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Innovations in Education and Teaching International
ISSN: 1470-3297 (Print) 1470-3300 (Online) Journal homepage: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/riie20
Creating Apprenticeship Simulations for Teaching
Enterprise Modelling – Principles and Lessons
Martin Henkel & Ilia Bider
To cite this article: Martin Henkel & Ilia Bider (2020): Creating Apprenticeship Simulations for
Teaching Enterprise Modelling – Principles and Lessons Learned, Innovations in Education and
Teaching International, DOI: 10.1080/14703297.2020.1711795
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/14703297.2020.1711795
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa
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Published online: 11 Jan 2020.
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Creating Apprenticeship Simulations for Teaching Enterprise
Modelling –Principles and Lessons Learned
Martin Henkel and Ilia Bider
Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Teaching enterprise modelling is a complex task, as it requires both
teaching modelling syntax as well as how to select and extract
information from several sources, such as IT systems, employees,
and existing documents. To aid teaching enterprise modelling
Apprenticeship Simulation (AS) may be used. AS is a form of case-
based learning where the students examine a case by following
a virtual expert who gives them information sources with which
they should work. A case as presented to the students can be quite
complex, consisting of numerous types of diverse sources, including
recorded interviews and links to real-world dynamic sources such as
web pages. In this paper, we present a set of principles for the design
of AS case presentations. The principles are based on our experiences
in applying AS in four courses in the area of enterprise modelling.
modelling skills; learning
An important skill that students in the information system ﬁeld need to possess is the skill of
enterprise modelling, where models are created for understanding and designing information
system. For example, the students need to learn to draw graphical models to represent the
information structures that the system contains. The importance of modelling skills is well
understood, and many courses in IS devote all or part of their time to teaching and learning
modelling skills. Typically, to train students in modelling they are presented with a textual
description of a business case, such as a description of a part of a company. Based on the text
the students draw for example a process model. However, this way of teaching modelling in
a university environment is problematic in that it mainly focuses on acquiring the formal part
of modelling skills. The students learn the syntax and, partly, the semantics of the formal
languages used for modelling. When graduating, most of the students lack the most impor-
tant part of the modelling skills –how to capture the reality to build a model, through making
ﬁeld observations, interviewing people, and analysing diverse documents. A solution to this
problem that the authors have developed is the use of Apprenticeship Simulation (Bider
Henkel, Kowalski & Perjons, 2015b; Bider, Henkel, Kowalski & Perjons, 2015a).
Apprenticeship simulation (AS) is a form of Case-Based Learning (CBL), where the text
descriptions of a business case are replaced with multi-media presentations. Moreover, AS
is built upon that students can act as apprentices following a combination of virtual and
CONTACT Martin Henkel firstname.lastname@example.org Department of computer and systems sciences, Stockholm
University, Postbox 7003, 164 07, Kista, Sweden
INNOVATIONS IN EDUCATION AND TEACHING INTERNATIONAL
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/
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real-life experts/masters. Learning in AS is arranged around group (or individual) projects
where the students follow the modelling master and help him/her to do some part of the
work on building models. More speciﬁcally, the master chooses the information sources
to be used for building a model, and hands the work of building the model to the
students. Sources may include recorded interviews with stakeholders, which simulates
actual participation of the apprentices as listeners in the interview sessions, samples of
relevant documents, and so on. Compared to a traditional case description using text, AS
replaces the text with a multitude of diverse sources.
