Assessing the Effectiveness of EU Simulations: Do the Characteristics of Participants Impact Learning Outcomes?
In January 2018, two different large-scale simulation games on the European Union’s decision-making process took place in Brussels. This study aims to bring systematic empirical evidence from both EuroSim and SUNY Model EU, two active learning experiences that gather around 300 international participants. The intention is to scrutinize whether specific student attributes generate differential effects on the learning outcomes. These involve cognitive outcomes and affective outcomes. The first type refers to participant’s level of knowledge and understanding about the EU policy-making dynamics. The second type reflects on participants’ overall interest and motivation upon the EU. The data were obtained through a post-game survey method based on stratified sampling. The results point at affective outcomes as the most salient learning outcomes of the simulations. In relation to participants’ features, the data reveal country of origin and gender as good performance-enhancers for students of non-EU origin and for the female cohort. All in all, in order to increase the usefulness of large-scale simulations, more attention needs to be given to participant selection and role attribution, as well as post-simulation debriefing or focus groups.