Game-Based Learning in Engineering Education

Darling, Jos; Drew, Ben; Joiner, Richard; Iacovides, Ioanna and Gavin, Carl (2008). Game-Based Learning in Engineering Education. In: EE2008: International Conference on Innovation, Good Practice and Research in Engineering Education, 14-16 Jul 2008, Loughborough, UK.


The new generation of undergraduates entering UK higher education have grown up with computer games of ever increasing sophistication. In this educational project a race game, Racing Academy, was developed to investigate how game technology and gaming communities could enhance undergraduate engineering education. The computer game embodied the principles of engineering dynamics to simulate and display in real time a car drag race in which students ‘designed’ their car by selecting an engine, tyres and gearbox from a set menu. The aim was to complete a set course in the minimum time and graphically display the dynamic performance in order to better understand the engineering system. The students and staff involved in this project provided extensive feedback on the exercise and identified the visual nature of game-based learning software as a positive feature that helped illustrate engineering dynamics. Game-based learning communities, organised around tutor groups, were seen as an excellent way of encouraging an element of competition in a small non-threatening environment while discussion forums based around Moodle provided efficient support for the large group of 160 students. Finally, learning through ‘doing’ in a game environment was proven to be a successful method of illustrating physical phenomena.

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