A study evaluating the effectiveness of game design and development in promoting sustainable and pro-environmental behaviours amongst higher education students

Hannah C. Kelly
University of Lincoln
April 2022

Abstract

Globally, exponential population growth has increased public demand and pressures on natural resources, and consequently, terrestrial, biological and human ecosystems have suffered. Therefore, it is important that people understand the impacts they have on the environment and to encourage them to adopt more sustainable and pro-environmental behaviours. To accomplish this, there has been an emphasis on educating future generations through Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) within the National Curriculum using unique ways of capturing student engagement such as through Game Based Learning. However, as students’ progress through the education system the incorporation of, and engagement with, ESD diminishes. Therefore, this article examines and evaluates the effectiveness of game design and development in learning about and promoting sustainable and pro-environmental behaviours in Higher Education (HE) students.

In 2020, University of Lincoln third year Geography students were tasked with creating an environmental game based on an environmental issue of their choice. Upon completion of the game designs, the students were surveyed to ascertain whether the game design and development process deepened their knowledge and understanding of environmental issues and as such impacted their sustainable and pro-environmental behaviours. Results indicate that most of the students found the creativeness and uniqueness of the assessment style to be engaging and that, to some extent, the game design and development assessment did positively impact their sustainable and pro-environmental behaviours. This article adds new empirical insights into the ways in which game design and play can contribute to encouraging pro-environmental behaviour in HE students.

Author profile

Hannah Kelly studied BSc Geography at the University of Lincoln and graduated in 2021 with a First Class honours degree. This piece of research was undertaken between June 2020 and December 2020 for her third-year dissertation and was supervised by Dr Theresa G. Mercer and Dr Andrew P. Kythreotis.

Correspondence address: hannah.kelly1999@icloud.com

Keywords

education for sustainable development, higher education, sustainable behaviours, pro-environmental behaviours, game based learning, game design, game development

A study evaluating the effectiveness of game design and development in promoting sustainable and pro-environmental behaviours amongst higher education students by Hannah C. Kelly is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Creative Commons Attribution

Based on a work at geoverse.brookes.ac.uk.

Original Papers - GEOverse
ISSN 1758-3411
Editor-in-Chief: Professor Helen Walkington

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