A study on the potential of game based learning for sustainability education

DS 122: Proceedings of the Design Society: 24th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED23)

Year: 2023
Editor: Kevin Otto, Boris Eisenbart, Claudia Eckert, Benoit Eynard, Dieter Krause, Josef Oehmen, Nadège Troussier
Author: Scurati, Giulia Wally (1); Kwok, Sze Yin (2); Ferrise, Francesco (3); Bertoni, Marco (1)
Series: ICED
Institution: 1: Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, Department of Mechanical Engineering; 2: Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, Department of Strategic Sustainable Development; 3: Politecnico di Milano, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Section: Design Methods
Page(s): 0415-0424
DOI number: https://doi.org/10.1017/pds.2023.42


Academic institutions are increasingly required to prepare future practitioners to face complex sustainability challenges. The need to foster the development of different skills, attitudes, and multidisciplinary collaboration raised the interest in alternative learning approaches. Game-based learning can be a tool to achieve a variety of desirable learning outcomes, including sustainability and collaborative attitudes change. We present a pilot study investigating the potential of a board game on sustainability risks and opportunities in product development and life cycle, performing a test with different student audiences. The paper discusses our results of the experiment, including a survey following the game, qualitative analysis of students' feedback, and observations during the game sessions. Additionally, we relate insights from students' reflections to CDIO learning objectives. We then illustrate lessons learned and the potential advantages of using the game compared to other teaching approaches and as a complementary tool. Finally, we propose future directions and recommendations for the use of the board game and game-based learning in sustainability education with different student audiences.

Keywords: Sustainability, Education, Early design phases, Serious Game, Game Based Learning

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