This article explores the effect of student engagement on learning outcomes associated with students’ participation in Model United Nations. We developed an objective assessment of learning outcomes by fielding a survey to conference participants and measuring their general knowledge of the United Nations. We follow-up the survey by asking faculty advisors to report on student outcomes and on the level of activity of Model UN student groups. As predicted by previous research, expectations established by a supportive peer group provide a powerful incentive for student learning, even exceeding the influence of formal instruction in a dedicated credit-bearing course.

Practitioner Notes

  1. Support should be directed towards faculty advisors who work directly with students and who serve as advisors to student clubs, in addition to those who develop credit-bearing courses and curriculum.
  2. Instructors should design simulations with check-ins and debriefings to remind students to remain engaged and committed to their own learning throughout the semester.
  3. Yet this message is more effective when it is reinforced by their peers.

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