30 ONLINE 20 A, Climate Change Education - Part 1
Paper Session to be continued in 30 ONLINE 21 A
MeetingID: 862 1733 6952 Code: UCWmg2
We present the prototype of a serious game (SG) dealing with nitrogen emissions in pig farming. The prototype was developed by a consortium of five partners and is intended for prospective and experienced livestock farmers as well as other interest groups. Big in size and globally growing, the pig farming sector requires effective emission reduction measures for climate protection (FAO, 2017; Gerber, Henderson, Makkar, 2013; UBA, 2014). Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) occurring along the supply chain, as well as adverse effects on ozone concentrations need to be considered. The input of reactive nitrogen compounds to air and water, such as nitrates (NO3-), ammonia (NH3) and ammonium (NH4+), and nitrites (NO2-) severely endanger human health, biodiversity and the integrity of ecosystems. In this regard, the transfer of scientific knowledge into practice, communicated through education and training, is a meaningful challenge. The digital educational game pigNplay tries to integrate the different conditions, obstacles and risks people may face. Due to the time horizons extending into the next decades that have to be taken into account, real future developments and possibilities of influence remain difficult to predict. The complexity of the issue suggests that ready-made solutions alone cannot do, but emancipatory action of all acteurs is required.
The development of the serious game can be seen as a contribution within the growing and significant field of climate change education (Mochizuki and Bryan, 2015). SGs offer a strong potential to represent scenarios of complex environmental problems (Reckien and Eisenach, 2013). We strive for a digital game with straight educational purposes in terms of cognitive learning gains combined with a playful and often intuitive access aiming to affect motivation (Wouters et al., 2013) to trigger more climate friendly behavior.
Our aim is to provide a game that facilitates a deeper awareness and understanding of the complex issue of "nitrogen emissions in pig farming" and "adaptation to climate change" in an engaging format that enables prospective as well as experienced farmers to question their own actions and impacts and ultimately assists them in making their work more sustainable. Learning in this sense serves to build agency for dealing with options that exist or can be created in real life. Therefore, we ask:
Which features and design elements are compatible with the expectations of different stakeholders while meeting pedagogical requirements in terms of learning content (a), teaching and learning objectives (b), and learner motivation (c), taking into account both the dimension of play and the dimension of acquisition of knowledge, skills and competencies?
To meet varying demands, a co-creation approach based on the living lab concept (Baedeker et al., 2020; Geibler et al., 2013; Liedtke et al., 2012) was chosen for the development of the SG. Different stakeholders are given the opportunity to influence the game design through surveys, interviews and workshops. In terms of formative evaluation, feedback from stakeholders serves as valuable information for the interdisciplinary team of game developers regarding pre-assumptions made, the choice of teaching and learning objectives, and the achievement of the project’s goals. The opening of innovation processes and the targeted involvement of relevant stakeholders increase the chances to make use of the knowledge of a broader number of actors. In our case, we furthermore link to the expectation that success in the sense of a good acceptance and broad use of the SG can be achieved in this way. The co-creation approach enables a focus on real and practical contexts to generate innovations. For that reason, the Living Lab approach is becoming increasingly important in innovation practice and sustainability research (Schäpke et al. 2018).
Whenever learning is linked to the expectation that it will have an impact on learners' mindsets and actions, educators need to go beyond presenting mere factual knowledge. Learning environments and methods need to foster specific competencies in sustainability (Brundiers et al., 2021; Rieckmann, 2018) like systems thinking, anticipatory competency, normative competency or critical thinking. Therefore, eliciting acceptance of responsibility and willingness to act appear indispensable. Learners' attitudes and values play an important role. This is quite typical for many fields of education for sustainable development (ESD). (UNESCO, 2017) To bring together theory and practical demands, we draw on taxonomies of educational objectives (Bloom et al., 1956; Krathwohl et al., 1964). Consequently, cognitive teaching and learning objectives were formulated for the area of feeding in pig fattening, measures of barn construction as well as the storage of manure resulting from animal husbandry and its spreading as fertilizer. For the socio-emotional domain (UNESCO 2017), evaluation displays following game interactions (scores) offer the possibility of raising awareness of conflicting interests, value-based decisions and their reflection. In order to effectively stimulate learning while playing the game and to achieve a high level of motivation, preferences of future users (educators and learners) as well as other important actors within the field of action were identified. To this end, co-creation workshops were conducted and their impact on the game design was subsequently reflected back to the future users. For the SG’s development, both objectives and methodologies of education for sustainability as well as a participatory living lab approach were applied. We integrate a number of dialogue formats, e.g. focus groups. Important game-design questions such as “Which options for action are available to the player?” and “What movements and interactions does the game offer him or her?” could thus be addressed. Furthermore, the prototype of the serious game will be tested in agricultural learning contexts such as teaching at vocational schools and in a university course. Beyond the target group of (vocational) students, the SG is intended to support experienced farmers in self-determined learning. To this end, the SG pigNplay simulates the complex topic of nitrogen cycles in pig farming. The German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) is funding the two-year development and testing phase (Grant number 35488/01).
Players of the pilot game will be able to test measures to reduce climate-damaging emissions in a virtual environment. By employing the underlying empirical data and models for time frames, they will be able to better understand the actions’ potential. This way, the dissemination of effective, yet hardly established climate-friendly measures and practical techniques of pig farming can be supported. Educators can use the game to encourage learners to consider other perspectives besides economics: critical ecological and social consequences and preserving ecosystems for future generations. Using a realistic simulation, the prospect of different futures is possible while retaining the element of uncertainty (Rieckmann, 2018). Using a complementary approach, we seek to promote behavior along fixed climate protection and sustainability goals (ESD 1) and provoke critical thinking (ESD 2) (Vare, Scott, 2007). The overall aim of the game is to enable and motivate users to develop climate-friendly strategies on their own. Together with future users - educators as well as learners - and experts in the field we identified areas of learning, themes, game features, quests and a storyline that fits the initial conditions and challenges and allows us to build up identification by means of likable characters and credible interaction opportunities. SGs have a strong potential to represent scenarios of complex environmental problems (Reckien and Eisenach, 2013). On the other hand, the strategies and success of co-creation game development have been sparsely studied (Katsaliaki and Mustafee, 2015). When inquiry is conducted simultaneous to the conception and development process of digital educational games, conditions favoring SGs to fulfill their purpose in ESD can be detected. If such knowledge is shared and discussed internationally, potentials for optimizations can be identified with regard to serious game development and the findings can be transferred to other areas of climate education.
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