A problem in teaching and learning (enterprise/business) modelling in the university
environment of today is that it mainly focuses on acquiring the formal part of modelling
skills; the students learn the syntax and, partly, the semantics of the formal languages
used for modelling. The more important informal part of modelling –the knowledge on
how to capture the reality to build a model through making ﬁeld observations, interview-
ing people, and analysing diverse documents –often remains outside the scope of the
modelling courses. While the formal part of the skills is quite suitable for acquiring in the
classroom, the informal part is not, as it belongs to the area of tacit knowledge (Polanyi,
1969), or Ways of Thinking and Practicing (McCune & Hounsell, 2005) (WTP –in the
terminology of modern pedagogical studies). The best-known solution for acquiring
this type of knowledge is apprenticeship, where the students follow and help a master
in a real business case. However, in the university classroom setting this is diﬃcult, if
possible, to arrange, especially for the large undergraduate classes. AS could be consid-
ered as a good enough approximation to a real apprenticeship.
AS as a concept has been developed using a design-science research (DSR) approach
following the four stipulated phases (Johannesson & Perjons, 2014) of problem and
requirements deﬁnition, design, demonstration, and evaluation. The problems and
requirements phase, performed using workshops with teachers, resulted in that AS should
be used to give the students a realistic understanding of future work, be using several
media types, be based on cases and that is should not be expensive to implement (Bider
et al., 2015a). The design phase was done by teachers at the department, and led to the
creation of AS –using media to simulate apprenticeship. It also lead to the principles we
report on in this paper. The demonstration phase led to the application of AS on four
courses –this will be described later in this paper. An evaluation phase consisted of using
surveys among the students, and interviews with teachers. The evaluation resulted in that
the following beneﬁts compared to traditional course design was found:
●More realistic. The students perceive that they get a more realistic understanding of
the work that systems analysts do (Bider, Henkel, Kowalski, & Perjons, 2015b).
●Preferred by the students. Apprenticeship simulation is preferred by the students,
compared to traditional case descriptions (Bider et al., 2015b).
●Are reusable. With small changes a case has been reused on 3 courses (Henkel, Bider,
Perjons, Mårtensson, & Zainali, 2017).
●Improves grades. Gives slightly less low grades (F/FX/E) and more mid-level (D/C)
grades (Bider et al., 2015a).
●Gives a holistic understanding. Reusing the same case in 3 courses gave a perceived
better understanding on how the subjects taught are related (Bider & Henkel, 2018).
2M. HENKEL AND I. BIDER
The main AS concepts have been described in our previous works (Bider et al., 2015a;
Henkel et al., 2017). In this paper we focus on how to design case presentations for use in
AS. The work entailed in creating case presentation includes, for example, the creation of
websites for simulating companies’and products web sites and deciding on how the
modelling tasks should be presented to the students and linked to the sources. This paper
provides a set of design principles that may help a teacher create case presentations. The
principles have been applied by the authors, working at the Department of Computer and
Systems Sciences, Stockholm University to create two cases that will be described later in
the paper –the ‘AFFE’case and the ‘Harmony’case. The cases has been successfully ben
used to teach bachelor and master student in the subject of computer and system
sciences. This paper is an extension of (Henkel & Bider, 2019), the extension consisting
of elaborated details on how to apply the principles, and added examples and conclusions
drawn from the application at Stockholm University.
The paper is structured as follows: in the next section an overview of the created AFFE
and Harmony cases are presented. In section 3, we introduce the principles that have
guided the creation of the cases. Section 4–6 describe the principles in more detail,
including our experiences with applying them. Section 7 contains related research, and
section 8 concludes the paper.
The AFFE and harmony cases
The AFFE case is built on an imaginary company, called ‘AFFE’. The company is a business-
game developer, and has in-house software development. The case presentations main
constituent is a web site that contains multimedia sources with information and several
modelling tasks left to the students by a ‘master’–a teacher who guides the students
through the tasks. The multimedia sources in the AFFE case includes: interviews with
stakeholders, excel spreadsheets with economic information, twitter feeds, meeting pro-
tocols, etc.; some examples are shown in Figure 1. Since it is a ﬁctitious case, the video
interviews were recorded using teachers playing the role of AFFE employees and con-
sultants. The AFFE case is used in one course, the IT in Organisations (ITO) course.
The Harmony case is based on a real-world case. The case was crafted after an existing
company, and the real company employees were participating in the creation of the case
presentation in the form of recorded interviews. The Harmony company works within the
Figure 1. Example interview (a) and Twitter feed (b) from the AFFE case.
INNOVATIONS IN EDUCATION AND TEACHING INTERNATIONAL 3
health care domain, and provide health guidance to its customers. To give the students
a good insight into the company a web site for the company was created, including links
to relevant material on the internet. Currently, three courses at the department use the
harmony case: Business process and case management (BPCM), Citizen centric service
design (SERDES) and the Systems theory, organisation and IT (SYSTOIT) course. All three
courses contain elements of enterprise modelling and make use of the Harmony case for
project assignments. However, as will be described later, all three courses use the case
slightly diﬀerent, therefore a case presentation was created for each course. The material
included in the case presentations is video-recorded interviews, a company web site, mail
conversations and designs drafts of user interface screens.
Principles for design of AS –overview
In total, the AS approach has been used in four courses, ranging from large (250+ stu-
dents) to small (20 students). Our work with AS on these courses have given rise to two
major categories of design principles for the creation of case presentations:
(1) Simulation principles for creating a multi-media presentation of a business case for
AS based teaching/learning
(2) Packaging principles for packaging the case presentation and associated tasks to
make it available for the students.
Note that the principles as presented here concern the creation and distribution of case
presentations, and our experience with applying the principles. Other aspects of apprentice-
ship simulation are described in our previous work, such as the reuse of cases between courses
(Henkel et al., 2017) and the cost of applying apprenticeship simulation (Bider et al., 2015a).
Source-type simulation principles
Design principles for simulation concern how the case is to be presented in terms of
a combination of sources. We distinguish between three main types of sources:
(1) Video recordings. Video recordings are used to capture interactions between the
modelling master and the case participants –such as performing interviews
targeting a certain business process.
(2) Web-based sources. Video recordings are complemented with web-based sources
for static information –such as information about products, organisational roles
and other facts about the case. Web-based sources are constructed to look as real
(3) Document-based sources. These are essentially a documentation of internal events
in the organisation, such a board meeting protocols, and emails.
Prior research has shown that the use of diﬀerent media for delivering content does not
directly translate into a changed eﬀect on learning (Hunt et al., 2016).Howeverwhatwefound
in your studies is that diﬀerent students tend to appreciate diﬀerent types of media, thus
mixing the media types may lead to higher student engagement (Bider et al., 2015b). In our
4M. HENKEL AND I. BIDER
experience, the combination of the source types is what makes a case realistic, while using
recorded interviews is the type most appreciated by the students. In a survey among the
students of a course where the AFFE case was used, 59% considered video interviews to be the
most interesting to work with (Figure 2), while 33% considered all sources equally interesting.
At the same time, 30% of the students consider video recording as the most diﬃcult type to
work with, which is lower than we expected, while 36% consider all types equally diﬃcult. The
survey was performed on a large bachelor level course, where 49 out of the 210 students
completed the survey. More results from the survey are reported on in (Bider et al., 2015b).
Applying the source type principles on the AFFE and harmony cases
The source types were selected diﬀerently to present the AFFE and Harmony cases. The AFFE
case was to be used on the entry-level ITO course. Being an entry-level course there was
a desire to give the students a broad repertoire of material to work with, rather than giving
a lot of detail. Also, there was a desire to have the case presentation depict the inner
workings of the AFFE company to let the student have material to analyse how diﬀerent IT
systems could improve the business. This resulted in the use of several document sources to
depict the business. Moreover, a realistic way of presenting the opinions from AFFE
customers was deemed to be to use the web-based source type to present a simulated
Twitter feed of complaints. Then, recorded video interviews with stakeholders were used to
present selected parts of the business, such as a presentation of the software development
process that the AFFE company uses.
