Framework of the virtual construction simulator 3 for construction planning and management education

Sanghoon Lee, Dragana Nikolic, John I. Messner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Teaching construction planning and management is challenging, as construction projects are dynamic due to many varying and unforeseen factors. A growing number of construction-related simulations and games demonstrate the benefits of providing students with a realistic and interactive learning experience for knowledge applicable in real-world situations. Currently, the majority of construction simulation games focus on teaching managerial skills either at an organizational level, or very specific project-based activities. To encourage broader adoption of simulation games for construction planning and management education, this research effort outlines a framework for the development of the virtual construction simulator (VCS) game as an open-source, customizable, and expandable simulation for different learning scenarios. The VCS prototype uses a small pavilion case study to teach students the decisions involved in planning and subsequently managing the project construction affected by varying factors such as weather and labor productivity. The current prototype has been evaluated for its usability and effectiveness as a learning tool with over 200 students in undergraduate and graduate-level courses, demonstrating benefits in engaging students in learning the challenges and risks in efficient construction planning and management. The paper outlines the VCS development framework, the system architecture, and the functionality based on the defined learning objectives. Evaluation results and future development steps are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number05014008
JournalJournal of Computing in Civil Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2015


  • Construction education
  • Development framework
  • Simulation game
  • System architecture


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