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Role-Playing and Problem-Based Learning: The Use of Cross-Functional Student Teams in Business Application Development

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Document pages: 9 pages

Abstract: To create a learning experience which replicates the process by which consultants, systems developers and business end users collaborate to design and implement a business application, a cross-functional student team project was developed and is described. The overall learning experience was distinguished by specific components and characteristics of the project, including: 1) a problem-based learning approach which presented students with an accounting auditing problem requiring the design and development of computer-based application from scratch; 2) the formation of cross-functional teams comprised of students across multiple sections of two different courses (the capstone courses for both Accounting and Information Systems); and 3) the contributions of individual students based on their respective backgrounds and roles in the project. The roles included domain content experts (accounting students) as well as consultants, business analysts and developers (information systems students). The intentional use of cross-functional teams and assigned roles distinguishes this approach from other problem-based approaches. Further, the teams had additional extrinsic motivation as the business applications they developed could be submitted to a contest hosted by a professional organization. Pre- and post-assessment data indicate that students learned, through iteration and trial-and-error, new interpersonal, analytical and technical skills through client-consultant interactions, problem definition and formulation, requirements analysis, business process and data modeling and application development.

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