Comments from the first group of students to play the simulation in the course
DS526 (“Peace and Stability Operations: An Evolving Practice”)
On 27 January 2022, the CFC students in Dr. Dorn’s Complementary Studies course DS526 were offered the chance to play “Peacekeeping Simulation: Investigating Atrocity,” where the avatar is a United Nations Military Observer (UNMO). The following are comments volunteered by the students after playing the simulation.
As an Armour Officer, we use simulation during the conduct of our training for gunnery and tactics. Prior to going “live” with vehicles and troops, simulation provides a venue where we can practice what we have learned in theory classes and also provides a place where personnel can make mistakes and learn from them without causing damage to vehicles or personnel.
The simulation you and your team designed is very impressive and fills a void in UN training. I have done research on pre-deployment training for UN missions in preparation for my paper for this class, and this simulation fills a much-needed needed gap in the UNMO training.
I hope you are able to develop other scenarios, as it is very valuable to reinforce theory for somebody deploying in the role of an UNMO.
Thanks for the opportunity to run through the simulation.
– Major Rich Bulley
Note that I played the simulation quite a few times and it was very interesting to see the responses of all the characters in the simulation. This is definitely a worthwhile training tool because it allows you to see the consequences of wrong and right answers from the helpful hints after you make selections.
It was very fun to learn about conducting a UNMO investigation in a low-stress video game-like environment!
– LCol / lcol John-Alec Bossence
Great little simulation. Instant feedback when my answers could have been better or tips on how to make my answers better is especially useful. I also appreciated the straightforwardness of the Kambo tribe in Kamboua province and associations with the Kambo Liberation Movement. Perhaps it can be more complex in future scenarios, but this is great simplicity for an introductory scenario.
– Major Jérémie Dulong
I truly believe the simulation you and the team have been developing has a ton of potential to increase survivability and decrease ambiguity for personnel deploying. Thanks to you and the team for the effort you continue to put into it. If you ever need a perspective from someone who thinks like a knuckle dragging infanteer (which happens to be the majority of peacekeepers) I am happy to help.
– Major Shane Gapp
On the simulation of military observers, I wish that I have learned this before my participation as a military observer in the Central African Republic, because it would have facilitated a lot in my work as a military observer and how to deal in some difficult times and circumstances.
– Major Mohammad Althunibat (Jordan)
It took me a couple attempts to get the hang of it and what to do. Overall I thought it was a great alpha version. The game ran smoothly without any issues for me. In terms of learning objectives, I think it certainly showed a lot of potential, especially as the scenario fleshes out in the future. I appreciated the opportunity to try it out and glad we got it in before the end of the course!
– LCdr | Capc Kyle Aubrey
The “Investigating Atrocity” simulation was also played in the RMC Course “UN Peace and Humanitarian Operations” (WS508). Student feedback was provided orally in class but one student provided comment:
The UN Peacekeeping Training Simulator application is a beneficial educational aid for future UN peacekeepers. I had the opportunity to test out the application in a Beta version. The visual environment brings abstract concepts of what a UN peacekeepers role is to life. Further, the testing component that includes identifying: how to report field data, who to report to, and assessing information validity, encourages critical thinking. The application fosters a learner’s understanding of how their knowledge could be applied in a real-time environment and it reinforces learning provided by other educational modalities.
This summer, I had an opportunity to interview several Canadian senior military officers, who have had leadership roles in UN peacekeeping missions. From this exercise, I have learned that preparing military personnel for what to expect in a peacekeeping operation is critical to a mission’s success. This program provides such an opportunity. Moreover, it fills a training gap that is needed due to the lack of peacekeeping training exercises that are currently available for Canadian military personnel.
Resource contribution to this project will enable the creator to develop modules and improve existing scenarios such as improving game control and navigation. Further, the game could be offered in other languages to expand training opportunities for non-English speakers.
It has the potential to shift unfavourable attitudes that some military personnel may have towards peacekeeping assignments. Scenarios can help shape a learner’s understanding of their role by demonstrating how their contribution can help stabilize a conflict environment. Overall, this program shows future peacekeepers how their actions can make a difference to communities by aiding in peacebuilding and state security.
– Heather Currie (MA War Studies Student, Royal Military College)
Prototypes were developed in Unity Engine using Game Creator. The prototypes are for Windows but other operating systems are anticipated to be added. After Unity creates the Build (one for each module), they are placed on Google drive and can be downloaded. Voices were generated using Speechelo. Much of the material draws upon UN Special Training Materials (STM) in the UN Peacekeeping Resource Hub.