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eFieldbook – Collaborative Design in Extension to Explore Game-Based Learning

Educational games can be an innovative way for Extension educators to teach content to any given audience. Educational games have the potential to transform learners of different ages through unique experiences with interactive media. Unfortunately, game development can be costly in terms of time and budget. The process to design and develop an educational game requires an interdisciplinary and collaborative team, and can take from several months to a couple of years, depending on the game’s complexity. While many in Extension have an interest and passion for using and designing games, the process may seem intimidating to Extension professionals, especially those without experience in game design.

The NMSU’s Learning Games Lab team, in collaboration with content experts from University of Connecticut (UConn) Extension, created a game prototype, “Unpeeled: The Case Files of Maya McCluen,” (learn more about the game). To design this prototype the team used a collaborative and budget-friendly modified game jam, which can be completed in a few weeks. The combined teams have published a new eBook detailing their process, with suggestions to others wanting to jam on their own educational game ideas.

Figures 2-4: Screenshots from the game, “Unpeeled: The Case Files of Maya McCluen”

The modified game jam process articulated by the team is an alternative to full game design, in which game developers, content experts, and Extension educators collaborate to design a game prototype.

The published eFieldbook shares this modified game jam process, focusing on content experts and other Extension educators who are interested in designing and researching educational games. It includes specifics on how the team used the model—including process, time, and budget—and provides recommendations on how the game jam structure can be used by others who want to explore game design without the full commitment of a complete game build.

Who can benefit from this ebook?

Content experts in Extension who are looking for new approaches to bring content to their clientele are the main audience for this eFieldbook. The eFieldbook will help Extension educators to:

  • understand how collaboration between game developers and content experts leads to the design of educational games and media;

  • explore an instructional design process for refining educational goals for game design;

  • reflect on ways that game prototypes can be used to inform future game development; and

  • receive recommendations on how to use the modified game jam model in their own work.


Cezarotto, M., Stearns, S., Cushman, J., Connolly, C., Ricard, R., and Chamberlin, B (2021). Collaborative Design in Extension: Using a Modified Game Jam to Explore Game-Based Learning (1st ed). Kansas City: Extension Foundation. ISBN: 978-1 955687-08-9

To learn more about our products and design process contact:

Barbara Chamberlin, PhD

Interim Department Head

Extension Educational Media Specialist


Written by: Matheus Cezarotto, Ph.D, Post Doctoral Researcher


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