On May 8, 2007, NP@PON hosted its inaugural event, a pedagogy workshop entitled “From Mega-Simulations to Micro-Analysis: Teaching Complex Skill Sets in Negotiation,” in which 30 faculty and graduate student participants examined different approaches to teaching the complex sets of skills involved in negotiation. Presenter Stephen Weiss of York University’s Schulich School of Business discussed his use of intricate, multi-day “mega-simulations” that require students to synthesize and apply many different skills, and presenter Gerald Williams of Brigham Young University Law School discussed a video annotation software tool that allows both students and instructors to analyze and refine negotiation “micro-skills.”
Professor Christopher Dede of the Harvard Graduate School of Education provided commentary on both approaches from an education theory perspective, discussing the situated learning that mega-simulations provide and the cognitivist theory that supports the breakdown of complex performances into simpler tasks. The presentations led into smaller group discussions on teaching expertise versus competence, sequencing learning strategies, modeling negotiation excellence, and teaching teams or organizations. Followup articles capturing some of the observations, insights, and questions about these approaches are planned for publication in Negotiation Journal.