The Ethics Game: A Mixed Methods Examination of Learning Outcomes Using Games


  • Richard A. McConnell U.S. Army Command and General Staff College
  • Kenneth Long U.S. Army Command and General Staff College
  • Steven Boylan U.S. Army Command and General Staff College
  • Andrew Thueme U.S. Army Command and General Staff College
  • Morgan Cornstubble Barton Community College


Researchers at the Command and General Staff College (CGSC) conducted a mixed methods examination of the effect of introducing the experiential learning practice of playing an ethics game on student grasp of ethics information indicated through personal growth/self-awareness. The literature examined for this study established that ethics instruction can be challenging and sometimes viewed as overly scholarly rather than practical and applicable in daily life. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to measure participants personal growth/self-awareness if they played an ethics game versus received ethics instruction through a case study methodology. The test group consisted of 62 students with the control group of 63 totaling hundred and twenty-five participants. The test group played an ethics game where they used ethical concepts to solve four moral dilemmas whereas the control group used one case study to gain a deeper understanding of the ethical concepts. Although both methods of instruction were shown to be effective, findings established to a statistically significant level that the test group experienced a greater level of personal growth/selfawareness than the control group under certain conditions as a result of the treatment. These findings may be applicable not only to military but other contexts where leaders endeavor to choose appropriate ethical solutions to morally ambiguous problems.