The Harmony case is being used of three courses on the master level. Thus, it was
deemed that the student could handle more detailed information. The core type of source
was video interviews, complemented with information from a company web page. The
video interviews were presented as ﬁve parts, in total 25 minutes of video. It may seem
like 25 minutes is too little material for a course, but our experience is that video inter-
views are very dense with information. For example, in the SERDES course, 20 minutes of
video recordings are the base for tasks where the student create a Service Value Network
model, an Information model and an API design model. The Harmony case is reused on
three courses, where two courses (BPCM and SYSTIOT) are quite similar in the material
used. In the third course (SERDES) the case is slightly adapted.
Figure 2. Student eﬀort (a) and engagement (b) for the three types of sources.
INNOVATIONS IN EDUCATION AND TEACHING INTERNATIONAL 5
Source creation simulation principles
What helped the construction of sources in our practice was the use of a combination of
real and ﬁctitious sources. In this respect, we can introduce three origins for how sources
(4) Real-world sources. A real-world source is something that exists in a real-world and
is used ‘as is’without introducing any changes. A typical example here is informa-
tion about what kind of software the case organisation is using, which can be
provided by referring to the real product, or vendor company web site.
(5) Prototype-based sources. A prototype-based source is a real-world source where some
elements have been replaced with ﬁctitious ones. This included taking a real-world
company’s balance sheet and replacing the name of the company to ﬁtthecase.
(6) Fictitious sources.Aﬁctitious source is an artiﬁcially constructed source. Fictitious
sources are used to cover aspects that are not found in a real-world case. This
included, for example, staging interviews with stakeholders, were teachers play
both interviewees and interviewers.
The decision on which creation type of sources to employ depends on the level of the
course and availability of the material. For example, in an introductory course for bachelor
students, it might be wiser to use staged interviews, as it would be easier to provide the
information needed for modelling. We have seen that student express that the design is
realistic, even though we have used ﬁctitious sources (Bider et al., 2015a). It’s about how
the sources work in combination –not if they are real or not.
Applying the source creation principles on the AFFE and harmony cases
The AFFE and Harmony cases are created diﬀerently to ﬁt the courses in which the cases
should be used in. Diﬀerent creation types were selected for diﬀerent types of sources,
thus leading to a number of case presentation as used on the courses.
The AFFE case was created to ﬁt the Bachelor level ITO course. Thus, more control was
desired to not overwhelm the students with complex information. For this reason, most
sources, such as the interviews, are ﬁctitious which gives the teachers full control of the
content. For example, a video recorded interview with the ‘software development man-
ager’of the AFFE company was created in order to present AFFEs software development
process. Since both the roles of the manager and interviewer was played by teachers, it
was easy to control the interview so that it focused on concepts relating to processes –
such as activities and the order in which activities were carried out.
The Harmony Case was created based on a real company. This made the case more
complex, which is best suited for more advanced courses on the master level. In particular,
the interviews were made with real stakeholders. The only change to the interviews was
to change the company name. The interviews were very dense with information, covering
such things as roles, business plans, information structures and so on. Our experience is
that students on the master level are used to ﬁlter out unneeded information from
complex material, but they are also able to add information that is missing. For example,
a task in the SERDES course is to model the intended eﬀects of exchanging information
6M. HENKEL AND I. BIDER
between parties. In the interview the information exchanges were mentioned, but not
always the intended eﬀects (purpose) of the exchanges, so the student needed to add this
information based on their interpretation of the company situation.
For creating the Harmony company site the template approach was used by creating
a new site that was similar to the real company site. This was to have more control of the
information presented on the site, but also to minimise the impact if changes to the real
company site were done.
The SERDES course has added two types of sources to the Harmony case –mails and
a screen mock-up. These sources are ﬁctitious and were added to extend the case to ﬁt
the course. A ﬁctitious mail describing the relationship between the Harmony company
and external parties is shown in Figure 3. The reason this was added is that the relation-
ship was unclear in the interview, and a part of the course tasks is to model relationships
between parties. Our experience is that by just adding a few ﬁctitious sources it is possible
to tailor a case presentation for use in several courses.
