The NYU Games for Learning Institute (G4LI), a collaboration between seven partner universities with support from Microsoft Research, is dedicated to advancing the design, use, and evaluation of computer games in formal and informal educational settings. The Institute works to provide fundamental scientific evidence of "what works" in games for learning - what makes certain games compelling and playable, and what design elements make games educationally effective. The results provide critically important information to researchers, game developers, and educators, and point the way to a new era of using games for educational purposes.
The general research strategy of the G4LI has three prongs: understanding the design principles that make effective educational games; innovative research methods to study the impact of digital media on learning; and integration of these materials into both classrooms and informal learning settings. The initial focus is on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education at the critical learning point of the middle school years (grades 6-8).