Development and Testing of a Roleplaying Gamification Module to Enhance Deeper Learning of Case Studies in an Accelerated Online Management Theory Course

Audrey Smith Pereira, Monika Wahi


Research has established that “cognitive rehearsal,” (CR) or the visualization of application of a behavioral response to a situation, can increase self-efficacy through vicarious experience, but is challenging to induce online. Online higher education curricula can include collaborative game-based learning (GBL) in the form or roleplaying, which can facilitate CR. The purpose of this study was to develop an online GBL module to facilitate CR in online business graduate students learning management theory case studies, and to evaluate its ability to induce CR. A convenience sample of students voluntarily participated in a proof-of-conduct study using a mixed-methods design to gauge whether use of the module facilitated CR, a descriptive and thematic analysis was conducted. Data were collected from 106 students within two course sections in an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. The module was used as an optional supplement to a management case study assignment and approximately 50% of students used it. Scores on the assignment were compared between students who used the module and students who did not, and those who did scored statistically significantly higher (p = 0.0003). Students reported in a survey that the module induced CR about applying management theory. Students also expressed satisfaction with the module and provided feedback for its improvement in the areas of format and content. Our findings suggest that collaborative roleplaying GBL and other methods to induce CR in online higher education should be explored and formally studied.


Roleplaying, Cognitive Rehearsal, Simulation, Game-based Learning, Deeper Learning, Quality Management, Higher Education

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