UNIPRODUCT: A Pedagogical Device

by Robert Andrews, Thomas Vollmann



Uniproduct was developed as a result of experimentation with the ways in which computer simulation could be employed as a device for learning "how to learn" about operational systems. It combines a functional business game and Monte Carlo simulation in a manner which is intended to provide the student with exposure to a system which cannot be analyzed definitively for optimal policies. Since 1963, uniproduct has been an integral part of the basic undergraduate and graduate production courses and has been used in two kinds of middle management development programs at the Graduate School of Business Administration, University of California, Los Angeles. Uniproduct focuses on a simple inventory-production system. Simulation appears to be the best available instructional approach for developing skills in heuristic reasoning. Individually, many variations of the business game and of the Monte Carlo method have proven useful for this purpose. Devices such as uniproduct, embodying sequential combination of the two kinds of simulation, offer a particularly effective and efficient approach to learning "how to learn" about business systems.

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