118: Using games to teach about collective action and the commons with Eric Klopfer

In this episode, Michael speaks with Eric Klopfer, the chair of the department of Comparative Media Studies and Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT. At MIT Eric is also the director of the Scheller Teacher Education program as well as the Education Arcade.

Eric is a leader in the space of game design for education. He recently co-authored a book on the subject: Resonant Games, Design Principles for Learning Games that Connect Hearts, Minds and the Everyday. During the conversation, Eric discusses games as an example of experiential learning and emphasizes the importance of combining a game exercise with reflection, which is where the real learning happens through what Eric calls an action-reflection cycle.

Eric and Michael also discuss the game that originally led Michael to speak to Eric: a simulation of the tragedy of the commons in a fishery, which Eric led the development of. In addition to this episode, Michael discusses his implementations of this game in a recent blog post on the In Common website. You can find more about this game and Eric’s work at this web address:



Klopfer, Eric, Jason Haas, Scot Osterweil, and Louisa Rosenheck. 2018. Resonant Games: Design Principles for Learning Games That Connect Hearts, Minds, and the Everyday. MIT Press.