What is it about?

This paper explores what impact students’ critical thinking disposition has on their learning when using business simulations. Previous research has found that simulations are an effective way to bridge practice and theory. However, this research questions whether simulations are suitable for all students no matter what level of critical thinking they currently have.

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Why is it important?

This research found that the level of critical thinking disposition is positively related to students’ achievement in meeting learning outcomes. In particular, an increase in the critical thinking disposition dimensions of engagement and cognitive maturity could predict an increase in the obtainment of learning outcomes. This indicates that the use of simulations in education might be better suited to students who already have a reasonable level of critical thinking.


The use of simulations in education is proliferating and they are being used at a range of levels. This research could suggest that simulations might be most effective when used with students who already have a reasonable level of critical thinking. This could allow them to critically approach and deconstruct the problems presented in the simulation. However, an argument can be made that the use of simulations is still important for everyone due to their ability to link theory and practice. It has also been suggested that simulations can develop critical thinking skills. But this research suggests that some consideration of the level of students existing critical thinking skills should be taken into account.

Professor Robin Bell
University of Worcester

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The impact of critical thinking disposition on learning using business simulations, The International Journal of Management Education, July 2015, Elsevier,
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijme.2015.01.002.
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