Requirements Engineering Education in the 21st Century, an Experiential Learning Approach
RE use in industry is hampered by a poor understanding of RE practices and their benefits. Teaching RE at the university level is therefore an important endeavor. This education can ideally be provided at the university level as an integrated part of developing the requisite RE and software engineering technical skills, shortly before students become engineers and enter the workforce. However, much social wisdom is packed into RE methods. It is unrealistic to expect students with little organizational experience to understand this body of knowledge. The course described in this paper uses an active, affective, experiential pedagogy giving students the opportunity of experiencing a simulated work environment that demonstrates the social/design-problem complexities and richness of a development organization in the throws of creating a new product. Emotional and technical debriefing is conducted after each meaningful experience so that students and faculty, alike, can better understand the professional relevancies of what they have just experienced. This includes an examination of the many forces experienced in industrial settings but not normally discussed in academic settings. The course uses a low-tech social simulation rather than software simulation so that students learn through interaction with real people and therefore are confronted with the complexity of true social relationships.