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Eijkman 12

The role of simulations in the authentic learning for national security policy development: Implications for Practice / Dr. Henk Simon Eijkman. [electronic resource] http://nsc.anu.edu.au/test/documents/Sims_in_authentic_learning_report.pdf. Dr Henk Eijkman is currently an independent consultant as well as visiting fellow at the University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy and is Visiting Professor of Academic Development, Annasaheb Dange College of Engineering and Technology in India. As a sociologist he developed an active interest in tertiary learning and teaching with a focus on socially inclusive innovation and culture change. He has taught at various institutions in the social sciences and his work as an adult learning specialist has taken him to South Africa, Malaysia, Palestine, and India. He publishes widely in international journals, serves on Conference Committees and editorial boards of edited books and international journal

Policy simulations stimulate Creativity

Participation in policy games has proved to be a highly effective way of developing new combinations of experience and creativity, which is precisely what innovation requires (Geurts et al. 2007: 548). Gaming, whether in analog or digital mode, has the power to stimulate creativity, and is one of the most engaging and liberating ways for making group work productive, challenging and enjoyable. Geurts et al. (2007) cite one instance where, in a National Health Care policy change environment, ‘the many parties involved accepted the invitation to participate in what was a revolutionary and politically very sensitive experiment precisely because it was a game’ (Geurts et al. 2007: 547). Data from other policy simulations also indicate the uncovering of issues of which participants were not aware, the emergence of new ideas not anticipated, and a perception that policy simulations are also an enjoyable way to formulate strategy (Geurts et al. 2007). Gaming puts the players in an ‘experiential learning’ situation, where they discover a concrete, realistic and complex initial situation, and the gaming process of going through multiple learning cycles helps them work through the situation as it unfolds. Policy gaming stimulates ‘learning how to learn’, as in a game, and learning by doing alternates with reflection and discussion. The progression through learning cycles can also be much faster than in real-life (Geurts et al. 2007: 548). The bottom line is that problem solving in policy development processes requires creative experimentation. This cannot be primarily taught via ‘camp-fire’ story telling learning mode but demands hands-on ‘veld learning’ that allow for safe creative and productive experimentation. This is exactly what good policy simulations provide (De Geus, 1997; Ringland, 2006). In simulations participants cannot view issues solely from either their own perspective or that of one dominant stakeholder (Geurts et al. 2007). Policy simulations enable the seeking of Consensus Games are popular because historically people seek and enjoy the tension of competition, positive rivalry and the procedural justice of impartiality in safe and regulated environments. As in games, simulations temporarily remove the participants from their daily routines, political pressures, and the restrictions of real-life protocols. In consensus building, participants engage in extensive debate and need to act on a shared set of meanings and beliefs to guide the policy process in the desired direction

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