Gamification in Sustainable Development

by Alexander Ischenco

Gamification is a concept of applying game design and mechanics to a non-game context. This is a psychology- and motivation-based approach used in many areas (education, entrepreneurship, innovation, research, etc.) to increase the motivation, engagement and contribution of the target audience, as well as achieve the necessary results through their active involvement. For instance, in this article you can read about how gamification is applied to research in various domains of science.

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In the Moldovan Environmental Governance Academy (MEGA), we use the concept of gamification in education and research on environmental management and sustainable development. We apply the game design and tools – principles of behavioral economics, PBL (points, badges and leaderboards), storyline, engagement and progression loops, etc. – to motivate young people to participate in learning about the environment and contribute to research on how to make our country, Moldova, a green, clean and sustainable place. Nowadays, we test their application in environmental education for pupils in Moldovan schools within the project G.R.E.E.N. (Garbage Recycling and Environmental Education Nationwide). The first stage of this “education and learning experiment” has been completed in the capital city of Moldova, Chisinau. You can see how it was performed in the following video (in Romanian):

The inputs and feedback from the tests within G.R.E.E.N. are going to be used to create the unique online experience in education and research on the topic of environmental management and sustainable development. This Game with Impact will be designed as a learning, connecting and impact-creating platform that offers “players” the opportunity to complete special “missions” representing concrete case studies and research work offered by public and private institutions in need of research and impact results. The platform will also feature tools and opportunities for its users to learn about environmental entrepreneurship and launch their own green startups. You can see the initial draft design of the Game with Impact HERE.

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In order to make this initiative happen, we have engaged in collaboration with UC Berkeley within its Master of Development Practice (MDP) program. Within this collaboration MEGA provides internships in Moldova for 4 MDP graduate students this year to contribute to creating and releasing the Game with Impact and in this way learning about gamification in sustainable development in a developing country in practice.

If you are one of the MDP students interested in this opportunity, then do check the conditions and Job Description for each internship position HERE.

And if you are just interested in applying the concept of gamification in your environmental management and sustainable development, then you are always welcome to contact us at mega.moldova@gmail.com.

Let’s move towards sustainability! And let’s do it in a fun way!

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Sources:

1. Mashable, 2014. Topics: Gamification.

2. The Guardian, 2014. How online gamers are solving science’s biggest problems.

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