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Issues in Educational Research, 2021, Vol 31(3), 739-759.
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Using hybrid simulations to enhance student learning of international relations theories

Luis da Vinha
Flinders University, Australia

The theoretical frameworks explicitly or implicitly employed by diplomatic historians and international relations scholars can lead to significantly different explanations for the same historical events. Therefore, a sound understanding of the basic international relations theories is required for a more comprehensive understanding of international politics. However, students tend to shun theoretical topics and debates, considering them irrelevant to practical issues and problems that they face in their daily lives. This paper argues for employing simulations as a way of enhancing student learning of international relations theories. It provides a justification and outline for the organisation and development of a hybrid simulation using the Council on Foreign Relation's Model Diplomacy interactive platform. Hybrid simulations integrate components of both face-to-face and cyber simulations, with students physically interacting during the more formal simulation procedures (e.g., making formal policy statements and voting) and using the cyber environments for informal activities (e.g., as negotiations). Ultimately, hybrid simulations transform the learning environment by restructuring the interaction process between instructors and students and can contribute to enhancing student learning and their understanding of the main theories underscoring international relations theories. The use of hybrid simulations becomes more relevant as universities continue to promote more online educational opportunities for students and as unanticipated disruptions require them to have more options available to continue providing students with the best educational experiences possible.
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Author: Luis da Vinha PhD is a lecturer in international relations at Flinders University where he coordinates the Master of Arts degree in International Relations. His teaching and research interests are in international security, foreign policy analysis, and political geography. His research has been published with Routledge, Palgrave Macmillan, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Comparative Strategy, Journal of Policy History, and the Brown Journal of World Affairs, among others. He is the author of Geographic mental maps and foreign policy change and Three approaches to Presidential foreign policy-making in the twenty-first century. Luis was the recipient of the 2016 VSCU Teacher of the Year Award and the 2021 Vice-President and Executive Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching at Flinders University's College of Business, Government & Law.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7222-5095
Email: luis.davinha@flinders.edu.au

Please cite as: Da Vinha, L. (2021). Using hybrid simulations to enhance student learning of international relations theories. Issues in Educational Research, 31(3), 739-759. http://www.iier.org.au/iier31/da-vinha.pdf

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