טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentItai Levy
SubjectIntergrating the Simulation-Based Training Approach
with Teaching Supply Chain Management
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisors Professor Herer Yale
Full Professor Shtub Avraham
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Abstract

In this research we tested the effectiveness of integrating the computer-based approach of Simulation Based Training (SBT) in teaching Supply Chain Management (SCM). Although the SBT approach has been tested extensively in a wide variety of domains and has proven to have great potential for learning, it has not yet been studied empirically in the SCM domain.

Our research tests several aspects of SCM learning and skills acquisition. Firstly, we test whether SBT can allow students to achieve better learning and understanding of SCM models compared to traditional frontal teaching (recitation). Secondly, we investigate the effect of previous experience in SCM on students’ ability to transfer knowledge and skills acquired using SBT in simple SCM problems to more complex problems. More specifically, we tested whether complex problem-solving capabilities could be acquired through SBT, and showed that inexperienced trainees can reach the skill of experienced users in a short time frame. We also tested users’ satisfaction when using simulations in their studies and whether they believe that simulators assist their learning processes better than recitations. This research shows that using the Supply Chain Simulator (SCS) as an SBT tool clearly supports and improves SCM learning and can serve as a great supplement to frontal teaching.

We conducted two experiments, based on the principals of SBT, in which we used the SCS as the teaching tool and simulation platform. In the first experiment, we designed a mini-course, which covered two important models in SCM, for undergraduate students studying Industrial Engineering and Management. The second experiment was conducted in two universities, one in Israel and one in Ireland. Students were given two SCM problems. The first problem was a rather simple one and the second a complex problem. We tested whether trainees were able to reach better results in earlier trials when solving complex problems after undergoing SBT with simple SCM problems. In addition, we compared the performance between the experienced students and the inexperienced students.

We built relevant exercises for each model in each experiment, and incorporated them into the curriculum of three different courses, two in Israel and one in Ireland. Combining these platforms and methodologies with the appropriate experiment design enabled us to conduct an experiment to test our hypotheses in a controlled environment.

Results of the experiments were statistically analyzed and demonstrated that SBT using SCS when teaching SCM improves learning outcomes. We showed that students reached significantly better applied test scores in both SCM models tested after undertaking SBT with the SCS compared to their scores after a frontal recitation. In addition, we showed that SBT with the SCS helped inexperienced students reach the same level of complex problem-solving abilities as experienced students. We also demonstrated that both inexperienced and experienced students reached their best performance in the complex problems significantly faster than in the simple problems. A satisfaction survey given to the students indicated that they were happy with the simulation exercise and believed it assisted them in the learning process better than the frontal recitation.