Are games an effective method for teaching conservation?
4 May 2018
Public Engagement - case study
We need to protect our environment and conservation education explains why. To better engage students with conservation, games have become increasingly used. However, we know little about the effects of games on teaching.
Led by Dr. Cedric Tan, a team of researchers from WildCRU and Nottingham University (Malaysia) conducted a study on the effects of game on conservation teaching. Cedric created over 10 conservation games, each reflecting a real-world environmental scenario and involves complex decision-making. These are known as experiential games where students learn from the experience of playing. The researchers tested these games on students of an annual Wildlife Conservation Course and of the annual Recanati-Kaplan Diploma in International Wildlife Conservation Practice. They also tested the effects of supplemental games, ones that have no meaningful interaction with the topic taught and compared these effects with that of the traditional teaching method.
“We found several benefits of experiential games, from increased engagement to increased attention span, to increased motivation, interest and social bonding among peers, when compared to the traditional teaching method. Such games also appeal to a wide range of personalities and learning styles” said Cedric Tan. The degree of learning was no different between games and traditional teaching methods. Further, they showed that supplemental games were better than traditional teaching in some aspects but were not as good as experiential games.
“We hope that our experiential games could be used as to stimulate the wider public’s interest in biodiversity conservation and to foster collaborations among conservationists in both NGOs and governmental organizations” said Cedric.
We also interviewed our 2018 Oxford Diploma students about they think about learning with games.