A decision making simulation using computer mediated communication

Robert McLaughlan, Denise Kirkpatrick


Simulations can be used to familiarise participants with the complexities of decision making and negotiation. The infusion of computer mediated communication strategies with simulation offers the potential for creating educationally rewarding learning experiences in a cost effective, flexible and realistic manner. A simulation using electronic dialogue about decision making processes at a hypothetical contaminated site has been developed and evaluated. The simulation was found to be an effective tool for supporting learning about the social, political, economic and scientific dimensions involved in managing contaminated sites. The participants particularly valued the opportunity for negotiation and communication skill development within the simulation. The use of a facilitated group reflection process improved learning outcomes. This was evidenced by higher order learning assessed from a SOLO analysis of reflective essays. While electronic dialogue using group discussion software was an extremely useful communication strategy, face to face meetings were required at critical points in the simulation. These were in the introductory part of the simulation and the debriefing phase.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.1860