Engineers at Play: Games as Teaching Tools for Undergraduate Engineering Students

Cheryl A. Bodnar, Daniel Anastasio, Joshua A. Enszer, Daniel D. Burkey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

165 Scopus citations


Background: Many students may not respond strongly to instruction that they do not perceive as engaging. One pedagogical approach to help engage students involves the use of games. Educational games can provide students with a motivating and stimulating environment while providing them with immediate feedback to promote learning. Purpose: This systematic review examines research focused on the implementation of games to teach undergraduate engineering students; it summarizes prevailing features and cites examples from a variety of engineering disciplines. Scope/Method: The systematic review was conducted through a detailed search of Science Direct journals and the Scopus, Web of Science, Compendex/Inspec, and ERIC Education Research Abstract databases using terms pertinent to games in engineering education. A total of 191 papers was included after application of the inclusion/exclusion criteria. After screening those to determine if assessment of student learning outcomes was performed, 62 papers were found suitable for more detailed analysis. Conclusions: Research on the implementation of games in undergraduate engineering classrooms has shown that, despite diverse forms of assessment applied, there is a general trend that both student learning and attitudes are improved by game-based activities. However, since only a relatively small subset of the literature demonstrates a systematic, validated approach in assessment, significant opportunities remain for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-200
Number of pages54
JournalJournal of Engineering Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • General Engineering


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