Scholars, educators, and media designers are increasingly interested in whether and how digital games might contribute to civic learning. However, there are three main barriers to advancing understanding of games’ potential for civic education: the current practices of formal schooling, a dearth of evidence about what kinds of games best inspire learning about public life, and divergent paradigms of civic engagement. In response, this article develops a conceptual framework for how games might foster civic learning of many kinds. The authors hypothesize that the most effective games for civic learning will be those that best integrate game play and content, that help players make connections between their individual actions and larger social structures, and that link ethical and expedient reasoning. This framework suggests an agenda for game design and research that could illuminate whether and how games can be most fruitfully incorporated into training and education for democratic citizenship and civic leadership.
Raphael, C., Bachen, C., Lynn, K-M., Mckee, K., & Baldwin-Philippi, J. (2010). Games for civic learning: A conceptual framework and agenda for research and design. Games and Culture, 5, 199-235.