Summarising the above, the design principles for simulation, in essence, are loosely
coupled tools on how to construct and combine sources of diﬀerent types (video, web,
document) and creation styles (real, template, ﬁctitious) in order to represent a case. Once
the case presentation is created, it needs to be packaged so that the students can
Besides the created case presentations, there is also a need to describe the task the
students should perform based on the case. Design principles for packaging concern how
the created sources are combined with tasks that the students should perform. There are
three decision areas/dimensions for packaging:
(7) Case source presentation –how to present a project business case to the students
(8) Task presentation –how to present the project tasks to the students
(9) Task-sources relationships –how to connect tasks to the sources that need to be
taken into consideration when completing the tasks
Figure 3. Fictitious email, extending the harmony case in the SERDES course.
INNOVATIONS IN EDUCATION AND TEACHING INTERNATIONAL 7
For the case source presentation we have opted for using a web site per course that
contains all the needed sources. Other options that may be explored is to make the case
sources available oﬄine, or encoded into a desktop or mobile application. In our use, each
source has its own web-page, which in turn may have links to subpages, for example
a company’s website.
Regarding the task presentation, there are two alternatives, either the tasks are repre-
sented in the case website, or outside it, for example in a university Learning Management
System (LMS) that supports communication between the teachers and students. The
advantage of the second alternative is that a task deﬁnition can be easily connected to
the time frame and to a submission box for grading. In our practice, we used both
principles, dependent on the course and the preferences of the teachers involved.
Regarding task-source relationship, there are two alternatives, either the students are
required to ﬁnd themselves which sources are relevant to a particular task, or the list of
relevant sources is added to the task descriptions, as in Figure 4 where it is done through
including direct links to the relevant sources in the ‘Sources to work with’section in the
bottom part of the page. Prior research (Lynch, Goold, & Blain, 2004) has found that
student prefers being guided, and that the assignments deliverables are well deﬁned.
However, especially in the master level courses, a goal is to teach the students to ﬁnd
information themselves, thus this ﬁnding is partially in collision with what the students
prefer. Here, our experience is that letting the student ﬁnd the source themselves is more
appropriate for advanced courses, e.g. MS level courses; guiding the student to sources
are more appropriate for the introductory courses, e.g. BS level courses.
Applying the packaging principles on the AFFE and harmony cases
In the AFFE case, used in the ITO course, a single web site was used to present both
sources and tasks. In order to guide the students on which sources to use for each task,
each task clearly points out which sources that should be used (see the lower part of
Figure 4. Task directly related to simulated sources in a uniﬁed page (example from case AFFE).
8M. HENKEL AND I. BIDER
Figure 4). The reason for this was that the ITO course is a bachelor level course, thus there
was a point in guiding the students. However, the hand-in boxes were placed in the
For the Harmony case diﬀerent packaging principles where used on the three courses
using it. The BPCM and SYSTOIT courses use the same principles –one main web site, with
sources structured according to their type: video or links, since the document source type
was not used in BPCM and SYSTOIT. The SERDES course utilised clear task-source relation-
ships. In the ﬁnal design, three tasks were given to the students –each task had clearly
identiﬁed sources. Thus, in the SERDES course, there were clear task-source relationships.
The reason for doing this was to speed up the tasks by making them more focused. There
was also the desire to mimic a typical project where information is added as the project
progresses through diﬀerent phases. It was furthermore decided that the task presentation
should be separated from the project site. This was based on convenience –the university
provided a LMS with the possibility to have hand-in boxes close to the task descriptions.
