Reflections on ten years of using economics games and experiments in teaching

Jonathan Guest*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In this paper, the author reflects on his 10 years’ experience of using games and experiments and in the process develops a type of practitioner’s guide. The existing quantitative and qualitative evidence on the impact of using games on student learning is reviewed. On balance, a positive effect, on measures of attainment, is found in the literature. Given these findings, it is surprising that there is also evidence in the UK and US that they are not widely used. Some factors are discussed that might deter tutors from employing them. Unsurprisingly, one of these is the additional cost, which might make the use of online games seem more attractive, given the way results can be automatically recorded. However, some relatively low-cost paperbased games were found to have significant advantages. In particular, they appear to facilitate social interaction which has a positive impact on student motivation and learning. One popular and effective paper-based game is discussed in some detail. A number of recommendations are provided on how to implement the game in order to maximise the learning benefits it can provide. Some ideas on how to maximise the learning benefits from using games more generally are also considered.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1115619
JournalCogent Economics and Finance
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2015

Bibliographical note

© 2015 The Author(s). This open access article is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution
(CC-BY) 4.0 license.


  • Active learning
  • Economic games and experiments
  • Economic tools for teaching
  • Learning by doing
  • Online vs. paper-based games
  • Public good games
  • Voluntary contribution mechanism


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