If you were President of an African country, what would you do to improve economic outcomes after the pandemic? If you were the leader of a labor union, how would you raise the minimum wage? If you were an ordinary citizen, what policies would you support to secure better housing, education, and healthcare for your family? This article published in the Journal of Political Science Education outlines how my undergraduate students navigated these same questions during my experiential learning course.

This 12-week online role-play game positions students to help improve economic and political outcomes in a fictional African country, “Anakirfa.” As members of one of six role-play groups, from being an ordinary citizen to a corporation, students debated and then voted on policies to improve the country’s GDP, HDI, employment, poverty, and other measures. Using political economy and development theories, the instructor presents the most likely result of that vote. Then that undergirds the following week’s scenario to have an ongoing national narrative. Students said the experiential game fostered analytical decision-making skills, collaborative learning capacity, and leadership abilities.