HomeSerious games, participatory simulation and learning processes. A proposal for experimental evaluation

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Published on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 by Luigia Parlati


Controlled social experimentation to evaluate the effects of varying degrees of asymmetry in the data and action assigned to participants on the learning generated by participatory simulations.



Participatory simulation (which may involve "serious games" based on role-play) is a very useful approach in decision-making processes in complex systems (involving many interactions) that are evolving and entail numerous uncertainties (Voinov & Bousquet, 2010; Etienne, 29010). One of the main interests of this approach is the different forms of learning that it involves - learning relating to the stakes involved, to the other players, to the technical aspects, to communication or to organisational aspects (Daré et al, 2010). While a session of participatory simulation, which necessarily means bringing in several participants each with a particular role, can produce different learning processes according to the type of participant and the mode of simulation chosen, the question of the influence of the degree of asymmetry between the different roles is as yet unsolved (Bécu et al, 2010). Does a simulation proposing only one type of role produce the same learning processes as a simulation integrating very distinct roles? Does the way in which a simulated territory is represented, and the use of different representations according to the different roles, influence the learning processes generated? Generally speaking, what do participants actually learn, and how can this be evaluated in relation to the pedagogical objectives set out? To answer these questions, controlled experiments appear as a promising line of investigation.


The successful candidate will be required to establish an experimental protocol in the course of the first three months:

- using 2 or 3 participatory simulation models developed by members of SAMOA, and characterised by the degree of asymmetry of the data and the action assigned to each role

- comprising a large number of reiterations in conditions that are as similar as possible (a panel of students from different educational establishments is to be formed)

- including an observation and evaluation protocol for the systems learning generated.

In a second phase, the candidate recruited will organise and conduct the experimentation. Around fifty reiterations should be provided for over a period of 4 months. Finally, the person recruited will analyse the learning processes generated, and evaluate the impact of the model used (high or low asymmetry between roles) these processes. The results will be the subject of a scientific publication in an international journal, and the post-doc recruited will be in charge of piloting the drafting of this collective article.

Required skills and abilities

- skills in modelling and multi-agent simulation

- knowledge of experimental approaches in the social and human sciences (geography, psychology, experimental economics etc)

- ability to set up and organise experimental protocols

- proficiency in written English

Proceedings and schedules of recruitment

The application file should demonstrate the match to the profile (missions and required skills). Documents to be included:
- Application form,

- A cover letter,

- A Curriculum Vitae,

- The research project (5 pages max),

- A list of your publications,

- Two publications,

- Verification of completion by mentor (except for foreign students),

- A copy of your PhD degree (or attestation)[1],

- Two letters of recommendation.

Applications must be sent before 09th May 2014.

All applications have to be sent to:

As from 30th June 2014, selected candidate will be informed after examination of their application. Scientific committee to be announced

[1] The PhD must have been defended no more than 5 years ago.

Additional informations

  • Hosting Laboratory Name of the laboratory: PRODIG  (in partnership with the LAISC (EPHE) and Géographie-cités)
  • Supervisors:  Nicolas Becu (PRODIG), Marc Bui (EPHE), Nicolas Marilleau  (IRD)
  • Net monthly salary 2324€ net
  • Beginning of the contract 01/09/2014
  • Lenght of the contract 1 year



  • Paris, France (75)


  • Friday, May 09, 2014


  • serious game, participatory simulation, complex systems


  • DynamiTe LabEx
    courriel : labex [dot] dynamite [at] hesam [dot] eu

Information source

  • Sophie Bantos
    courriel : labex [dot] dynamite [at] hesam [dot] eu

To cite this announcement

« Serious games, participatory simulation and learning processes. A proposal for experimental evaluation », Scholarship, prize and job offer, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, April 22, 2014,

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