Game-based learning has huge potential to build skills required in real pig farming

New research indicates that game-based learning in agricultural education could reduce piglet mortality
calendar icon 4 December 2018
clock icon 2 minute read

Authors Karl Johan Møller Klit, Ken Steen Pedersen and Helle Stege


Acquisition of knowledge and skills by agriculture students prior to real-life experience is a well-known educational challenge. Game-based learning has the advantage of being active, experiential, and problem-based, and provides immediate feedback. Simulation games are widely used in other fields to support traditional teaching methodology and actively engage students. This study investigates whether a digital pig farm game can assist agriculture students in acquiring knowledge and skills in farrowing management to reduce mortality in piglets prior to weaning.


Overall the simulation group tended to score higher; however, at five percent confidence level, the difference was not significant. The simulation group had the lowest standard deviation which to some extent was due to reduced number of low-scoring students. Nevertheless, students requested more digital simulation for learning and practising skills.


The use of game-based learning in agricultural education has a huge potential for building skills needed on a real pig farm. However, an increase in knowledge related to farrowing management was not documented.

The integration of game-based learning into an educational setting needs further evaluation.

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Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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