The Power of Contextual Learning: Using the Juice SPC Game to Teach Control Charts in Operations Management


  • Christopher M. Scherpereel


We introduce a new way to teach a complex topic in business education called Statistical Process Control (SPC) through a newly developed simulation called the Juice SPC Challenge. We noticed that learners often find it hard to grasp SPC concepts when taught using traditional methods like lectures and textbooks. The Juice SPC Challenge offers a hands-on experience, letting participants apply as they learn in a simulated real-world context. Using a well-known framework, we evaluate the effectiveness of contextual learning, focusing on how participants react to the simulation and any changes in their attitudes towards the subject. We surveyed 66 learners after they completed the challenge and found that they reported significant learning gains. Specifically, they felt more confident in tackling complex problems, a key goal in business education. The simulation also helped learners understand when and how to use control charts, a crucial tool in SPC. They learned to differentiate between creating and monitoring control charts, a common area of confusion, and how to make decisions based on control chart data. The simulation provided immediate feedback on their decisions, something not possible with traditional teaching methods. Our findings contribute to the ongoing debate about the best ways to teach business topics, showing that experiential learning methods like our simulation can offer significant benefits.