Understanding the urgency and complexities of the energy transition trough serious gaming

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: To have sustainable societies, we need to accelerate the energy transition towards clean energy solutions, however, awareness and understanding of the process is still limited, especially among young people. In addition, the topic
has mainly been approached from an engineering angle, ignoring the social challenges: lack of public support for solar farms and large wind turbines could stop the need to act. An optimal balance considering the point of view from all parties involved is out of sight without a focus on social structures and a dialogue among all parties. In this context, universities have a critical role to play: these institutions build capacity through the development of new knowledge, new understanding and new insights, and can therefore provide effective solutions to complex societal challenges. In search of innovative approaches to reach young people, whose communicative paradigm has become more interactive and participatory, the use of serious gaming in formal education is gaining attention among scholars and practitioners: they can foster skills and abilities, contribute to content development of complex issues by integrating insights from different disciplines, and permit learning experiences that are not possible in real life. In this paper, we introduce “We-Energy Game”, which aims to create understanding on the urgency and complexities in the provision of affordable energy from renewable sources for an entire town. During the game, players negotiate, from their respective roles, which energy source they want to employ and on which location, with the goal to make a village or city energy neutral. Then, we present findings from a pre-test and posttest completed by a hundred university students in The Netherlands to analyze the effects of the game on players awareness and understanding. Results reveal positive outcomes on awareness, as well as understanding of the complexity of energy transition and the importance (and difficulty) of collaboration among stakeholders.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 18th European Conference on e-Learning ECEL 2019
EditorsRikke Orngreen, Mie Buhl, Bente Meyer
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International Limited
ISBN (Electronic) 978-1-912764-41-9
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2019


  • serious games
  • energy transition
  • education


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