Articles  |    |  September 27, 2019

Moral reasoning in peer conversations during game-based learning: An exploratory study

Article by Robyn Ilten-Gee and Lacey J. Hilliard. Published in The Journal of Moral Education.


This mixed-methods study is an exploration of fifth and sixth grade students’ interactions with an online game called Quandary, a comic-book-esque game aimed at stimulating ethical decision-making. Building on the domain-based moral education framework, researchers designed and implemented a short-term intervention in three classrooms in which students played an episode of Quandary in pairs. Students’ pre- and post-test reasoning assessment responses were coded for reasoning levels and coordination types. Conversations between 12 student pairs were recorded during game-play. We coded their speech for transactive discourse. We focus on two pairs of students that engaged in sophisticated transactive discourse; we discuss the potential of their interactions and demonstrate the potential of Quandary as a catalyst for moral discussion. Implications for informing innovative approaches to moral education are discussed.