MAJOR DETERMINANTS OF THE ROLE OF SIMULATION GAMING IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Seeking to understand the proper place of simulation games in higher education and the possibilities they offer, we need to answer a number of questions about their nature and fundamental characteristics. Our research into cultural and historical roots of simulation games has shown that these games can become a powerful means of education, understood as a process aimed at creating in the human consciousness a system of models that will help to be well-oriented in a changeable environment since together they make up an adequate image of objective reality. This teleological stance requires careful distinction between education and training, which is necessary if we are to avoid the increasingly widespread confusion of the two kinds of teaching/learning processes.
The Paper identifies the features of simulation games that determine their effectiveness in the process of education. Owing to the psychological mechanisms of perception the imagery that constitutes the games and the language of symbols, in which their content is translated, significantly increase the impact of games on the minds of participants. The third element of the playing process ie, the rules of the game, greatly enhances its moral dimension and makes it particularly relevant for teaching environmental economics and for the education of entrepreneurs and all people who have to take highly consequential decisions.
The Paper includes game descriptions and an overview of the attitudes to the use of simulation games in university classroom that exist today among the members of academic community.