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Published In: Journal of Political Science Education, (2012), Vol. 8 Issue 1, pp. 69-84.


Institutions of higher learning are increasingly asked to defend curricular and pedagogical outcomes. Faculty must demonstrate that simulations are productive tools for learning, but a review of the literature shows that the evidence of their effectiveness is inconclusive, despite their popularity in the classroom. Simulations may in fact help students learn, but the pedagogical benefits of simulations may be being attributed too generally to the learning environments that they supposedly produce, rather than the specific learning modalities that occur within them. The paper concludes with a recommendation that educators choose particular learning techniques first, and then build simulations around these techniques, rather than the reverse.

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