HiST, Sør-Trøndelag University College (NORWAY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 4022-4026
ISBN: 978-84-617-2484-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain
This article reports on experiences gained in a three week project at Sør-Trøndelag University College, Trondheim, Norway (HiST). The aim of the project was to explore the effects of implementing applied digital game-based learning in English foreign language education (EFL) and Social Sciences training with a focus on democracy, ideology, economy and politics. A further aim was to situate this in a digital learning environment at HiST, using digital SMART Boards, and observe the learning process.

The game employed, Democracy 3 ( is a political simulator in which the player, upon assuming the highest political office in his country of choice, has to administer economy, infrastructure, education and the day-to-day political administration of his country. While doing so, he will have to monitor the electorate and his own cabinet in order to ensure successful implementation of his policies and reelection.

This complexity mirrors actual political realities and this makes the game an apt tool for education. In the one subject, Social Sciences, political ideology and economy are central components, as is the dissemination of democratic attitudes and values. In the other, EFL, reading, speaking and conversation skills are as fundamental as a contextual and cultural understanding of the countries in which the language is used. Because of this, a collaborative, cross-curricular project using Democracy 3 would meet several subject goals, but also allow innovative learning and a motivating, concrete approach to abstract concepts.

The group consisted of approximately 45 students from the preparatory course for engineering studies at HiST. These were formed into groups and instructed to select an English speaking country and a political ideology which they were to follow throughout the simulation. This ideology could agree with or run counter to the preeminent one in the country of their choice, but all their decisions had to be taken in accordance with that ideology. During this process, the students were to monitor the economy, which was to be the arena in which political ideology clashed with political reality. The working language in the discussions and the final report was English, providing not only language skills training but also an introduction to academic and political terminology and lingo.

This article will present the pedagogical and methodological experiences and conclusions drawn upon completion of the project, with special attention to the intersection between the application of digital game content, method and subject goals.
Game-based learning, Digital Learning Labs, Cross-curricular training, Collaborative learning.