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Simulating the World

Real World Learning Experience: Level 300

By this point in the program, students are prepared to take a more active role in managing their RWLEs. In 300-level RWLEs, students simulate the world through experiences like in person role plays, debates, and games, both online or in person, in which students take on and embody specific roles and responsibilities of decision-makers and stakeholders in hypothetical sustainability problem and solution contexts. Students learn to complete tasks and engaging in critical thinking increasingly self- or peer-directed. Key mastery goals at this level are conceptual problem-solving in light of their own experiences, employing empathy to support negotiation and conflict resolution, appreciation of pluralism, and decision making under uncertainty.


designer working with digital sketch pad

Benefits of these types of activities:

  • Gives students unique insight into a problem or solution via embodying a specific person or role
  • Opportunity for students to practice collaboration, discussion, decision making, conflict resolution and other important skills for engaging people in sustainability problem solving processes
  • Practice problem solving in a safe environment where consequences of mistakes are brief (and not shaming) so students can focus on learning
  • Many pre-existing games mean little planning expertise needed from instructor

Examples of related learning objectives:

  • Adopt the role and perspective of somebody else and develop a strategy for acting your role. Reflect on what is gained by simulating the world in sustainability education.
  • Create a constructive and inclusive dialogue on a problem-solving strategy, practicing skills related to listening, mediation, and conflict resolution.
  • Identify and describe the position that people have vis-à-vis a sustainability problem or solution approach in terms of connections between people, norms, believes and the cascading effects of benefitting from or being negatively impacted by the determined solution.