Are video games the future of sustainable tourism education?

May 14, 2018

Paradise lost: Maya Bay, made famous by the Leonardo DiCaprio film 'The Beach' was closed due to damage caused by too many tourists.

Murdoch University research on digital game-based learning has won the award for Best Paper at the 2018 ASEAN Tourism Research Association Conference.

Play-based learning is increasingly forming a large part of educating today’s learners who have grown up in the digital age.

Games like World of Warcraft, SimCity, Minecraft and Portal 2 have been recognised for their ability to engage and entertain while granting the user knowledge and problem-solving skills.

Based on this idea, Dr Eunice Tan and Mr Yohei Okamoto from Murdoch University’s School of Arts examined how simulation games could be used in teaching tourism sustainability.

“Tourism can bring many benefits to a country including job creation, infrastructure development, economic prosperity and a global awareness of social and cultural issues,” Mr Okamoto said.

“But there’s also the dark side of tourism which can mean locals are negatively impacted by increased pollution and waste, damage to nature and resources, elevated crime and higher costs of living

“One such example is the temporary closure of the Thai beach made famous by the Leonardo DiCaprio movie The Beach due to damage to coral reefs and ocean life caused by the influx of tourists.”

Dr Tan and Mr Okamoto created and implemented a digital simulation game for a Tourism unit which will survey student perceptions as part of the ongoing research project.

The game immerses the user in a story-rich virtual world which allows for safe experimentation without the fear of real-life consequences.

“Through role playing, creating an identity and doing ‘quests’, the game stimulates thought and self-reflection about the impact of their choices,” Mr Okamoto said.

“It even goes deep enough to make them question their own moral and ethical standpoints in order to make informed decisions towards creating a more sustainable world.

“Games are a powerful learning tool because they are highly engaging and relatable. There is a wealth of research on the effectiveness of digital game-based learning but a dearth of information in the context of sustainability education – and this is what our research seeks to investigate.”

Read the award-winning conference paper iPlay, iLearn, iConserve: Digital Game-based Learning for Sustainable Tourism Education here from page 32.

Print This Post Print This Post

Comments (One response)

ANDREW TAGGART May 16, 2018

wonderful recognition for our Arts scholars skills building applied research apps to connect with tourism markets.

Leave a comment

You can use these tags : <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

We read every comment and will make every effort to approve each new comment within one working day. To ensure speedy posting, please keep your comments relevant to the topic of discussion, free of inappropriate language and in-line with the editorial integrity of this newsroom. If not, your comments may not be published.

Thanks for commenting!