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Education for sustainable development through business simulation games: An exploratory study of sustainability gamification and its effects on students' learning outcomes

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Gatti L., Ulrich M., Seele P.
Journal Article
Education for sustainable development (ESD) is gaining increased attention in tertiary education. According to the literature, ESD affects not only the content of education, but also its process and outcomes. This requires a new learning culture based on participative processes and new teaching techniques. Among the different methods and techniques as typologized by Figueirò and Raufflet (2015), action and experiential learning methods offer a promising approach for teaching sustainability. However, no previous studies have empirically addressed the effects of this approach on sustainability learning outcomes. For this reason, with the objective of understanding the potentials and limitations of such methodology, this paper presents an exploratory study of a teaching experience based on the action and experiential learning approach, and in particular on the simulation game technique. A pre-game and post-game survey were developed to evaluate the students' learning experience of a business game focused on sustainability (napuro). The study was carried out at two universities in Switzerland. The results suggest that the action learning approach, and in particular, simulation and gaming, may successfully generate cognitive and affective learning outcomes which in turn may affect students' development of critical thinking skills. In addition, the study suggests the central role of motivation in influencing students' learning outcomes. The game seems to be more effective in influencing the student's expertise in the subject and their attitudes toward sustainability when the student records a high level of motivation to attend the course and interest in the subject before the game
Journal of Cleaner Production
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