Playing Political Science - Leveraging Game Design in the Post-Secondary Classroom


  • Mikael Hellström



The Multiplayer Classroom describes how a course in computer game design can be based on the same structure as a computer game (Sheldon 2012). Students play this game through the entire term. Sheldon also had students take on roles based on Bartle’s taxonomy of player types (Bartle 1996), leveraging it to structure group work and accommodating different learning types.

During the Winter term of 2015, I taught two courses in Political Science at the University of Calgary: Topics in Comparative Politics in the Industrialized World and Introduction to Public Administration. Having previously leveraged gamification principles in teaching extensively (Hellström 2015), operationalizing Sheldon’s design was a logical next step. This paper describes that effort, including challenges and opportunities for how Sheldon’s design can be used. The design requires a complete change in the point of departure for the course, from the implementation of Bartle’s Taxonomy, to how the curriculum is presented to the students through potentially asynchronous game events rather than through the linear structure of the classic lecture series.

These techniques will be familiar to those who are acquainted with computer games or live action role-playing (larp). The paper will also include some reflections on potential for future research in terms of how game-based learning could enhance the post-secondary political science classroom.



2016-12-02 — Updated on 2023-05-17


How to Cite

Hellström, M. (2023). Playing Political Science - Leveraging Game Design in the Post-Secondary Classroom. International Journal of Role-Playing, (6), 39–45. (Original work published December 2, 2016)