UNSW Business School academics, Dr Alberto Motta and Dr Isabella Dobrescu were honoured for their outstanding contribution to student learning at the Australian Awards for University Teaching.

Through their LionsHeart Studio, Dobrescu and Motta developed an interactive video game in an attempt to make the fundamentals of economics fun and appealing for students. The ‘Playconomics’ game gives challenges to students within a simulated world, and the decisions made have economic and social consequences.

The first of its kind - the gamified economics course debuted in July 2014 as a side project. However, in 2015 it had rolled out to three universities and to more than 4000 students as an introduction course to microeconomics.

“When we gamified 10% of the course, the final exam marks increased roughly by 10% and all types of students benefitted. These results encouraged us to gamify the entire course. The educational impact has been simply outstanding. We have never seen anything like it,” Motta says.

At the ceremony, Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham cited Alberto and Isabella for “leadership and innovation that has transformed the teaching of economics, inspiring multidisciplinary first-year students via immersive experiential learning and empowering them to succeed.”

Three other UNSW lecturers received Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning as part of the 2016 awards.

Read more about Playconomics here.