The Role of Learning Versus Performance Orientations When Reacting to Negative Outcomes in Simulation Games


  • James W. Gentry
  • John R. Dickinson
  • Alvin C. Burns
  • Lee Mcginnis
  • Ju Young Park


We study student reactions to negative outcomes from simulation games in order to investigate whether “trial and error” learning is in fact a positive learning experience. Drawing on Dweck’s (1990) body of work, we expect that students with learning orientations will react very favorably to negative outcomes, but that students with performance orientations will not. The possibility of learned helplessness resulting from game play is a dismal outcome for students with performance orientations. Instructors need to monitor game performance and provide differential levels of consulting help to students with varying learning orientations.