Figure 1 - uploaded by Stephan Franciosi
Content may be subject to copyright.
Screenshot of Energy City ; used with permission of Jason Learning 

Screenshot of Energy City ; used with permission of Jason Learning 

Source publication
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Studies suggest that simulations and games not only improve target language skills, but they can also support knowledge creation regarding a broader variety of topics. Thus, we wanted to explore how playing an online simulation game affected knowledge of energy supply and its relationship to environmental and economic factors among learners of Engl...

Context in source publication

Context 1
... paper presents the content learning outcomes of using a simulation game, Energy City (Jason Learning), in four English as a Foreign Language classes taught by the principal investigator in a content-based instructional framework at a Japanese university. The principal investigator used a simulation game in the courses because a growing body of empirical data strongly suggests that simulations and games can improve knowledge of a variety of educational content (e.g. Clark et al., 2011) as well as foreign language skills (Peterson, 2013). Thus, a game seemed ideal for integrating content and language instruction. The principal investigator chose the topic presented in Energy City —energy generation and conservation strategies in an urban setting—because (1) it is relevant in post-Fukushima Japan (Aldrich, 2013), and (2) simulations and games may be effective tools for educating people on issues related to climate change (Eisenack & Reckien, 2013). However, we were uncertain what, if anything, the students were learning about the topic from playing the game. We believed this to be problematic, particularly in the case of politically-charged topics such as energy and conservation strategies in Japan. Therefore, we wanted to explore the learning outcomes of playing Energy City in terms of information, knowledge and attitudes that may influence their behavior in the broader socio-cultural and political context. We conducted a qualitative analysis of debriefing reports submitted by students after playing the game. The analysis revealed themes that could provide some indication as to what the students learned about energy and conservation strategies. In this paper we present these findings and outline research goals going forward. The target population of the present study was comprised of students in four mandatory English as a Foreign Language courses at a Japanese university ( n =67). Most of the students were male (84%), first-year students (57%) from the school of science (46%) or engineering (31%). We adopted Energy City (Jason Learning) as the core lesson material in the present study (Figure 1). The object of this simulation game is to plan and implement a virtual city’s energy and conservation strategies in order to maintain an adequate energy supply while not imparting excessive damage to the environment. We used a debriefing report for the game as the data collection medium. The report was authored in a Google Form generally following the guidelines set forth by Kriz (2008) . Specifically, the report consisted of four prompts as follows: How did you feel after playing the game? What happened in the game? What did you learn from playing the game? How can you apply what you learned in real life? In all, 92 reports were submitted with a total word count of 6,132 and an average response length of 26 words. We performed a qualitative analysis of the debriefing reports using the coding schedule shown in Table 1, which is based on the taxonomy of outcomes proposed by Kraiger, Ford and Salas (1993) . We further sub-categorized the text based on emergent themes within the larger taxonomy. We found evidence of each learning construct for this type of outcome, as shown in Table 2. We further found that the emergent themes in the text were well aligned with major concepts introduced in the game, such as strengths and weaknesses of various energy generation technologies. We found evidence of each learning construct for this type of outcome. The results are summarized in Table 3. Notably, several of the students expressed positive attitudes toward the use of nuclear power plants, and even the intention to advocate for their use. This result was unexpected in that we assumed an overall negative attitude toward nuclear power in the general population (Aldrich, 2013). Overall, we found that the emergent themes collectively accounted for all major elements of the Energy City game. The students reported new understanding of planning and implementing an energy strategy, including the crucial role of financial resources, the nature of various energy generation technologies, and the importance of environmental health. Notably, the students were also able to think critically about the game itself, recognizing that it can provide new perspectives while distinguishing it from reality. Further, the data indicate two affective outcomes in particular that deserve further exploration. First, an apparent support of nuclear energy was notable in a socio- cultural context of strong scepticism toward this technology. Second, students expressed motivation to adopt energy-saving consumption behaviors. We believe results related to attitudes toward nuclear power generation and energy consumption behavior are of primary interest because of the current energy supply situation in post-Fukushima Japan. However, because the present study is qualitative, and because we did not measure attitudes prior to playing Energy City, we cannot determine whether playing the game persuades learners to change their perspectives regarding this topic—either negatively or positively—in a manner that is statistically significant. Therefore, the principal investigator intends to design a survey based on the present results to gather quantitative data on perspectives regarding nuclear power generation and conservation behavior. The purpose of the present study was to explore the learning outcomes of playing the Energy City simulation game. In particular, we were interested in discovering whether learners using the game gained knowledge of energy and conservation strategies in an urban setting, and whether playing the game influenced attitudes and motivation regarding the topic. We conducted a qualitative analysis of debriefing reports that students completed after playing the game. We found evidence of both cognitive and affective learning outcomes, and that these outcomes were closely related to the main themes represented in the game. Specifically, learners reported a greater understanding of energy generation technologies, and motivation to modify their behavior to address the current energy situation in ...

Citations

... The present study seeks to clarify findings from a previous investigation. The author reported in Franciosi and Mehring (2015) qualitative evidence of cognitive and affective learning outcomes in an exploratory study of Energy City, a climateaware game. The authors conducted a content analysis of written debriefing reports completed by students after playing the game, and were surprised by an emergent theme in support of nuclear energy. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
A B STR A C T Scholars have suggested that games and simulations can be created to educate players on global climate change issues, thereby engendering popular support for policies to mitigate anticipated negative effects. However, while there is ample theory, anecdotal and indirect empirical evidence to support this notion, direct evidence of the extent and manner that gameplay may influence perceptions of environmental issues would better inform the design and implementation of such games. Hence, this paper reports the findings of a mixed-methods investigation of Japanese university student perception change toward nuclear energy as a result of playing a game that simulates urban energy generation. The purpose of the study was to follow up on a prior study by collecting longitudinal quantitative data. This was collected with a survey administered both before and after playing the game, and qualitative data was additionally collected by analysing written debriefing reports completed by participants after gameplay. Results indicate a moderate shift from a neutral to a positive perception of nuclear power's relative advantage and compatibility in Japan. The author concludes that games and simulations can be used to influence perceptions on issues related to climate change, but that care should be taken in the design and implementation to achieve a desired effect among learners.
Article
As part of a final project for a general psychology course, students were required to play a game, either digital/video or on a board. Students selected their own games, and were asked to identify psychological principles in their game play. Topics included the brain, sensation and perception, human development, learning, motivation, intelligence, personality, and mental disorders. Students successfully applied all topics to game play, but to varying degrees. Student discussions on the brain and intelligence were well covered. Discussions on personality and psychological disorders issues were relatively poor. Students were able to make connections between concepts and their game-play experiences.