Overview of related research
A common way of presenting a business case, real or imaginary, is by applying only one
type of media, a text in most cases. Using simulation for presenting a case is less common,
but is reported in the literature. In the works that could we found in the literature, a case
simulation in the computer is based on simulation of the object of investigation, e.g. an
enterprise, not the situation of apprenticeship. For example, the simulation of a patient in
the medical profession has shown good results (Bergin & Fors, 2003). However, we found
only one example of using simulation of an enterprise for teaching systems analysis,
HyperCase (Kendall & Kendall, 2013), which appeared as early as 1990. According to its
designers, HyperCase showed to be more appreciated by the students than traditional
method. Though HyperCase was introduced in 1990, it is still in use as an accompanier for
an IS coursebook.
IT-based learning environments are often used in courses to provide the students with
course materials, including a description of cases and associated tasks. By using these
generic environments, it is possible to create, manage, and update learning materials in
a structured way (Tono, 2011). Furthermore, some focus has been put on the technical
side in terms of platforms and exchange formats (Jesukiewicz, 2009). It has been proposed
to include all material required for a pedagogical goal, including student tasks, into
a single learning object (Rodríguez-Artacho, 2004). In this paper, we discuss principles
tailored to the presentation of simulated cases and are thus not targeting generic
situations or the technical interchange of course material.
A part of the way AS has been applied is to create case presentations that can be reused
in several courses. Positive eﬀects of reuse of learning material in terms of increased
productivity and quality have been put forward (Parrish, 2004). The creation of material
that is loosely coupled is touted as having a positive eﬀect of reusability (Rodríguez,
Dodero, & Sanchez-Alonso, 2011). An eﬀect on reusing case presentations may also be
that it improves the students ability to get a holistic understanding of a ﬁeld (Bider &
Henkel, 2015). In this paper we include principles for the creation of case presentation that
may be reused of several courses, as an example we describe a speciﬁc cases presentation
that has been reused on three courses.
INNOVATIONS IN EDUCATION AND TEACHING INTERNATIONAL 9
The literature, also, reports on tools for teaching speciﬁc types of enterprise modelling.
One such example is MERODE (Sedrakyan, Snoeck, & Poelmans, 2014), an environment
built to teach students conceptual modelling. The main idea is that the students get
prompt feedback on their models, which speeds up the learning cycle.
The tools discussed above are rather complementary to the AS approach we use, they
are not competing with it. What we aim at with AS is realistic case presentations, generic
learning environments and tools for teaching enterprise modelling can be integrated
technically or/and conceptually as needs arise.
The approach called Apprenticeship Simulation (AS) has been applied to four courses at
Stockholm University, with good results. AS aims at teaching enterprise modelling by
using a set of multimedia presentations, rather than a traditional text-based case pre-
sentation. The core of AS is based on the student being viewed as an apprentice that
follows a modelling master.
In this paper, we focused on the principles used to create case presentation that may
be utilised on courses applying AS. The presented principles concern the design of a case
presentation in terms of diﬀerent source types (video, web, document), and the construc-
tion of these by the use of source categories (real, template, ﬁctitious). In addition,
principles for packing source and task presentations has been introduced, which include
several options for presenting source-task relationships.
The principles have been derived from our experience of using AS in four courses, for
which several case presentations have been created.
No potential conﬂict of interest was reported by the authors.
Notes on contributors
Martin Henkel is an associate professor involved in the research areas enterprise modelling,
enterprise capability design, and modelling for change analysis. Martin teaches in several courses
at the master and bachelor level, including the topics of process modelling, service value network
modelling and enterprise systems.
Ilia Bider is a professor, currently involved in research and teaching in the areas of process manage-
ment, systems theory and business modelling. Lately, Ilia has put his attention to the development
of the Fractal Enterprise Model (FEM), and ways to improve teaching using novel approaches such
as Apprenticeship Simulation.
Martin Henkel http://orcid.org/0000-0003-3290-2597
Ilia Bider http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3490-6092
10 M. HENKEL AND I. BIDER
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