The Need to Measurer Variance in Experiential Learning and a New Statistic to Do So


  • John R. Dickinson
  • James W. Gentry


The measurement of variation of qualitative or categorical variables serves a variety of essential purposes in simulation gaming: de-scribing/summarizing participants’ decisions for evaluation and feedback, describing/summarizing simulation results toward the same ends, and explaining variation for basic research purposes. Extant measures of dispersion are not well known. Too, simulation gaming situations are peculiar in that the total number of observations available--usually the number of decision periods or the number of participants--is often small. Each extant measure of dispersion has its own limitations. Common limitations are that, under ordinary circumstances and especially with small numbers of observations, a measure may not be defined and the maximum theoretical value may not be attainable. This paper reviews existing measures of dispersion and describes a new measure which is always defined and for which a maximum value is always attainable.