Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communications Media

First Advisor

Jay Start, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Dr. Mark J. Piwinsky, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Dr. B. Gail Wilson, Ed.D.


The traditional classroom experience in higher education is evolving. The number of college students taking at least one online course is growing. This change is forcing educators to reevaluate their teaching goals and choose appropriate educational tools to accomplish those goals. One of the most popular new tools for the virtual classroom is digital educational simulations. Researchers have been studying the use and effectiveness of simulations in education for decades. Today, advances in technology have made digital (or computerized) simulations even more popular due to their ability to use multimedia tools to dramatically simulate real world environments. The focus of simulation research in the future is centered on the actual effectiveness of these simulations to achieve educational objectives. This study utilizes award-winning, educational leadership simulation software VLeader in order to test the effects of leadership simulation training on the leadership aptitude test scores of college undergraduate students. The amount of practice time spent on the simulator is also used to discuss test performance. Finally, the effect of the simulation training software on demographic groups including: gender, age, class rank, and GPA are discussed.