What Can Systems Thinkers Learn from Educational Game Studies?

January 15 (the third Monday of the month, a little later in a new year) is the 117th meeting for Systems Thinking Ontario. The registration is on Zoom, via an announcement at https://systems-game-studies.eventbrite.ca

'Learning' is a central focus for systems thinkers. Whether it’s an attitude, a feature of a system, or an outcome. 'Learning' runs through systems thinking. So what might systems thinkers learn from games that are designed for, well, learning?

Enter “Educational Game Studies”, an emerging field that focuses on how games and their systems can inform the public about various issues. From simulation design to classroom tools, educational games try to make sense of various topics through interactive devices. Knowledge is baked into design, and learning is created through interaction establishing an engaging back and forth between user and subject matter.

In this session, we’ll host Scott DeJong in conversation with Geoffrey Hill about Educational Game Studies and its connections to systems thinking. The duo will discuss the field of Game Studies and its practices, connection points to systems thinking and cybernetics, and insights from the field about how people, and systems, learn.


Scott DeJong is a PhD candidate in Communication studies at Concordia University studying educational game design, play, and disinformation. His FRQSC funded dissertation work studies disinformation, educational game design, and serious play. Scott’s research blends research-creation practice with traditional methods to study the gaps and challenges between disinformation sharing practices and current media literacy games. His work has led to the creation of escape rooms, board games, various design workshops and membership in labs including the mlab, the Technoculture Arts and Games institute (TAG), and Machine Agencies.

Geoff Evamy Hill has a passion for game design that activates critical futures thinking through interaction with playable system models. He has worked in the domains of postsecondary education, energy, natural resources and national security where he has used games as a tool. Geoff’s research interests include hybrid collective intelligence, economic calculation and coordination problems, and ecological economics. Geoff holds a Master of Design in Strategic Foresight & Innovation from OCAD University and a Bachelor of Knowledge Integration from the University of Waterloo. He has also studied fine art at the Alberta University of the Arts.


Suggested pre-readings: 


Post-meeting artifacts

Bloggers are encouraged to write about their learning and experiences at the meeting. Links will be added to this page.