Relative Advantage of Digital Games

Any digital game can be an addition to the curriculum especially if they include the elements of Keller’s ARCS motivational design model.These elements are attention, relevance, confidence and success (Keller, 1987). It is up to the individual teacher to evaluate whether the game they are choosing are providing these four elements.

In a principles of marketing class there are three areas where there is a distinct relative advantage to using digital games.

Supply Chain

Marketing channels and supply chain management is an integral part of any introductory marketing course. For students to understand marketing channels and supply chain they need to understand a system. Diagrams and text do not provide the system understanding that is necessary for students to identify  feedback loops and interrelationships. The relative advantage for games and simulations is that when students play a game they are able to see the causality of their action and the impact on the system rather than reading about  it or having a teacher lecture or tell them the correct answer.


Types of economies are introduced to students in a variety of classes to include social studies, economics and business courses. The advantage of using a game or simulation that has an economy, no matter what form it is, allows the student to see the dynamics of the system. Students can make predictions, act on their predictions and get immediate feedback.In this respect, using games and simulations with economies allow students to do be more than passive consumer of digital content and instead become actively involved in their learning (Office of Educational Technology, 2016). Since economic systems are likely to have been introduced, using a game allows the teacher to activate prior knowledge and also do what has been called stealth assessment (Office of Educational Technology, 2016) where students become so engaged in the activity that they are not aware that both formative and summative assessment is taking place.


In marketing, gamification or the “process of using game thinking and mechanics to engage audiences and solve problems” (Zicherman & Linder, 2010) is a content topic in consumer behavior. This makes using gamification and giving students the opportunity to explore and play in different gamification platform a relative advantage over just having students read about it. Gamification also provides students to become actively involved and investigate “engagement, brand loyalty and brand awareness” (Lucassen & Jansen, 2014).


Keller, J.M. (1987). Development and use of the ARCS model of instructional design. Journal of Instructional Development, 10, (3), 2-10.

Lucassen,G. & Jansen, S. (2014) Gamification in consumer marketing – Future or fallacy?, Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 148, 25 August 2014, Pages 194-202, Retrieved from

Office of Educational Technology, U.S Department of Education (2016). Future ready learning: Reimaging the role of technology in education. Retrieved from

Zichermann, G., & Linder, J. (2010). Game-Based Marketing: Inspire Customer Loyalty Through Rewards, Challenges, and Contests. Wiley.



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