Guide to Selecting an ICONS Simulation

Here are four questions to think about when selecting a simulation:

  1. Single-faculty vs. mult-faculty [icon]

    Q1: How many instructors will be involved?

    All of our simulations can be used with individual faculty or multiple faculty, so the route you choose doesn't limit your available selections.

    • Individual Faculty: Many instructors use ICONS simulations just with their own class, dividing all of the participant roles among the students in the course. The online platform eliminates the logistical challenges of facilitating face-to-face negotiations and also allows for participation outside of regular class hours, if desired. You control the student participation requirements for the exercise!
    • Multiple Faculty: Consider expanding to include multiple classes across more than one institution by choosing the multi-faculty option for a simulation. Gather colleagues and engage all of your students in a shared simulation learning experience! If you plan to participate with multiple faculty, you will need to keep everyone's preferences in mind when selecting the best simulation for your collaborative group.
  2. time [icon]

    Q2: How much time do you have?

    All simulations are designed to be flexible in length, but thinking about any time limitations or preferences you may have can be useful in determining the right simulation to use. For example, simulations with role sheets tend to be a better option when you only have a couple hours or class periods for an exercise. Simulations without role sheets generally require more student research and therefore, a greater investment of time. (View Comparison Matrix to see which simulations have role sheets and/or require research.)

  3. learning objectives [icon]

    Q3: What are your learning objectives?

    Do you intend to use a simulation primarily for skills development, content learning, or both? If your primary objective is to deepen students' understanding of a particular issue area or region, you may prefer a simulation that requires students to conduct extensive research to prepare for their roles rather than a simulation with role sheets. However, if your main focus in on developing negotiation or crisis decision-making skills, rather than research, you may want to choose a simulation where all materials required for participation are provided, including private role sheets, so students can jump more quickly into the negotiation phase.

  4. students [icon]

    Q4: How many students will participate?

    In general, we recommend having students work together in small teams to represent each role within a simulation. That way, they have an opportunity for intra-team negotiation as well as inter-team negotiation. ICONS simulations vary in the number of roles and recommended team sizes. Some simulations come with a fixed number of required roles, while others allow instructors to select the number of roles. (View Comparison Matrix for information on the number of roles in each simulation.)

Need assistance in choosing the right simulation for your class? We're here to help! Contact the ICONS Education Program Director, Audrey Tetteh, at or (301) 405-4381 to schedule a consultation to discuss your simulation needs.

ICONS Project