WAGES (Workshop Activity For Gender Equity Simulation): A Model for the Development of Theoretically-Grounded Online Gaming Environments

Stephanie Shields Headshot

COIL is proud to have supported the WAGES (Workshop Activity for Gender Equity Simulation): A Model for the Development of Theoretically-Grounded Online Gaming Environments project through our Research Initiation Grant Program.


This project bridges a significant gap between theory and practice in the design of innovative learning technologies. Games designed by researchers are theoretically grounded, but rarely translate to practice, whereas instructional games developed by designers do not have the benefit of theory to support the types of interactions that lead to deeper learning experiences. Our project will examine and document the process of using existing theoretically-grounded and tested non-computing games as prototypes for the design of serious online games. Specifically, we will translate an existing board game,

WAGES, to an online multi-player learning environment and articulate how the proposed technology addresses synthesis of empirical research, educational theory, and design. Using existing data on WAGES we will model common interactions between players, moving beyond simply replicating the existing game to create new forms of interaction afforded by the digital environment. For example, the multi-player version of WAGES will support modifiable game rules and chats during game play. After gameplay, the system will also support individual reflective assessments and an “explore the cards” feature allowing players to see how game cards connect to research via multi-media links. Our team will disseminate papers proposing heuristics for the development of high quality educational gaming environments.


  • Stephanie A. Shields, Professor of Psychology & Women’s Studies, College of the Liberal Arts, Penn State University Park
  • Marcela Borge, Assistant Professor of Education, Learning & Performance Systems
  • Graduate Research Assistant


Stephanie A. Shields
Department of Psychology
514 Moore Building
University Park, PA 16802
(814) 863-1729

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