Here is an interesting paper written by the designers of the educational game Europe-2045. The game is a simulation of the economies and politics of the European Union and the project was to develop a computer game for use in high school. The authors summarize prior research in educational games, and then discuss their experiences from developing their game. Some of the notable conclusions:
- In a classroom, some students and teachers are eager to use games for learning, but others do not like it. There might be a preference among people for an exploratory style of learning, while others like the traditional explanation and then practice format.
- There was a wide disparity of how much students could grasp. Perhaps due to previous video game experience, some students understood the complexities of the simulation, while others did not. Are these first two conclusions related?
- Visual storytelling was very effective for engagement in the game. A necessary ingredient though was having the players choices affect the outcome. The player quickly realized when their decisions didn’t change the story, and they lost interest.
- How the teacher framed the game and reflected on the game’s lessons had a huge impact on how well students transferred their understanding to the real world.
You can read the paper here: