In one classic simulation named Barnga (1990), which focuses on cultural clashes that develop quickly amongst peoples of all cultures, participants are asked to experience the shock of realizing that despite their good intentions and despite the many similarities among them, people interpret things differently from one another in profound ways, especially people from differing cultures. Participants have observed and learnt through simulations, such as Barnga, that they both can-and-must understand, as well as reconcile--these differences if they want to function effectively in a cross-cultural groups. (Pittenger & Heimann 1998; Suematsu, Takadama, Shimohara, Katai & Arai 2003/2004, Thiagarajan & Thiagarajan 2006).
Recently, a variety of modeling agents, including agent-based models (Axelrod, 1997; Fortino, Garro, Russo, 2005; Hughes, Clegg, Robinson, & Crowder, 2012), have been combined with classic game-simulations in order to studying a variety of topics, such as in studying the impact of publication venues by researchers in the computer-science domain or how behaviors can be taught and learned among newcomers in any new global work community, i.e., as performed regularly in the BARNGA simulation.
The purpose of this theoretical and educational-change-oriented paper is (a) to encourage the wider usage of simulations, such as Barnga, in our schools and in educational & administrative training environments, (b) understand the cross-curricular nature of such simulations and the requisite learning made possible through debriefing and repeated participation in such activities, and (c) to provide a framework for evaluating which sorts of simulation and group-work activities & learning projects work best in the Middle Eastern context. Finally, this paper also provides an overview (and checklists) of simulation employment and utilization intended for interested educators. This focus on procedure is very pertinent in the Omani context because new procedures for course delivery and for certificates and diplomas are strongly advised by the Omani Academic Accreditation Authority (OAAA, 2009a,b).
A major problem with the
educational delivery of
LeRoux, Pocaro/Musawi, and various Omani Ministries, such as the ministry that oversee the Omani Academic Accreditation Authority (OAAA, 2009a, b) have advocated that continuous assessments be implemented to a much wider extent than has been the practice over the past quarter of century. The four major reasons for this shift have been outlined by LeRoux as:
(1) Continuous assessments are in line with current international trends in assessment theory.
assessments, such as conducted in simulations and on projects, are more
sociologically appropriate in
(3) Regular or continuous assessments are also statistically more reliable than the Omani high stakes or summative evaluations have been.
(4) Students need to acquire more advanced and less-passive study skills in order to do well academically and in whatever field of work they desire to be involved in.
This paper advocates particularly that the employment of more simulations be created and used by the educational institutions, the Ministry of Manpower, and in training programs of all-sorts across the land.