A National Development Simulation Online to Teach Experiential Problem-Solving
By Laine Munir, African Leadership University
Under what conditions could development studies students be more engaged online than in a classroom? When an online simulation game positions them to rebuild a country after COVID while those students are navigating the pandemic’s political, economic, and social challenges in their everyday lives.
This 12-week role play game introduced a fictional African country, “Anakirfa,” experiencing a series of political and financial shocks. Students were assigned membership in one of six social groups to help enact national policies to improve their group’s standing and the country’s measurables. During weekly interactive Zoom sessions hosted from Rwanda, students debated these proposed policies before voting on a collective decision. Then, that vote led to the following week’s scenario the instructor developed based on commonly recognized outcomes in political science scholarship. The discussion allowed students to ask questions like, “What impact would closing borders to non-citizens have on conflict?” or “How would a national family leave policy to create this effect on employment?”
The Journal of Political Science Education is an intellectually rigorous, path-breaking, agenda-setting journal that publishes the highest quality scholarship on teaching and pedagogical issues in political science. The journal aims to represent the full range of questions, issues and approaches regarding political science education, including teaching-related issues, methods and techniques, learning/teaching activities and devices, educational assessment in political science, graduate education, and curriculum development.