Enhancing Student Immersion in Negotiation-based Learning Environments
A key element of using simulations is the use of participant immersion as a driver of learning, but this is always compromised by the requirements of simulations to simplify the real world. Using a case-study of a university-level Politics module on negotiation, this paper considers how best to balance this tension and enhance immersion. To achieve this, there is an alignment of the central elements of tasks, structures and feedback. Students begin by preparing a conventional research-based essay on the subject matter, which they then convert into a negotiating brief, so allowing for a deeper engagement with the roles that they adopt for the negotiation. Students spend an extended period of time (3 days) in negotiation, which distances them from outside distractions and allows for debate to be much more involved. Immediately after the negotiations conclude, they write up their reflections, which are then returned to some time later, to allow them to consider how their immersion affected their understanding, both then and later. Taken together, this joining up of the phases before, during and after the actual negotiation allows for a much better opportunity for both participant immersion and ex-post reflection.
Keywords: Simulation, Negotiation, Immersion, Politics, Alignment
Dr. Simon Usherwood
Lecturer in Politics and Centre for Learning Development Faculty Scholar, Department of Politics