Developing participation through simulations: A multi-level analysis of situational interest on students' commitment to vote

Lo, Jane C.
October 2015
Journal of Social Studies Research;Oct2015, Vol. 39 Issue 4, p243
Academic Journal
While simulation has been a staple of Social Studies curricula since the 1960s, few current studies have sought to understand the mechanisms behind how simulations may influence students' learning and behavior. Learning theories around student engagement - specifically interest development theory (Hidi & Renninger, 2006) - may help explain students' commitment to future political action. To incorporate this theory into the democratic education literature, this study asks: Do situational interest and simulation frequency uniquely contribute to students' commitment to vote in the future? Data included 260 students from 19 classrooms, 9 teachers, in 9 schools, recruited as part of a larger mixedmethods study on Project Based Learning. Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) techniques were used to examine the relationship between individual outcomes and predictors across different classrooms and teachers. Analysis of data suggests both frequency of simulations and situational interest directly predict students' commitment to vote but do not uniquely contribute to the outcome. Findings suggest situational interest may play an important role in influencing students' learning and future political behavior.


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