Academics and students from Swansea University have used experiences and knowledge of the Covid-19 pandemic to develop an interactive and innovative game.
Aimed at 15 to 18-year-olds, Trust the Experts shows school pupils how expert knowledge can influence crucial decision-making processes.
Players take on the role of a newly-elected Prime Minister of Aberdemic, a fictional European country, only to find out that they are facing the onset of a deadly global pandemic.
With key decisions to be made, such as whether to close the country's borders and how best to communicate with the country's population, players will be given advice from a range of academics from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, who will help guide their thinking.
As the game progresses, players will see how their decisions affect a variety of metrics, such as the country's happiness index, trust in the government and state of the nation's health.
In addition to reflecting on the socio-political difficulties faced by world leaders over the past year, the game has been designed to help students with key study skills, such as analysing contradictory information from various sources.
Jen McBride, MSc Strategic Marketing student and Trust the Experts Project Manager, said: "The game is an exciting and innovative way for school pupils to engage their critical thinking and analytical skills. It will also hopefully open their eyes to how studying the humanities and social sciences can impact people's lives, both at a local and global level."
Trust the Experts was developed with grant funding from HEFCW and built in conjunction with Big Lemon, an app development company in South Wales.
The game has already soft-launched in a small number of partner schools, with positive feedback from both teachers and pupils.
One school said: "The game has a great design with an intuitive interface that makes accomplishing tasks easy and understandable. It’s a very effective tool for developing decision making skills."
Through the development of this ground-breaking initiative, the University is inspiring the next generation of young school pupils and providing valuable work experience to undergraduate and graduate students.
Dr Joanne Berry, one of the lead academics within the Trust the Experts team and Associate Professor of Classics, Ancient History and Egyptology, said: "The project has proved to be a terrific opportunity for some of the University's brightest and best students, allowing them to get an authentic experience of the real-world work environment, but within the safe embrace of a university setting."
Sophie Legg, BSc Business Management (Marketing) student and Project Manager for PR and Marketing, said: "Working on this project has been an invaluable opportunity as part of my extra-curricular activities, to advance my experience in developing marketing communication strategies that have enabled me to grow confidence in my marketing abilities."
A comprehensive Teacher's Pack is also being developed by the faculty, giving teachers advice on how to incorporate the game into their curricula.