Design Innovations

As a professor committed to supporting social change and advancing theory about the process, my scholarship moves beyond offering explanations of what is and additionally leverages design work to create new possibilities of what could be—all in applied contexts so that the work directly supports actual change.

Grounded in situative models of knowing and a sensitivity towards ecosystem integration, this work positions designs less as “bounded products” and more as “impact services” that are continually optimized by participants in ways that best support them in realizing their particular impact goals.

My designs have spanned from individual lessons, to isolated units, to complete courses, to online communities, to its current focus on entire ecosystems. This design work strives for seamless integration of bounded experiences (e.g., games where players can fail safely, receive embedded assessment, and have consequentiality in the confines of a fictional world) and larger, flexible ‘meta-game’ structures and affinity spaces that foster user-driven extensions and adaptations in support of their real-world goals and outcomes.

While using these designs to test and revise theory is one motivation for this work, the most gratifying moments of my career has involved watching these innovations be used, adapted, and re-constituted by youth worldwide to improve the quality of their life. At its core, this work is driven by the belief that ALL individuals should believe that the time they invest in learning will allow them to be and do great things.

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About Sasha A. Barab PhD

Sasha Barab is a Professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University, where he co-founded and serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Games and Impact.

Dr. Barab is an internationally recognized Learning Scientist who holds the Pinnacle West Chair of Education, and who has researched, designed, and published extensively on the challenges and opportunities of using games for impact.

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