Educational simulation in construction: Virtual construction simulator

Dragana Nikolic, Shrimant Jaruhar, John I. Messner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Students in the architecture, engineering, and construction disciplines are often challenged with visualizing and understanding the complex spatial and temporal relationships involved in designing and constructing three-dimensional (3D) structures. An evolving body of research traces the use of educational computer simulations to enhance student learning experiences through testing real-world scenarios and the development of student decision-making skills. Ongoing research at Pennsylvania State University aims to improve engineering education in construction through interactive construction project learning applications in an immersive virtual reality environment. This paper describes the first- and second-generation development of the Virtual Construction Simulator (VCS), a tool that enables students to simultaneously create and review construction schedules through 3D model interaction. The educational value and utility of VCS was assessed through surveys, focus group interviews, and a student exercise conducted in a construction management class. Results revealed VCS is a valuable and effective four-dimensional (4D) model creation and schedule review application that fosters collaborative work and greater student task focus. This paper concludes with a discussion of the findings and the future development steps of the VCS educational simulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-429
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Computing in Civil Engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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