CE  Vol.3 No.6 , October 2012
Evaluating the Use of Role Playing Simulations in Teaching Negotation Skills to University Students
ABSTRACT
This paper critically evaluates the use of role-playing simulations in a negotiation course taught to graduate students. The course consisted primarily of a series of simulations involving the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes of negotiation, facilitation and mediation. Data were obtained from two sets of questionnaires completed by 41 students before and after the course. A review of previous research reveals that despite the widespread use of role-playing simulations in education, there has been very little empirical evaluation of their effectiveness, especially in conflict resolution and planning. Comparison of the data acquired from the two surveys generated findings regarding student understanding of ADR processes and key issues in conflict resolution; the educational value of simulations; the amenability of types of planning and planning goals to ADR; appropriate learning objectives; the importance of negotiation skills in planning; challenges in conducting effective simulations; the value of simulations in resolving real conflicts; the utility of negotiation theory; and obstacles to applying ADR to planning disputes. More generally, the paper concludes that role-playing simulations are very effective for teaching negotiation skills to students, and preparing them to manage actual conflicts skillfully and to participate effectively in real ADR processes. However, this technique is somewhat less valuable for teaching aspects of planning other than conflict resolution. Surprisingly, prior experience with simulations had no significant influence on the responses to the pre-course survey. Also surprising was the lack of a significant correlation between final exam scores and responses to relevant questions on the post-course survey.

Cite this paper
Andrew, J. & Meligrana, J. (2012). Evaluating the Use of Role Playing Simulations in Teaching Negotation Skills to University Students. Creative Education, 3, 696-707. doi: 10.4236/ce.2012.36104.
References
[1]   Baum, H. (1997). Social science, social work, and surgery: Teaching what students need to practice planning. Journal of the American Planning Association, 63, 179-188. doi:10.1080/01944369708975913

[2]   Bredemeier, M., & Greenblat, C. (1981). The education effectiveness of simulation games. Simulation and Games, 12, 307-331. doi:10.1177/104687818101200304

[3]   Cherryholmes, C. (1966). Some current research on effectiveness of educational simulations: Implications for alternative strategies. American Behavioral Scientist, 10, 4-7. doi:10.1177/000276426601000202

[4]   Dolin, E. J., & Susskind, L. E. (1992). A role for simulations in public policy disputes: The case for National Energy Policy. Simulation and Gaming, 23, 20-44. doi:10.1177/1046878192231003

[5]   Fisher, R., Ury, W., Patton, B. (1991). Getting to yes: Negotiating agreement without giving in (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Penguin.

[6]   Foster, J. L., Lachman, A. C., Mason, R. M. (1980). Verstehen, cognition, and the impact of political simulations. Simulation and Games, 11, 223-241. doi:10.1177/0037550080112007

[7]   Friedmann, J., & Kuester, C. (1994). Planning education for the late 20th century: An initial inquiry comment. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 14, 55-64. doi:10.1177/0739456X9401400106

[8]   Hankinson, H. (1987). The cognitive and affective learning effects of debriefing after a simulation game. Doctoral Dissertation, Bloomington: Indiana University.

[9]   Innes, J. E., &Booher, D. E. (1999). Consensus building as role playing and bricolage. Journal of the American Planning Association, 65, 9-26. doi:10.1080/01944369908976031

[10]   Krause, G. H., & Amaral, M. (1994). Simulating harbor management: A tool for public participation. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 14, 43-54. doi:10.1177/0739456X9401400105

[11]   Lewicki, R. J. (1986). Challenges of teaching negotiation. Negotiation Journal, 23, 15-27. doi:10.1111/j.1571-9979.1986.tb00335.x

[12]   Meligrana, J., & John Andrew (2003). A critical assessment of learning expectations and outcomes of role-playing simulations in planning education. Journal of Planning Practice and Research, 18, 95-108. doi:10.1080/0269745032000132673

[13]   Nightingale, C. S. (1981). Games and simulations: A teaching technique. South African Geographer, 9, 59-65.

[14]   Petranek, C. F., Corey, S., & Black, R. (1992). Three levels of learning in simulations: Participating, debriefing, and journal writing. Simulation and Gaming, 23, 174-185. doi:10.1177/1046878192232005

[15]   Pierfy, D. (1977). Comparative simulation game research: Stumbling blocks and stepping stones Simulation and Games, 8, 255-268. doi:10.1177/003755007782006

[16]   Randel, J. M., Morris, B. A., Wetzel, C. D., & Whitehill, B. V. (1992). The effectiveness of games for educational purposes: A review of recent research. Simulation and Gaming, 22, 261-276. doi:10.1177/1046878192233001

[17]   Ryan, T. (2000). The role of simulation gaming in policy-making. Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 17, 359-364. doi:10.1002/1099-1743(200007/08)17:4<359::AID-SRES306>3.0.CO;2-S

[18]   Sawicki, D. S. (1988). Planning education and practice: Can we plan for the next decade? Journal of Planning Education and Research, 7, 115-120. doi:10.1177/0739456X8800700216

[19]   Sch?n, D. A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New York, NY: Basic Books.

[20]   Sch?n, D. A. (1987). Educating the reflective practitioner. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

[21]   Schultz, B. (1989). Conflict resolution training programs: Implications for theory and research. Negotiation Journal, 5, 301-311. doi:10.1111/j.1571-9979.1989.tb00525.x

[22]   Shepherd, A., & Cosgriff, B. (1998). Problem-based learning: A bridge between planning education and planning practice. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 17, 348-357. doi:10.1177/0739456X9801700409

[23]   Szafran, R. F., &Mandolini, A. F. (1980). Test performance and concept recognition: The effect of a simulation game on two types of cognitive knowledge. Simulation and Games, 11, 326-335. doi:10.1177/104687818001100305

[24]   Walford, R. (1981). Geography games and simulations: Learning through experience. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 5, 113-119. doi:10.1080/03098268108708808

 
 
Top