The act of collaborative problem solving (with players or NPCs) can greatly increase the effectiveness of a player’s learning experience.


Imagine a simulation puzzle game in which players are seeking to help a forest recover from deforestation. Players can have distinct, meaningful roles that enable them to see and interact with different parts of the ecosystem, and they must use those skills to determine why parts of the forest are unhealthy. By piecing observations together, players may discover that the issue is due to poor water quality caused by pollutants. Players may then agree to petition for stronger regulations that can influence the factory responsible to change its operations. By working together, players can gain enough signatures, achieving their goal.



To learn new concepts or gain deeper insight into existing ones, we build mental models of how we think those concepts are structured. Collaboration can encourage players to re-evaluate patterns and relationships in their worldview. 

Thinking about a shared problem from multiple viewpoints encourages individuals to make changes to their own deeper thought processes and preconceptions (Jeong and Chi, 2000).


  • The importance of in-game collaboration is grounded in the learning principles of constructivist theory, which states that people create knowledge – rather than being “taught”. Social constructivism puts knowledge creation in the context of social experiences, theorizing that we build knowledge together as a community (rather than as individuals in isolation).
  • To be effective, collaboration must be in pursuit of a solution to a problem situated in an environmental context. 

From the Environmental Game Design Playbook
– by IGDA Climate SIG