Game-based learning methods in project management higher education

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Place of the thesis defence

Tellus Backstage

Topic of the dissertation

Game-based learning methods in project management higher education

Doctoral candidate

Master of Science Elina Jääskä

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Technology, Industrial engineering and management

Subject of study

Industrial engineering and management


Professor Magnus Hellström, Åbo Akademi


Associate professor Kirsi Aaltonen, University of Oulu

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Educational games help learning project management

Project-based activities to achieve targets and outcomes are growing in organizations and companies in planning and organizing work and monitoring operations. This is why both public sector and companies need competent personnel with strong project management skills. Because of the project management jobs growth and talent gap, project management educational institutes need to invest in project management education and competence development.

Earlier studies show that game-based learning methods enable learning and practicing skills by providing learners with a virtual model of real-world experience. This dissertation examined suitability of game-based learning methods for teaching and learning project management knowledge and skills. According to this study, practising project management in a risk-free and simulated learning environment helped learning skills such as decision-making, problem-solving and risk management. The use of educational games increased the students’ interest in learning the subject, challenged, activated and motivated both students and teachers.

The challenges of the game-based learning method can be increased workload, possible technical problems and pedagogical suitability for the educational context. Therefore, the successful use of game-based learning methods require that the game is technically reliable, the connection of educational game with learning outcomes is carefully planned and the game is integrated into the learning package, which includes the necessary additional materials for teachers and students.

This dissertation examined the insights and experiences about game-based learning methods from both teachers’ and students’ perspectives. Interviews and survey questionnaires were used to explore the benefits and challenges associated with the use of educational games and the impact of them on motivation and learning of project management phenomena.

The results of the dissertation will extend knowledge of game-based learning as an educational method to teach and learn project management. The dissertation includes observations, considerations and advice that may help planning and using game-based learning methods.
Last updated: 23.1.2024