Development of Educational Simulations for Construction Engineering Education

Open Access
Jaruhar, Shrimant
Graduate Program:
Architectural Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
June 16, 2008
Committee Members:
  • John Messner, Thesis Advisor
  • simulations
  • engineering education
  • sequencing
  • scheduling
  • modeling
  • 4D
  • construction
4D CAD models are increasingly being used in the construction industry for detailed schedule reviews. Currently, the commercial applications which create these models are not ideal for use in construction engineering education as they do not combine schedule creation and schedule review. This research is aimed at developing a schedule creation and review application titled the Virtual Construction Simulator (VCS) 2 which is easy to use and has an intuitive user interface. This application is aimed at improving upon and addressing some of the limitations of a previously developed VCS 1 application at Penn State by using an open source expandable rendering engine to develop the application. The educational value and usability of this educational application was tested by conducting a student exercise in construction management class (AE 473) at Penn State. The MGM Grand Hotel case study model was used for developing this educational simulation exercise. Surveys and focus group discussion related to the application and the class exercise revealed that the VCS 2 is a valuable 4D model creation and schedule review application. 3D visualization and 4D modeling were found to be valuable as a communication tool. A test of comprehensiveness of student discussion during the 4D modeling exercise was also performed by using content analysis techniques. The results showed while students were using VCS 1 and VCS 2 the discussion was less detailed than expected. Another contribution of this research is the creation of guidelines for the development of similar educational simulations which will aid educators in developing future case study exercises. They address the development of goals and objectives for the educational simulation; developing the simulation according to those goals and objectives; and testing and improving the educational simulation.