Literature news

International Journal of Serious Games Vol 2, No 3 (2015)

Papers Super User 29 Sep 2015


Ortiz et al., [1] examine the effects of using serious games for training on task performance and declarative knowledge outcomes. Results of the study offered support for the potential of serious games to be more effective than traditional methods of training when it comes to task performance.

Doumanis and Smith [2] investigate the employment of embodied conversational agents (ECAs) in serious games. The paper presents a framework for research in gamified mobile-guide applications using ECAs and synthetizes the results of six empirical studies conducted within this research framework, also providing design guidelines for effective gamification of mobile guide applications. Results show that an ECA can positively affect the quality of the player’s experience, but it did not elicit better player retention of cultural narratives and navigation of routes.

Kastronova and Knowles [3] present a case study of how a board game can be modified to generate a serious game, arguing that board games are an interesting medium for serious games, especially when the goal is to teach players about particularly complex systems. The authors show how a few major changes to the original game’s point systems, as well as removal of certain extraneous features, can significantly improve the game, adding an instructional value.

Van der Kooij et al. [4] investigate the validation of Games for Behavioral Change, particularly considering and connecting the playful and serious aspect intrinsic in a (well designed) serious game. They present and use the Persuasive Game Design model to connect game design features, such as the gamification method and the intended transfer effect, to factors that determine the conclusion validity of an RCT. The goal is to offer game designers and researchers handles on how to develop tailor-made validation methods.


Picca et al. [5] have made a review of the employment of Natural Language Processing (NLP) in serious games. They investigate the modality of employment, the type of algorithm and the purpose for different actors interacting in the serious game (players, trainers, moderators). The authors conclude that there is a wide room for improvement along all the three investigated dimensions.


Get full access to the journal here: IJSG vol2, no 3 (2015)


An activity theory-based model for serious games analysis and conceptual design

Papers Super User 21 Jul 2015

Maira B. Carvalho, Francesco Bellotti , Riccardo Berta, Alessandro De Gloria, Carolina Islas Sedano,  Jannicke Baalsrud Hauge, Jun Hu, Matthias Rauterberg

There are currently a number of models, frameworks and methodologies for serious games analysis and design that provide useful interpretations of the possibilities and limitations offered by serious games. However, these tools focus mostly on high-level aspects and requirements and do not help understand how such high-level requirements can be concretely satisfied. In this paper, we present a conceptual model, called Activity Theory-based Model of Serious Games (ATMSG), that aims to fill this gap. ATMSG supports a systematic and detailed representation of educational serious games, depicting the ways that game elements are connected to each other throughout the game, and how these elements contribute to the achievement of the desired pedagogical goals. Three evaluation studies indicate that ATMSG helped participants, particularly those with gaming experience, identify and understand the roles of each component in the game and recognize the game’s educational objectives.


Computers & Education, Volume 87, September 2015, Pages 166-181, ISSN 0360-1315 doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2015.03.023.

N. Yannier, K. R. Koedinger, S. E. Hudson, Learning from Mixed-Reality Games: Is Shaking a Tablet as Effective as Physical Observation?

Papers Super User 11 Jun 2015

The possibility of leveraging technology to support children’s learning in the real world is both appealing and technically challenging. We have been exploring factors in tangible games that may contribute to both learning and enjoyment with an eye toward technological feasibility and scalability. Previous research found that young children learned early physics principles better when interactively predicting and observing experimental comparisons on a physical earthquake table than when seeing a video of the same. Immersing children in the real world with computer vision-based feedback appears to evoke embodied cognition that enhances learning. In the current experiment, we replicated this intriguing result of the mere difference between observing the real world versus a flat-screen. Further, we explored whether a simple and scalable addition of physical control (such as shaking a tablet) would yield an increase in learning and enjoyment. Our 2×2 experiment found no evidence that adding simple forms of hands-on control enhances learning, while demonstrating a large impact of physical observation. A general implication for educational game design is that affording physical observation in the real world accompanied by interactive feedback may be more important than affording simple hands-on control on a tablet.

