#ALA #library science #library #archivist #librarian #graduate student #information systems #business intelligence #business analytics #BI #BA


Colin Conrad is an assistant professor in the School of Information Management at the Dalhousie University. He has been using ERPsim both as a student and as a faculty member, and now teaches students who aim on becoming librarians and archivists. His main research area is e-learning and the impacts of mind-wandering during the use of enterprise systems.

Using ERPsim in Class

Professor Conrad uses the logistics version of the ERPsim game in his information management systems class for students of the information management Master. This course is in a hybrid format, and the material is delivered both asynchronously as well as synchronously. He starts a semester by introducing his students to the game in synchronous lab sessions and then switches to data analysis in an asynchronous format.

His goal is not to teach his undergraduate students enterprise resource systems (ERP) but rather to introduce them to the basics of enterprise systems and the associated business processes. Because his students are future librarians and archivists, they tend to be intimidated by the course at first, but once they begin to understand the underlying processes the data they are about to analyze is going through, they can see how informative it was to understand that transformation.

I've taught synchronously with ERPsim and all the data exercises were asynchronous. In the feedback I got from the students, they were very clear that those synchronous experiences helped define the otherwise asynchronous course as a great learning experience. So one thing that I learned is that even when teaching asynchronously, if you have some synchronous ... lectures, sessions or labs, ... it will give the students time to meet people and, especially, to feel social presence so they'll know they're not just talking to a computer, they'll know that there are actual people on the other end of that.

For his class, he has been singularly relying on the Robert et al. book provided by the ERPsim Lab as it is sufficient.

By far the best feature of ERPsim that I have found for teaching future librarians and archivists is that they will be able to do something hands-on and see how data makes its way through the whole system, all the way to making decisions and supporting decision making.


You should have experience using the simulator before starting any research with it. Play a few games with colleagues or teaching assistants to get a feel of its intricacies.

You should be aware that the simulator is complex and how the specific tasks relate to one another.

Use the data analytics functions of ERPsim! They are really easy to use and extremely insightful; it's the best platform to do this. There are likely research opportunities around teaching analytics using this platform.


Don’t evaluate students on the finer details of the game. The main value of the game is in teaching the strategic value of ERP and data analytics. This may have better applications to conceptual learning research, rather than rote learning.

Using ERPsim in Research

Professor Conrad has published two research papers which were inspired by the ERPsim lab as the simulator was used in the prototyping work process. The first one focuses on a hands-on card sorting game inspired by the one in the ERPsim exercise material. The second is about mind-wandering during online classes.


Conrad et al., 2019

The Role of Flow in Learning Distributed Computing and MapReduce Concepts using Hands-On Analogy

Journal of Information Systems Education 30(1), 57-66

Conrad, C., Newman, A. (2021)

Measuring Mind Wandering During Online Lectures Assessed With EEG" Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 14. 10.3389/fnhum.2021.697532