January 25, 2013

Ebner and Druckman on Rethinking the Use of Simulation in Negotiation Education

By Jen Reynolds

Noam Ebner (Creighton) and Dan Druckman (George Mason) have published Games, Claims, and New Frames: Rethinking the Use of Simulation in Negotiation Education in this month’s Negotiation Journal. The abstract:

Negotiation educators have long considered the use of role-play simulations an essential classroom teaching method, and have had high expectations regarding their suitability and efficacy for teaching. In this article, we review the literature, examining the degree to which simulations deliver on these perceived benefits – finding that simulations enjoys only limited advantages over other teaching methods. We note three trends that have developed as part of this re-evaluation process: improving the way simulations are conducted, deemphasizing the use of simulations as a teaching tool while seeking new methods, and finding paradigm-changing uses for simulations.

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Comments

  • Alex Sinatra says:

    As a law student, I find role-play simulations an extremely helpful tool in the learning process. It gives me an open forum to learn from my mistakes in an environment that fosters cooperation and constructive critique. I always learn more and am more satisfied when I am able to participate in role-playing exercises in my classes. Role-playing simulations help teach students real world lawyerly skills that we would otherwise not have the opportunity to learn until we were out in our field of practice.

  • Chris Brown says:

    Although I find that in-class simulations are very helpful, I agree with the author’s essay that there is still be room for improvement. One unengaged student can ruin a simulation if they are unprepared or do not want to actively take part in the exercise. As a law student, one of my concerns is that a simulation does not closely mirror real life. An alternative put forward in the essay states that students should be exposed to “adventure learning”. In adventure learning, the student would watch a real negotiation. Seeing a real negotiation and then simulating one in class would increase the opportunity to learn about negotiation and then put those skills into practice.

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