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Educate-it at Humanities

Simulations and simulation gaming

01 Jun 2014 - 01 Sep 2016
Project leader:
Dr. W.E. Bakker


Utrecht University’s expertise on simulations as a learning tool is fragmented, spread out over a number of different faculties and rarely used. This expertise can be enhanced and more widely applied in accordance with Utrecht University’s Game Research focus area. There is also synergy to be had in connecting the (currently disjointed) knowledge and expertise at the Arts, Humanities, Social, and Behavioural Studies on one side and the (Life) Sciences on the other. The primary goals are:

  1. To make available and accessible expertise on and the possibilities surrounding simulations and games as they apply to academic teaching, developing study skills and the academic objectives of classes and programmes.
  2. To stimulate the development by academic programmes of teaching methodologies involving gaming and simulation that match students’ changing study style and strategies and to integrate these methodologies into our education.
  3. To reinforce the connection between academic study and the demands of the job market, especially in the areas of executing complex tasks and multi- and interdisciplinary cooperation around ‘wicked problems’.


  1. To gain insight into the current possibilities and limitations of simulations and simulation games as they relate to the way students learn and the requirements of study programmes, the job market, and businesses.
  2. To make accessible and operationally applicable (knowledge about) various kinds of simulations in relation to specific academic targets, competencies and assessments.
  3. To institute durable cooperation with businesses and knowledge institutes for the development and implementation of simulations and simulation gaming.
  4. To create an interfacultory platform for simulations and simulation gaming within Utrecht University’s academic teaching practices that will continue the development and implementation of simulations and simulation gaming and cement cooperative relationships with businesses and knowledge institutes.
  5. To develop four prototypes of simulations and/or games that reveal the possibilities of simulations and games in academic teaching. The choice has been made to develop simulations and/or games with different teaching objectives in different domains. this ensures that the results from this project will be useful to as much of the University as possible. To that end, the following subjects have been selected:
    • Clinical reasoning: (relevant to Faculties of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, and Social and Behavioural Sciences). It will be possible to build on materials previously developed by and for the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in cooperation with a Hungarian partner (Dr. Marton Balogh).
    • Strategic Management: (relevant for the Faculties of Science; Law, Economics and Governance; Social Sciences; Geosciences; Veterinary Medicine; and Medicine). This involves both decision-making and policy-making in situations involving multiple actors and translating those skills to concrete practical applications. Development will be based on existing simulations and games about strategic management.
    • Handling ethical dilemmas; (relevant University-wide) Academically trained professionals face ethical dilemmas and questions of integrity in their professional practices.
    • One Health simulation: (relevant for the Faculties of Veterinary Medicine; Medicine; Biomedical Sciences; Science; Law, Economics and Government; and Geosciences as well as University College Utrecht). Interdisciplinary cooperation around complex, classification-defying ‘wicked problems’.
  6. To perform a feasibility study into the option of developing and financing a simulation lab within Utrecht University.