Extending The Use And Effectiveness Of The Monopoly® Board Game As An In-Class Economic Simulation In The Introductory Financial Accounting Course

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Stephen B. Shanklin
Craig R. Ehlen

Keywords

Accounting Cycle, Games, Monopoly, Pedagogy, Simulations, Teaching Efficiency And Effectiveness

Abstract

This paper extends the use of the Monopoly® board game as an economic simulation exercise designed to reinforce an understanding of how the accounting cycle impacts the financial statements used to evaluate management performance. This extension adds elements of debt not previously utilized to allow for an introduction of the fundamentals of ratio analysis at a foundation level in financial accounting instruction. This extended approach uses the rules and strategies of a familiar board game to create a simulation of business and economic realities, which then becomes an effective, interactive, in-class financial accounting practice set. 

The unique combination of each player’s skill and luck provides for unlimited outcome possibilities, delivering an interpretive result that students can neither predict nor easily manipulate. This pedagogical approach serves to provide students with a sense of proprietorship in the activities of the instruction and fosters a competitive spirit to succeed in class activities that will ultimately be presented to the entire class. While the instructor surrenders a significant level of control in the class exercise, the uniqueness of each Monopoly® team’s game results requires active engagement in-class and additional individual effort on the follow-up assignments outside the classroom. 

In the previous use of the Monopoly® board game, the class activity provided a valuable parallel for reality in practicing the financial accounting cycle and emphasizing its use by external parties. Because of the dynamic sense of capturing the “real-time” aspect of the game into finished financial statements for analysis, students start to sense a greater appreciation for the role that accounting cycle activities play in business reporting and the assessment of operating results. Using the Monopoly® board game in the first course in financial accounting tends to generate a higher level of competitive energy in the classroom experience, with more actively engaged students grasping the nature and purpose of the financial accounting system more quickly and actively than with other pedagogical approaches previously used. More recently, using Microsoft Excel to reflect the game results and present the financial statements has added to the robust learning experience achieved by incorporating the Monopoly® board game. 

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