European Political Science

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 254–265 | Cite as

the effects of active learning environments: how simulations trigger affective learning

  • rebecca jones
  • peter bursens


Simulations have become popular teaching tools in political science and EU studies curricula. Proponents point out that simulations match with constructivist theories of learning. They argue that students will better understand EU decision making when they combine theoretical knowledge about negotiation theory with knowledge about how the EU works and with the experience of negotiating as if they were EU actors. This article aims to validate the pedagogical claims by constructivists regarding simulations in two ways. It assesses the organisation of EuroSim, a four day comprehensive simulation of EU decision making organised by the Trans-Atlantic Consortium for European Union Studies & Simulations (TACEUSS) as an active learning environment. In addition, using data from pre- and post-simulation surveys among participants, the authors show that through participation in simulations students gained in the areas of affective learning, such as the ability for self-assessment, as suggested by the constructivist literature.


active learning simulations affective learning constructivism 


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Copyright information

© European Consortium for Political Research 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Widener University, One University PlacePennsylvaniaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceUniversiteit AntwerpenAntwerpenBelgium

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