Simulations and Experiential Exercises -Do They Result in Learning? Have We Figured it out Yet?


  • Barbara J. Howard
  • Peter M. Markulis
  • Daniel R. Strang
  • Joshua Wixom


In 1985, Butler, Markulis and Strang conducted a study to explore two key issues with respect to ABSEL research: First, the degree to which ABSEL papers conceptualized or utilized an educational framework, and second; the degree to which ABSEL papers used a standardized research design. This study continues the work of Butler and his colleagues by examining ABSEL contributions since the 1985 study. The goal of the continuation study is to determine if systemic shifts have occurred in published ABSEL research since its inception (in 1974) to the present. The authors found that papers appearing during the first 15 years of ABSEL did not differ significantly from ABSEL papers during the past 15 years in terms of research design or their use of an educational learning theory. Despite this consistency, there has been a slight increase in use of “treatment” and “treatment” coupled with “control” during the past 15 years.