avatar for Cinzia Cervato

Cinzia Cervato

Iowa State University
Morrill Professor
Ames, IA
POSTER TITLE: E-MISSION: a text-based game to learn about creating a sustainable future

THEME: Educational tools and interventions

AUTHORS: Cervato (1), C., Briggs (2), S., Crawford (3), R., Nadolny (1), L., Pringle (2), J., & Robinson (2), Z.

(1) Department of Geological & Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011
(2) School of Geology, Geography & Environment, Keele University, UK
(3) Falmouth University, UK
Contact: cinzia at iastate.edu

Globally one third of people play games, mostly digital ones, on smartphones, tablets, or computers. Extensive research shows that games developed with the intent to achieve specific learning outcomes are effective at addressing the cognitive, affective, motivational, and sociocultural aspects of learning. 

E-MISSION is a text-based game about environmental challenges and creating a sustainable future (https://tinyurl.com/v7wueln). Set in 2050 in a Museum of Environmental History, it engages participants in a series of puzzles designed to uncover clues linked to the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The initial goal of the game is to increase awareness of lifestyle choices on global carbon emissions. The research goal is to study whether online games can develop and assess sustainability literacy and competencies in undergraduate students in a transnational context. 

Prototype testing took place in fall 2019 at two US and UK research institutions. A total of 83 sessions were recorded with 47 participants completing the pre-game play questionnaire and 37 participants completing the post-game play questionnaire. Playing E-MISSION developed knowledge and awareness of the SDGs, enabled participants to connect food to carbon emissions with intentions to change their diet, and increased their feelings of being able to tackle climate change. 

This poster describes the game layout, shares the results of pilot testing, and outlines plans for further game development to make it a useful tool to test the impact that game-based learning has on students’ sustainability literacy. 

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