'All they do is win': Lessons learned from use of a serious game for Circular Economy education

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper aims to explore how learning about Circular Economy (CE) may be facilitated through the use of the serious game In the Loop. Despite the growing literature base related to CE, academic reflection on education for a CE is currently limited. In the Loop was developed to provide an experiential learning situation for educating about material criticality and CE. This study reflects on the use of the game with engineering students pursuing higher education. Seventy-one reflections, written after students played the game, were qualitatively coded through the use of a-priori coding. This paper presents the findings from analysis of four themes: Gameplay, Systems Thinking, Material Criticality, and Realism/Real World Connection. Use of the game encouraged students to think holistically and reflect on material criticality. Students highlighted the importance of adopting strategies, including CE concepts, to address resource challenges, with many reflecting on how their own actions and abilities could play a role. Moreover, the study suggests In the Loop has broader relevance than engineering education alone and appears to confirm previous research on the benefits of using games to facilitate systems thinking.


External organisations
  • Chalmers University of Technology
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Environmental Management


  • Circular economy, Higher education, Material scarcity, Serious games, Systems thinking
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-345
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Early online date2017 Jul 24
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch