Game Design as a Complex Problem Solving Process

Document Type

Contribution to Book

Publication Date


Publication Title

Handbook of Research on Serious Games for Educational Applications (Advances in Game-Based Learning)




Problem solving is one of the most essential skills for individuals to be successful at their daily lives and careers. When problems become complex, solving them involves identifying relationships among a multitude of interrelated variables, to achieve multiple different possible solutions. Teaching Complex Problem Solving (CPS) skills in formal education contexts is challenging. In this research, we examined if through an innovative game-design course middle school students improved in their CPS skills. Our results showed that students showed significant improvements in their CPS skills, especially in terms of system exploration, t(10) = 2.787, p = .019; system knowledge, t(10) = 2.437, p = .35; system application, t(10) = 2.472, p = .033. In addition, there was a statistically significant change in students' interest for CPS after attending the GDL program, t(6) = 3.890, p = .008. We discuss implications regarding use of game-design tasks as contexts to teach CPS skills in formal and informal educational contexts.