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Training the Warrior-Diplomat: Enhancing Negotiation and Conflict Management Skills through Experiential Learning

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Despite the wealth of experience among simulation scholars, there is still little consensus on how to link gaming attributes to specific learning objectives. This article aims to contribute to this discussion and argues that specific simulation design can lead to reaching predefined learning objectives. The authors present a teaching project developed and executed for the Netherlands Defense Academy, how it was set up in 2005, and the way it evolved over time. The authors discuss how the methodology fits into the academic debate on the strengths of experiential learning. The simulation methodology used is rooted in experiential learning and typically supports standard learning goals and styles. When dealing with a specific target group, it is possible to pinpoint one specific, overarching learning objective. This allows trainers to link each individual aspect of the simulation design to that particular learning goal and, in turn, provides a valuable framework to develop, run and evaluate simulation exercises. The authors discuss how two innovative elements in simulating gaming can help to make such an approach work: combining closed and open scenarios, and new communication software that allows for continuous supervision during the game. The conclusions discuss how students respond to the challenges during the game and what the data from debriefings tells us about the methodology’s learning appeal for a military target group.

Affiliations: 1: The Hague Center for Strategic Studies / University of Amsterdam Loudonstraat 532593 RV The Hague The Netherlands, Email:; 2: The Pax Ludens Foundation / Accenture, Zeestraat 100 2518 AD The Hague The Netherlands, Email:; 3: The Pax Ludens Foundation / Webster University, Zeestraat 100 2518 AD The Hague The Netherlands, Email:


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