Where do we learn more: Onstage, or Behind the Scenes?


Way back in 2008, Dan Druckman and I began to explore an issue that had tickled each of us – separately – for a long time:

Students participating in simulation-games seem to learn a lot about negotiation, but we had the feeling that people writing simulation games (including ourselves) learned even more. We conducted several rounds of experiments aimed at exploring this notion – with some very surprising findings.

An article summarizing our full findings will be coming out in the next volume of Negotiation Journal, and I’ll post that when it’s available.

Meanwhile, if anybody is interested in this topic – I’ve posted the full text of the original article we published in Simulation and Gaming describing the experiments we conducted. If you’re interested in negotiation teaching, simulation-games and social science research (two out of three is enough) you might want to take a look at this: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1916785

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Comment by Jeff Thompson on December 2, 2012 at 2:05pm

I assume I have to wait for the article but a question I have from reading your post is do you then recommend instead of simply having students participate in a simulation they also help create the simulation first?

Comment by Noam Ebner on December 3, 2012 at 4:47am

That's one possibility. Sometimes, though, having a designer participate in a simulation s/he has created can skew things, given that they know both roles. Another possibility is to have pairs of students design simulations to be played out by other pairs of students - Jeff designing a simulation which will be played out by Mary and Rick.

However, the main point is that the designing activity is of tremendous learning value - irrespective of whether they participate in the simulation/another simulation afterwards. Designing a simulation is simply a good way to learn about negotiation concepts.


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