Serious Cooperative Board Games as an Innovative Approach in a Study Abroad Course in Peru

Serious Cooperative Board Games as an Innovative Approach in a Study Abroad Course in Peru

Stewart Bauserman, Lan Jin, John W. Sheffield, Michael Mattingly
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3796-1.ch011
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The chapter describes how creating and playing a serious cooperative board game to address energy sustainability in a study abroad course provides an opportunity for students to collaborate in culturally diverse teams and develop intercultural competence. Learning leadership skills through the method of Agile Game Play, including team building, communication, and cooperative interaction for a global benefit, is shown to be effective. The serious cooperative board game can be seen as not merely an interactive support tool, but as a method to generate innovative, people-centered, approaches that can be applied to efforts in global energy sustainability and policy making. Creating and playing a serious cooperative board game offers a new approach for a student in any field of study to learn cooperative leadership skills for global benefit in a short amount of time.
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Background And Significance

By incorporating a method where the learners create a game together, they are placed in a learning environment that would not have occurred by only playing a game. Design and development are processes that allow the learners to think together as they begin to make decisions together. One of the significant reasons for using a serious cooperative board game design and development as a teaching tool during a study abroad program is that cultural differences become evident as the learners build their relationships and start to place effort on cooperation.

In the study abroad program in Peru, the students were given the task to create their own game. All of the work was created and developed without the use of power. The students worked outside using daylight to create the game using simple tools. The participating students were given a blank game board, markers, blank playing cards, and blank game pieces. The challenge the students were given was to create a way to introduce Hydrogen into the transportation system in Peru to address energy sustainability. The students decided to focus on a game that introduced the players to the volatility of the energy market in Peru. As hoped for, the needs and desires of the host students were cooperatively incorporated into the rules and expected outcomes of the game.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Agile Game Play: Instead of presenting learners a game that is designed to teach certain skills, the learners are presented with the challenge of creating a game that embodies the desired skills, and then playing it.

Serious Cooperative Game: A game where the learners have to cooperate rather than compete with each other to solve real problems.

Debrief: Discussion of Creation and Play and the new skills obtained.

Gamification: The process of adding game like elements to something to encourage participation.

Empathy: Putting oneself in someone else’s shoes to learn the experiences and issues the other faces.

Energy Sustainability: In this chapter, the context for energy sustainability was partially focused on the Water, Energy, and Food Nexus (WEF Nexus) which advocates for the sustainable management of those resources.

Leadership: The ability to achieve the appropriate balance between subjective and objective needs in order to make the best decision in any given situation.

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