Using expectation confirmation theory to understand the learning outcomes of online business simulations


  • Pierre Benckendorff
  • Belina Gibbons
  • Marlene Pratt



business, simulation, pedagogy, assessment, learning outcomes


The purpose of this paper is to contrast learners’ expectations of the knowledge and skills developed by an online business simulation at the start of the semester with their perceptions of how well the simulation performed in meeting these expectations at the end of the semester. The study draws on expectation confirmation theory to measure the expectations and perceived performance of two business simulations. Data were collected from 225 students studying at two Australian universities. The findings indicate that both online business simulations performed strongly in terms of helping learners understand strategy, real world problems and the importance of interaction and cooperation between different business departments. Both simulations also performed well in developing skills across all five levels of Bloom’s taxonomy. There were some notable differences between expectations and performance between the two cohorts and the implications of these differences for business simulation choice and design is discussed.