Adopting a blended learning approach to help promote student learning via a role-play simulation: Best practices from two longitudinal studies (CLT)

The Centre for Learning and Teaching will be hosting a noon hour, Lunch & Learn series for faculty and administrative staff working in the online environment.  The purpose of the Lunch & Learn series is to give faculty and administrative staff an opportunity to come together in a sharing environment to learn about what others are doing and to hear about current research and best practices. This series could be for faculty and staff who are teaching online, who are using the online environment as a component for their campus courses, or who are interested in moving some of their content online.

The first session will be facilitated by Dr. Matthew Schnurr, from the Department of International Development Studies, on Friday, October 13, 2017 from 12:00 to 1:00 pm, in the Killam Library, Room B400.  Video conference will be available, in the Cox Institute, Room 211, to those located at the Truro Campus.


Adopting a blended learning approach to help promote student learning via a role-play simulation: Best practices from two longitudinal studies

The use of role-play simulations in university classrooms has gained popularity as an effective and innovative form of active learning. Simulations have been shown to teach students a range of practical skills and relevant concepts in a format that is fun, engaging and educational. But the effectiveness of any simulation hinges on its ability to engage learners. This presentation shares empirical results from two longitudinal studies of role-play simulations utilized in large-scale undergraduate survey courses in the social sciences, both of which adhere to a blended learning model that combine online and in-person forums. Quantitative and qualitative data from the first simulation reveal that these immersive exercises enhanced knowledge acquisition, but negatively impacted skill development and student interest. Preliminary data from a second simulation investigate the potential for utilizing these learning activities within early-year pedagogy, as well as the potential value of integrating social media tools. 

Taken together, these results challenge our traditional understanding of simulation-based learning as a tool that simply enhances student interest. Adopting a blended learning approach that utilizes online technologies alongside preparatory learning and face-to-face interactions enhances immersive learning by forcing students to confront the real-life realities of international negotiation.  Suchprocesses are often painstakingly slow, tedious, and unpredictable. They fail more than they succeed. Forcing to students to confront how international negotiations fail encourages them to ask deeper questions about why this is the case, and what can be done to change the status quo.

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