From Traditional to Game-Based Learning of Climate Change: A Media Comparison Experiment

Daniel Fernández Galeote, Nikoletta Zampeta Legaki, Juho Hamari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Widespread climate change engagement is needed to confront our current environmental crises, but it remains difficult to attain. Methods such as visualizations and experiential learning activities, including games and gamification, have been proposed to engage citizens beyond what generic and one-way information sharing can, but rigorous studies comparing the effects of game-based learning with traditional methods are rare. Therefore, this study investigates the effects of a serious game vs. control on learning outcomes related to climate change concepts. We conducted an experiment involving N=105 participants randomly assigned to two treatment groups (a desktop screen-based video game and an immersive VR version of the same game) and a control (a text with charts) and investigated the differences between pre- and post-intervention measures of knowledge. The results show that all three conditions had a large effect on learning, but there were no significant improvement differences between groups. Therefore, video games, either on desktop or virtual reality, may be as effective as more traditional instructional materials. Based on detailed observations of the questionnaire data, we also provide game design recommendations. Future studies could focus on specific features of learning and cognitive engagement and expand this experimental design to affect and behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Article number393
Pages (from-to)503-525
Number of pages23
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sept 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • climate change engagement
  • controlled experiment
  • environmental sustainability
  • game-based learning
  • gamification
  • immersive virtual reality
  • serious games
  • vr

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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