Simulation Design: Negotiation Learning Gains
31 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2012
Date Written: June 15, 2012
Negotiation educators have long considered simulations a central classroom teaching method, with high expectations regarding the method’s suitability and efficacy for teaching. This paper presents a meta-review of the literature exploring the degree to which simulation delivers on these perceived benefits of simulation, showing that, in reality, simulation enjoys only limited advantages over other teaching methods. Additional critique recently posed to simulations suggests that contextual or cultural reasons might sometimes make their use unsuitable. The combined weight of these two thrusts of critique requires re-evaluating the use of simulation in negotiation education.
In this paper, we note three trends developing as part of this re-evaluation process: Improving use and conduct of simulations, deemphasizing use of simulations as a teaching tool while seeking out new methods, and finding paradigm-changing uses for simulation. With regards to this last, we describe two experiments we’ve conducted, assigning students to design and author simulations, rather than participate in them as role-players. Amongst other benefits of the design method, we found that designers showed higher levels of concept learning and motivation than did role-players.
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