Advertisement

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
Symposium

Abstract

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.

Keywords

active learning simulations affective learning constructivism 

References

  1. Asal, V. and Kratoville, J. (2013) ‘Constructing international relations simulations: Examining the pedagogy of ir simulations through a constructivist learning theory Lens’, Journal of Political Science Education 9 (2): 132–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barr, R. and Tagg, J. (1995) ‘From teaching to learning – A new paradigm for undergraduate education’, Change 27 (6): 13–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Birenbaum, M. (2003) ‘New Insights Into Learning and Teaching and their Implications for Assessment’, in F. Dochy, E. Cascalar and M. Segers (eds.) Optimizing New Modes of Assessment: In Search for Qualities and Standards, Boston/Dordrecht/London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 13–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bonwell, C.C. and Eison, J.A. (1991) ‘Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom’ ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 1. Washington, DC. The George Washington University School of Education and Development.Google Scholar
  5. Boud, D. and Falchikov, N. (1989) ‘Student self-assessment in higher education: A meta-analysis’, Review of Educational Research 59 (4): 395–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brown, S.W. and King, F.B. (2000) ‘Constructivist pedagogy and how we learn: Educational psychology meets international study’, International Studies Perspectives 1 (3): 245–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brunazzo, M. and Settembri, P. (2014) ‘Experiencing the European Union: A simulation game on the European Citizens’ Initiative’, available online, http://www.sisp.it/files/papers/2013/marco-brunazzo-and-pierpaolo-settembri-1500.pdf, accessed 20 October 2014.
  8. Chin, J., Dukes, R. and Gamson, W. (2009) ‘Assessment in simulation and gaming. A review of the last 40 years’, Simulation and Gaming 40 (4): 553–568.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. De Corte, E. (2000) ‘Marrying theory building and the improvement of school practice: A permanent challenge for instructional psychology’, Learning and Instruction 10 (3): 249–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dougherty, B.K. (2003) ‘Byzantine politics: Using simulations to make sense of the middle east’, Political Science and Politics 36 (2): 239–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Druckman, D. and Ebner, N. (2013) ‘Games, claims, and new frames: Rethinking the use of simulation in negotiation education’, Negotiation Journal 29 (1): 61–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Elias, A. (2013) ‘Simulating the European union: Reflections on module design’, International Studies Perspectives. advance online publication 15 April, doi: 10.1111/insp.12009.Google Scholar
  13. Fonti, F. and Stevancevic, G. (2014) ‘Innovativeness in Teaching European Studies: An Empirical Investigation’, in S. Baroncelli, R. Farneti, I. Horga and S. Vanhoonacker (eds.) Teaching and Learning the European Union. Traditional and Innovative Methods, Dordrecht/Heidelberg/New York/London: Springer, pp. 111–132.Google Scholar
  14. Galatas, S.E. (2006) ‘A simulation of the council of the European union: Assessment of the impact on student learning’, PS: Political Science & Politics 39 (1): 147–151.Google Scholar
  15. Giovanello, S.P., Kirk, J.A. and Kromer, M.K. (2013) ‘Student perceptions of a role-playing simulation in an introductory international relations course’, Journal of Political Science Education 9 (2): 197–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gosen, J. and Washbush, J. (2004) ‘A review of scholarship on assessing experiential learning effectiveness’, Simulation and Gaming 35 (2): 270–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Greenblat, C.S. (1973) ‘Teaching with simulation games: A review of claims and evidence’, Teaching Sociology 1 (1): 62–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Greenblatt, C. and Duke, R.D. (eds.) (1975) Gaming Simulations: Rationale, Design, and Applications, New York, Halsted Press.Google Scholar
  19. Guasti, P., Muno, W. and Niemann, A. (2015) ‘Introduction – EU simulations as a multi-dimensional resource: From teaching and learning tool to research instrument’, European Political Science, in press.Google Scholar
  20. Hofstede, G.J., de Caluwé, L. and Peters, V. (2010) ‘Why simulation game works – In search of the active substance: A synthesis’, Simulation and Gaming 41 (6): 824–843.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jones, R. (2008) ‘Evaluating a Cross-Continent EU Simulation’, Journal of Political Science Education 4 (4): 404–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jones, R. and Bursens, P. (2014) ‘Assessing EU Simulations: Evidence from the Trans-Atlantic EuroSim’, in S. Baroncelli, R. Farneti, I. Horga and S. Vanhoonacker (eds) Teaching and Learning the European Union: Traditional and Innovative Methods, Dordrecht/Heidelberg/New York/London: Springer, pp 157–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ishiyama, J. (2012) ‘Frequently used active learning techniques and their impact: A critical review of existing journal literature in the united states’, European Political Science 11 (1): 116–126.Google Scholar
  24. Kaunert, C.h. (2009) ‘The European union simulation: From problem based learning (PBL) to student interest’, European Political Science 8 (3): 254–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Muno, W., Messner, M.T. and Hahner, N. (2013) ‘Politikdidaktik and simulationen: Die EU simulation model European union Mainz’, Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft 23 (1): 159–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Raymond, C. (2012) ‘Missing the trees for the forest? Learning environments versus learning techniques in simulations’, Journal of Political Science Education 8 (1): 69–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Raymond, C. and Usherwood, S. (2013) ‘Assessment in simulations’, Journal of Political Science Education 9 (2): 157–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rünz, P. (2015) ‘Beyond teaching: Measuring the effect of EU simulations on European identity and support of the EU’, European Political Science, in press.Google Scholar
  29. Shellman, S.M. and Kürşad, T. (2001) ‘Active learning in comparative politics: A Mock German election and coalition-formation simulation’, PS: Political Science & Politics 34 (4): 827–834.Google Scholar
  30. Shellman, S.M. and Kürşad, T. (2006) ‘Do simulations enhance student learning? An empirical evaluation of an IR simulation’, Journal of Political Science Education 2 (1): 19–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Schnurr, M.A., De Santo, E.M. and Green, A.D. (2014) ‘What do students learn from a role-play simulation of an international negotiation?’ Journal of Geography in Higher Education 38 (3): 401–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Snyder, K. (2003) ‘Ropes, poles and space. Active learning in business education’, Active Learning in Higher Education 4 (2): 159–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Struyven, K., Dochy, F., Janssens, S., Schelfhout, W. and Gielen, S. (2006) ‘On the dynamics of students’ approaches to learning: The effects of the teaching/learning environment’, Learning and Instruction 16 (4): 279–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Szafran, R.F. and Mandolini, A.F. (1980) ‘Student evaluations of a simulation game’, Teaching Sociology 8 (1): 21–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Topping, K. (1998) ‘Peer assessment between students in colleges and universities’, Review of Educational Research 68 (3): 249–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Usherwood, S. (2014) ‘Constructing effective simulations of the European union for teaching: Realising the potenial’, European Political Science 13 (1): 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Van Dyke, G. (2014) ‘Educating for EU Citizenship and Civic Engagement Through Active Learning’, in S. Baroncelli, R. Farneti, I. Horga and S. Vanhoonacker (eds) Teaching and Learning the European Union: Traditional and Innovative Methods, Dordrecht/Heidelberg/New York/London: Springer, pp 39–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Vermetten, Y., Vermunt, J. and Lodewijks, H. (2002) ‘Powerful learning environments? How university students differ in their response to instructional measures’, Learning and Instruction 12 (3): 263–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations