Development of gaming simulation in higher education for sustainable development: A design-based research

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Abstract

The ultimate goal of education for sustainable development (ESD) does not simply aim at knowledge acquisition but also affective (attitude and behavior) changes. Simulation games have been recognized for their potential to achieve multidimensional (cognitive, skill-based, and affective) learning outcomes, which fit the ESD objective. However, how and why simulation games, as an ESD teaching approach, can fortify an individual’s knowledge, attitude and behavior towards a sustainable lifestyle have not been fully explored in previous studies. Adopting a design-based research (DBR) approach, the research objectives go beyond proving the effectiveness of one simulation game, but exploring design principles as well as educational theories that can lead to desirable learning outcomes. There are two phases in the current DBR study. Phase I employed a quasi-experimental design to benchmark the effectiveness of the self-designed gaming simulation (GS) with inquiry teaching (a well-recognized teaching approach in higher education). A total of 60 undergraduate students (mainly from environmental science/education related majors) were recruited for an 8-hour plastic waste management training program and randomly assigned to one of the two classes employing different teaching approaches. The research was a pre-post-test design involving the use of pen-paper questionnaires and interviews. Hence, opinions regarding the instructional designs as well as the changes in knowledge (K), attitude (A), and behavior (B) of participants were collected. In terms of K and B, quantitative results suggested that pre-post-test in-group differences were significant in both groups. Significant attitude change was only observed in the GS group. Facilitating and limiting factors of the GS were identified through interviews for phases II refinement. In phase II, another 31 undergraduate students (mainly from environmental science/education related majors) were recruited for the revised GS. By increasing the competitiveness among the participants in the GS design, significant improvements has been identified in K when compared to the phase I GS and inquiry teaching. The pre-post in-group improvements in A and B were also found. Through the comparison and refinement of the teaching approach, key factors in designing effective sustainability program were observed and discussed, which can provide useful implications for other educators.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016

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sustainable development
simulation
education
Teaching
Group
goal of education
educational theory
knowledge acquisition
attitude change
waste management
interview
research approach
science
learning
competitiveness
training program
student
sustainability
educator
questionnaire

Bibliographical note

Yeung, S.-K., So, W.-M. W., Cheng, N.-Y. I., & Chow, C.-F. (2016, August). Development of gaming simulation in higher education for sustainable development: A design-based research. Paper presented at the 2016 International Conference of East-Asian Association for Science Education (EASE 2016): Innovations in Science Education Research & Practice: Strengthening International Collaboration, Tokyo University of Science, Tokyo, Japan.