Computer Games to Teach Ethics?

Government Executive has a fascinating article about the use of computer games to teach federal employees about contracting.  The article mentions a Dec. 18 solicitation from the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service and goes on to explain:

The games must allow users to branch out on different paths based on decisions they make rather than each decision being simply rated “right” or “wrong,” the agency said. Users should also receive some reward, such as earning points, for decisions that result in a successful contract.“

Virtual environments allow the user to make mistakes in a risk-free setting through experimentation and at the same time keep the users engaged,” the solicitation stated.

The solicitation lists numerous government-built games the designers can use as partial models, including the Centers for Disease Control’s Solve the Outbreak app and Charge!, an Android game in which players use the Federal Acquisition Regulations to outfit secret agents with tools to battle “a nefarious evil genius who is out to take over the world.”

Let’s hope the agency or agencies who commission similar games for ethics training have enough foresight to draft their contract specifications broadly enough so that the end product will be readily adaptable for government-wide use.