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The Dos and Don'ts of Game-based Materials Teaching: A Case Study

Dr Cecilia Berlin | Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden

The Dos and Don'ts of Game-based Materials Teaching: A Case Study

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Recent increased global interest in game-based learning has led to the development and application of numerous serious games in many fields including materials science. This is partly due to games' abilities to engage players, illustrate complex systems, and provide risk-free settings to learn. Serious game use in education holds great potential, but its execution, especially in the creation and use of such games, does not come without challenges. This presentation addresses the complexity and limitations of developing and applying serious games by presenting an insightful case study follow-up to the 2013 Materials Education Symposium speech "Exploring Sustainable Design and Material Criticality through a Game-based Approach." IN THE LOOP is a serious game specifically created to increase students' awareness of material criticality, sustainable development, and business-related challenges. After a recent playing session of IN THE LOOP with master students in Production Engineering at a technical university in Sweden, students were tasked with writing reflection essays about their perceived learning experience. A qualitative document study of the received essays showed that many students found the game an appealing way to learn and gain insight, but the reflections also pointed out useful gameplay-related issues that could hamper student satisfaction and the efficacy of absorbing the game's message. While the case provided invaluable feedback for IN THE LOOP's own development, reflection on this experience can lend valuable observations and learning applicable to any educator looking to create or implement game-based learning techniques in their classroom.