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ECPR Futures Lab 2020

Short and Long-term Effects of Simulation based Learning – Is Learning through Simulations Sustainable?

European Politics
European Union
Jan Robert Lohmann
Universität Passau
Jan Robert Lohmann
Universität Passau
Uwe Kranenpohl
Evangelische Hochschule Nürnberg

The paper described in this abstract is intended to present and discuss the method and results of a panel study on the effects of long-term learning through policy simulations. Policy simulations have an important role in teaching political processes at many levels. In addition to school education, out-of-school and university education are also increasingly based on simulations. However, a comprehensive debate on the sustainability of knowledge acquisition through simulations - and thus the success of this instrument - is still lacking. A pilot study at a German university attempts to deal with this desideratum. Within an introductory lecture in Political Science, all of the content about the European Union is covered by a policy simulation. Before participating in the simulation, participants have been confronted with an online questionnaire including test and self-assessment questions. After the simulation, this has been repeated twice. To compare the effects of the simulation and the rest of the lecture, questions about both parts are covered. First results have shown that the participants could remember facts about the EU better and longer than the content of the rest of the lecture. Furthermore, participants could keep facts which they had learned in the parts of the simulation-game in which they had an active role much better and longer in mind than facts from the parts of the simulation where they had to study preparation materials. These results as well as the methodological possibilities, but also obstacles, of the study, are to be discussed within this contribution.
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