Learning by Experiencing: Improving Student Learning Through a Model United Nations Simulation

Augustine Hammond, Craig D Albert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Academic institutions and programs are increasingly using experiential learning and simulations with the observation that these pedagogical devices not only facilitate knowledge but they also provide an opportunity for skills and attitudinal development. The article seeks to determine the effect of experiential learning through simulations on students’ skills development. Specifically, this article examines whether participation in a Model United Nations (MUN) class affects self-reported skills development of students from a public university located in the southeastern United States. Using data from 83 students enrolled in a MUN class from 2011 to 2017, we explored whether there were statistically significant changes in students’ skills—including ability to think critically, to work as a team, to solve problems, to communicate effectively, to examine personal development, and to creatively apply knowledge. Data were analyzed using dependent (paired)-samples t-test. It was found that students’ self-reported skills after enrolling in the class were statistically significant higher than their self-reported skills prior to enrolling in the class with a large effect size. With this in mind, we argue that more Political Science departments should offer simulations and experiential learning devices such as the MUN to increase student success. Limitations to the study and implications for practice and future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-458
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Political Science Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Experiential learning
  • Model United Nations
  • active learning
  • higher order learning
  • simulations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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