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Higher Learning Research Communications

Abstract

This article presents a case study in the use of the computer simulation game People Power, developed by the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. The principal objective of the activity was to offer students an opportunity to understand the dynamics of social conflicts, in a format not possible in a traditional classroom setting. Due to the game complexity, it was decided to play it in a day-long (8 hour) workshop format. A computer lab was prepared several weeks beforehand, which meant that each team of four students had access to a number of computers, being able to have the game open on several monitors at the same time, playing on one while using the others to constantly revise information as their strategy and tactics evolved. At the end of the workshop, and after handing in a group report, the 24 participants (6 groups) were asked to complete a short survey of the activity. The survey was divided into three areas: the game itself, skill development, and the workshop organization. Results showed a strong relationship between the activity and the course content, skills and competencies development, and practical know-how and leadership, as well as a strong feeling that it works well as a learning tool and is enjoyable.DOI: 10.18870/hlrc.v4i1.200

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