Active Learning Games: Challenging Players’ Mindsets for Integrated Project Delivery

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Engineering Technologies, Safety, and Construction

Publication Date



Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is fast becoming one of the new buzz words in construction thought and practice. Although IPD has its successes and continues to grow, in both academia and the industry, IPD failures do exist. Much of the research surrounding IPD focuses on the integration of technology to streamline the construction management process however, little attention is given to the change in relationships between the project players and how these individuals must operate within this changed environment. One of the most common reasons cited for IPD failures is that the construction managers selected for these projects had difficulty adjusting their mindsets to operate within a collaborative environment despite being successful on other traditional projects. IPD is a collaborative approach to project delivery that requires a change from the traditional non-cooperative mindset that is pervasive throughout the construction industry. For decades, project team players (i.e. owners, contractors, subcontractors, designers, and other project participants) often do not cooperate with each other ingraining a non-cooperative spirit within construction managers. This spirit is not easily changed just because a contract encourages collaboration. Therefore, students in an undergraduate construction management program at Central Washington University learn about IPD through classroom lectures and active learning exercises that challenge their competitive propensities. Initial tests through the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI), that measures conflict styles, indicate that typical construction management student personalities tend to be non-cooperative. This paper presents two classroom games (Prisoner’s Dilemma and The $20 Game) that students played to learn some basic IPD fundamentals and to consider the collaboration verses competition dichotomy within an IPD environment. Learning outcome assessments via standard classroom testing mechanisms were performed and the changes of competitive verses collaborative propensities via student surveys are measured and their respective results are presented.


This article was originally published in 2015 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition Proceedings. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.


2015 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition Proceedings


© American Society for Engineering Education, 2015