Developing a Learning Culture: Assessing Changes in Student Performance and Perception


  • Katrina A. Zalatan
  • Douglas F. Mayer


This article discusses how a simulation-based, undergraduate management curriculum at Hartwick College precipitated a clear shift in "learning culture." Within two years, students grew to accept an active, experiential program where computer simulations, student teams, and instructor coaches are the primary instructional delivery system for all junior and senior courses, and electronic portfolios are a critical part of learning assessment. While some students initially objected to the higher workload, team-based grades, and the non-traditional organization of the program, faculty observed increases in student motivation, attendance, involvement and learning. By the end year two, analysis of students' end-of-course surveys indicated that the majority accepted the workload and concerns about grading decreased significantly. A year to year comparison of junior student "segments" indicated a 50% increase in enthusiasts, a 19% increase in acceptors, and a 23% decrease in a combined low-effort acceptor and resistor segment. Since the start of the new curriculum, the number of management majors has also increased 30% (119 to 156 majors), a rate of growth faster than the college overall.