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HKS Authors

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Abstract

This study presents the results of a quasi-experiment (N?=?254) conducted over the course of ten weeks in Spring 2016 to assess the effectiveness of a game platform designed to facilitate political engagement, attention, efficacy, knowledge, and participation among college students. Results indicate positive effects of game play on several key dimensions of political engagement, including voter registration, virtual political participation (following a candidate on Twitter, liking a candidate on Facebook, and watching debates), and consumption of public affairs information (including National Public Radio (NPR), non-NPR political talk radio, and online news aggregator sites). In addition, game play provided significantly greater benefits to students with the lowest rates of political knowledge and engagement at baseline. Overall, participants reported high rates of game satisfaction, with 79% of participants reporting being very to somewhat pleased if they were asked to play the game again. These results are discussed in terms of the implications for civics education, pedagogy, and political engagement among young people.

Citation

Young, Dannagal G., Matthew A. Baum, and Duncan Prettyman. "vMOBilize: Gamifying Civic Learning and Political Engagement in a Classroom Context." Journal of Political Science Education (May 2019): 1-23.