Role-playing games is a useful tool to learn and teach current legal regulation and biosafety of biotechnology to undergraduate students

Jose Maria Becerril, Paula Ugarte Lucas, Iñaki Beguiristain, Daniel Docampo, Asier Galarza, Lucia Gandarias-Albaina, Daniel González, Ainhoa Palacios, Sofia Porras, Eneko Suárez, Antonio Hernández

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review


Some active methodologies, as role paying games, are more usual learning tools in Humanities and Social Sciences than in Sciences disciplines. Essential issues as genetically modified plants (GMO-plants), included in the curricular program of Plant Biotechnology, deals with social aspects and regulatory frameworks. GMO-plants is a controversial issue that needs be addressed from a broad and multidisciplinary point of view to reflect opposed interests and benefits involved. This topic has connections with Agronomy, Biochemistry, Genetics, Ecology, Environmental & Human Health, Economy, Ethics, Politics & Regulatory Framework, Sociology and Public Opinion.

In such scenario, we proposed a role paying game to students of Plant Biotechnology, as an innovative educational action to increase active role of students in the learning process of this discipline, increase their critical thinking, social commitment, creativity, self-learning, oral communication, and enjoyment. The study was conducted with a group a 10 volunteers students of the discipline Plant Biotechnology of the Grade of Biotechnology of the University of the Basque Country. The students performed a representation in front of the other students of the class assuming the following roles: an expert in biotechnology, a director of a plant transgenic company, a director of an organic agriculture company, an agriculture legislator, a representative of the Food Security Agency, a representative of FAO organization, an environmental activist, a sociologist, and a consumer representative. Finally several aspects of the activity were analyzed individual and collectively by the students and professors involved on the activity.

In this study we analyzed and discussed:
(i) positive or limitation aspects of this methodology, as a useful tool to learn;
(ii) discussed topics during the performance about Biosafety Concerns and Regulatory Framework of Transgenic Crops;
(iii) evaluation of acquired knowledge and educational competencies after the role play game;
(iv) other important learning topics as motivation, improvements from the point of view of students/ professors and empathy, and
(v) implications for the use of role playing games in other Science disciplines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7859–7868
Number of pages10
JournalINTED2017 Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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