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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Economics Online Simulation Game: Beat The Market for Perfect Competition, Monopoly, Monopolisitc Competition & Oligopoly

by Steven Gold, PhD
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.75 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Jan 03, 2013 by Business Editorial Board
Overview: Beat the Market is a fully online, internet based business simulation game that is designed to help students learn or reinforce basic business economic principles. In the game participants are placed in the role of managing a firm under different market environments including: perfect competition, monopoly, monopolistic competition and oligopoly. The game provides the opportunity to observe how different markets function in a dynamic setting and how to apply economic tools of analysis to try to beat the market under different environments. In addition, there is also a set of optional multiple choice questions associated with game exercises that evaluate the student’s understanding of basic economic concepts derived from the game such as: law of demand, price elasticity, production and cost relationship, economies of scale, marginal analysis, and revenue and profit maximization. This game is an excellent interactive tool that can be used in small or large classes or individually by students as a homework assignment.
Learning Goals: The stated learning goals: •Gain a much clearer understanding of microeconomics concepts including the market forces, equilibrium, demand, revenue generation, production, elasticities, and costs. •Learn how to apply the tools of economic analysis to properly allocate resources and improve decision making to maximize profits. •Acquire a “working” microeconomic vocabulary.
Target Student Population: High School and college level for introduction to economics, principles of microeconomics, and MBA economics courses.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Basic knowledge of graphs and charts.
Type of Material: Simulation
Recommended Uses: The game can be used in either principles of microeconomics or managerial economics. The reason it can be used for either course is that the settings of the game can be changed by the click of a button to make it simpler or more advanced on a number of dimensions, such as the number of controllable decisions and the stability of the market system. No direct involvement of the instructor is required to facilitate the game.
Technical Requirements: None, fully online, works on any computer with a browser (IBM, APPLE, etc)

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: • Provided a selection that the instructor could make to determine what type of general microeconomic principles the student would learning. • Each module action had available help screens to reinforce the learning outcome and address the student’s questions. • Concepts were clearly identified and the game selections allowed the user to change the variables to better understand impact of changes in parameters. • Very good selection of actions : Summary, Graphs, Study, Decisions and Execute to guide student through the game action • Other features include the many graphs which provide relevant information on the page being viewed by the player, and reports to analyze the firm’s performance. There are many graphs that also provide relevant and timely information. For the instructor the content very cleverly allows a preset for single or multiple players, and to establish learning levels. All grading and student progress are automatically updated and recorded for teacher access anytime. • Allows option for printing information and provides explanation of the game time period
Concerns: • Was not clear what the scholarship was and what background was required. • Had no audio to explain what occurs as the parameters are changed or how the game selections could be employed most effectively

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: • Could write assignments that required student to perform specified calculations give set parameters and then to summarize the results. • Students could play multiple game selections thus reinforcing teaching points more quickly • Once stated can build on concepts quickly • Its design makes economics relevant by allowing students to experiment with different decisions and then immediately able to see the outcome on the firms bottom-line. Instructors that are economic subject matter experts have the option of creating their own game using pre-programmed point and click features.
Concerns: • Concepts and learning objectives were not clearly defined had to dig around for learning objectives • Could not identify pre-requisites for the game

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: • Great time and care were obviously spent developing and refining the structure and content to allow student interaction with the game • Website was easy to connect to and easy to maneuver on the page • Was easy to view and the and selections were simple to identify • Each game selection allowed the student to change the parameters to be able to determine the cause/effect of changes to the parameters. • Special features include the ability to export data to excel to do more detailed analysis, links to instructor and student manuals, and instructor virtual tours. • To help understand the results of the game, the producing company, Gold Simulations, will electronically send a detailed explanation of the game results to the instructor to help answer student questions, without the instructor having to study or play the game. The game is free to instructors and either free to students (with school licensing price) or $19.95 for a 150 day use.
Concerns: • Needs a generalized introduction to the game and the game selections where student could understand the learning outcomes and general understanding of the game

Other Issues and Comments: Exceptional gaming simulation that students can interactively learn the microeconomic cause/effect relationships and learning outcomes. Very engaging and effective game simulation for students in high school to college.