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Improving environmental outcomes with games: an exploration of behavioural and technological design and evaluation approaches


de Salas, K and Ashbarry, L and Seabourne, M and Lewis, I and Wells, L and Dermoudy, J and Roehrer, E and Springer, M and Sauer, JD and Scott, J, Improving environmental outcomes with games: an exploration of behavioural and technological design and evaluation approaches, Simulation & Gaming, 53, (5) pp. 470-512. ISSN 1046-8781 (2022) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2022 The Authors

DOI: doi:10.1177/10468781221114160


Background To overcome the high failure rate of gameful interventions, we need to better understand their design and evaluation strategies to build an evidence-base for best-practice approaches that bring about meaningful change. This systematic review asks: ‘What behavioural and technological design and evaluation theories and approaches are applied in games developed to bring about positive environmental outcomes?’. Method We reviewed 52 papers published between 2015 and 2020 that used gameful interventions to improve behaviour related to environmental outcomes. These papers were analysed to review the behavioural and technical design, and the assessment and evaluation approaches, employed by the intervention designers. Results We found that these publications report on simple aspects of the behavioural and technical design behind the intervention but fail to justify their design choices in terms of theory and evidence. Furthermore, variability across their evaluation approaches and outcomes exists. Discussion This review highlights several systemic flaws in the literature that limit our understanding of gameful interventions in the pro-environmental context. First, based on this review, we cannot be convinced that these interventions were designed according to best practice for intervention design or for technology development. Second, the justification for proposing a gameful intervention is not always clear. Finally, it is unclear whether these interventions are being evaluated based on best practice. Thus, it is not clear that we can draw confident conclusions about evidence-based outcomes of short-term engagement (in structural gamification interventions) or long-term behaviour change (in content gamification and serious game interventions).

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:serious games, gamification, behaviour change, pro-environmental outcomes, systematic review, gameful intervention
Research Division:Information and Computing Sciences
Research Group:Graphics, augmented reality and games
Research Field:Serious games
Objective Division:Information and Communication Services
Objective Group:Media services
Objective Field:Animation, video games and computer generated imagery services
UTAS Author:de Salas, K (Associate Professor Kristy de Salas)
UTAS Author:Ashbarry, L (Miss Louise Ashbarry)
UTAS Author:Seabourne, M ( Mikaela Seabourne)
UTAS Author:Lewis, I (Dr Ian Lewis)
UTAS Author:Wells, L (Dr Lindsay Wells)
UTAS Author:Dermoudy, J (Dr Julian Dermoudy)
UTAS Author:Roehrer, E (Dr Erin Roehrer)
UTAS Author:Springer, M (Dr Matthew Springer)
UTAS Author:Sauer, JD (Associate Professor Jim Sauer)
UTAS Author:Scott, J (Professor Jenn Scott)
ID Code:151090
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Information and Communication Technology
Deposited On:2022-07-17
Last Modified:2023-04-20

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