Learning Transfer from a Business Simulation: How are you situated?


  • Christopher M. Scherpereel
  • Susan K. Williams
  • Scott E. Hoefle


Studies have shown that learning is situated, where learning in one context does not easily transfer to a new context. So, does learning from a simulation game situation transfer to other contexts or do simulation game participants simply become better game players? To explore these questions, we asked 275 university students on a final examination to apply knowledge gained during the play of an operations management simulation, called The Fresh Connection, to both familiar and unfamiliar contexts. In the learning transfer literature, this would be classified as near low-road transfer. We hypothesized that if the context of the exam questions were both familiar (improving student comprehension of the question) and offered simulation related cues (stimulating recall of simulation learning), performance on those questions would be enhanced. We also anticipated that some learning would transfer to unfamiliar contexts. Unfortunately, our data did not unambiguously support these hypotheses. The current literature suggests that two confounding factors may have affected our experimental study: student engagement level and metacognition responses. Future research that controls for these two new variables may offer stronger support.