a serious game. They have limited information and have to derive factors by analysing past model output. Games hosted by companies can also be offered and students from different institutions can compete.
The Community module will connect students with each other as well as with their teachers and interested companies. In the community module students can find direct help for the example models, teachers can discuss potential model expansions and companies can upload game challenges.
The Activity module will link the classroom to the gaming experience at home. Teachers can motivate problem setting and students can actively participate and influence the model results. This will be especially interesting for larger audiences, which are normally harder to activate but are also a statistically significant group size.
The platform can be used in all English-speaking teaching contexts to engage the students and give them a better feeling for the consequences of their decisions and the influence of uncertainty. Our company partners will be involved to make sure that real world problems are discussed and necessary skills are developed to prepare for entering the global connected workforce. The connection between teachers in the operations management and management science fields, as well as the connection between the teachers and relevant industry partners will be fostered to the benefit of the students. After completing the game, students should have gained an intuition for simulation software and implementing models therein should be easy.
The e-learning platform will be available online to any interested organisation. It will be presented as Open Educational Resources (OER) and shared by an open access license.