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Action Learning: Game-Based Learning Materials

Learning Theories of Games

Good video games (like contemporary research in the Learning Sciences) challenge us to truly integrate cognition, language, literacy, affect, and social interaction in our ideas about learning and the organization of learning inside and outside schools.

--James Paul Gee, “Learning Theory, Video Games, and Popular Culture” (2007)


From the artists at the Bauhaus school of design to contemporary researchers like James Paul Gee and Jane McGonigal, games and game-based learning have provided teachers with engaging and empowering strategies for mastering key skills that including critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration. More recently, educators have adapted elements and principles of games--gamification--like Missions and badge systems to increase student incentives and creating a continuous learning experience. Below are videos and web-resources for both game-based learning and gamification.


General Resources:

James Paul Gee’s video on Principles of Gaming

Reality Ends Here video

Gaming Can Make a Better World


Gamification Resources

The Teacher’s Guide To Badges In Education

7 Things You Should Know about Badges by Educause.

Credly allows teachers to create badges, upload their own designs, and give credit through their platform.


Classcraft is a free online, educational role-playing game that teachers and students play together in the classroom. By using many of the conventions traditionally found in games today, students can level up, work in teams, and earn powers that have real-world consequences. Acting as a gamification layer around any existing curriculum, the game transforms the way a class is experienced throughout the school year. Watch this short introductory video.


Game-Based Learning Resources

Reality Ends Here (REH) was an educational game that utilizes collaborative card decks as a means of motivating students to collaborate on real projects (and products). Here is Wired’s article on REH as well as a description by the designer, Jeff Watson.Reality Ends Here (REH) was an educational game that utilizes collaborative card decks as a means of motivating students to collaborate on real projects (and products). Here is Wired’s article on REH as well as a description by the designer, Jeff Watson.



CleanStart is a live, web-based simulation where participants play the role of the founder of a new startup company in the exciting and competitive clean tech sector. The goal is to allow players to experience the challenges of building a startup company in a demanding competitive environment, including financial, human resource, strategic and other decisions.


Solar Simulation is a live web-based simulation where participants play the role of senior management at SunPower, a leading firm in the solar photovoltaic industry. The game simulates the solar PV industry as described in the SunPower case study. The goal is to allow students to experience interactively the challenges of pricing and strategy in a market with significant learning curves, knowledge spillovers, and the potential entry of new competitors with radical new technologies.


Civics, Law, Political Science:

iCivics is a non-profit organization dedicated to reinvigorating civic learning through interactive and engaging learning resources. Our educational resources empower teachers and prepare the next generation of students to become knowledgeable and engaged citizens.

Founded and led by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, iCivics provides students with the tools they need for active participation and democratic action, and teachers with the materials and support to achieve this. These games include One Big Party and Win the Whitehouse.



Patient Rescue is a proof of concept for a game that supports health professionals to recognise the signs of patient deterioration, use set protocols to assess a patient's condition and intervene effectively.

HumanSim provides “enhanced initial, refresher, and sustainable medical education and training. Virtual Heroes is creating HumanSim by taking the most advanced digital game technology available and integrating it with a high-fidelity physiologic-pharmacologic model and dynamic virtual human technology (DVHT) for unprecedented experiential learning.



Fold It is a revolutionary crowdsourcing computer game enabling you to contribute to important scientific research focused on proteins.


Humanitarian and Environmental:

Darfurisdying is narrative-based simulation was created in 2006 to put you in the shoes of a displaced Darfurian refugee.


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