Find the full paper here:

CHI ’15 Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Pages, pp. 1045-1054.

Aspects of a field experience in Entrepreneurship Education

Papers Super User 13 May 2015

Aspects of a field experience in Entrepreneurship Education

Autors: Alessandra Antonaci, Francesca Maria Dagnino, Michela Ott, Elisa Lavagnino, Francesco Bellotti, Riccardo Berta, Alessandro De Gloria


This contribution deals with Entrepreneurship Education; in doing so, it draws on the experience conducted in the framework of the EU project “stimulating Entrepreneurship through Serious Games (eSG)” ,where a theoretical model for EE was devised and an innovative working methodology based on Serious Games and gamification was adopted.


Find the full text of the article on Open Education Europe.

Using games to make the process of learning sign language enjoyable and interactive

Papers Super User 27 Mar 2015


Using games to make the process of learning sign language enjoyable and interactive

by Paula Escudeiro*, Nuno Escudeiro*, Rosa Reis*, Ana Bela Baltazar*, Pedro Rodrigues*, Jorge Lopes*, Marcelo Norberto*, Maciel Barbosa**, and José Bidarra*** *Engineering Institute of Oporto, Portugal; **Faculty of Engineering, University of Oporto, Portugal; ***Open University, Lisbon, Portugal


The paper presents a very interesting game that teaches portuguese sign language using data gloves and Kinect.

The player controls a character that interacts with various objects and non-player characters with the aim of collecting several gestures from the Portuguese Sign Language. This interaction is supported by data gloves and Kinect. These gestures can then be represented by the character. This allows the user to visualize and learn or train the various existing gestures.

Read the full paper here.

Forth issue of the International Journal of Serious Games (IJSG)

Papers Super User 20 Nov 2014


With the forth issue the first year of the publication of the International Journal of Serious Games (IJSG) has been successfully concluded.

The issue features the following papers:



Alessandro De Gloria



Assessing 3D Virtual World Disaster Training Through Adult Learning Theory

Lee Taylor-Nelms, Valerie Hill


Multimodality with Eye tracking and Haptics: A New Horizon for Serious Games?

Shujie Deng, Julie A. Kirkby, Jian Chang, Jian Jun Zhang


The Use of Player-centered Positive Reinforcement to Schedule In-game Rewards Increases Enjoyment and Performance in a Serious Game

Aniket Nagle, Peter Wolf, Robert Riener, Domen Novak


Use of Ecological Gestures in Soccer Games Running on Mobile Devices

Valere Plantevin, Bob-Antoine Jerry Menelas


Game-based Training of Listening Skills: The Effects of Degraded Communications

Clint Bowers, Talib Hussain, Katelyn Procci



Investigating the Potential market of a Serious Game for Training of Alzheimer’s Caregivers in a Northern Spain region


Jon Arambarri, Isabel De La Torre-Díez, Miguel Lopez Coronado, Itziar Alvarez

3nd issue of the International Journal of Serious Games (IJSG)

Papers Super User 03 Sep 2014

The third issue of the International Journal of Serious Games (IJSG) introduces a new series of articles about serious game studies. The goal is to develop and support an “engineering” approach, systemizing the studies, allowing comparative analysis and homogeneous data collection. Other scientific and technological articles are also present in the issue.


Alessandro De Gloria


Serious Games to support Reflection in the HealthCare Sector –  Lucia Pannese, Dalia Morosini

Learning Impact Evaluation of the serious game “Cultural Awareness – Afghanistan Pre-deployment” – Alessandra Barbieri, Alessandra Tesei, Agostino Bruzzone, Ion Roceanu, Daniel Beligan


Flow Experience as a Quality Measure in Evaluating Physically Activating Collaborative Serious Games – Kristian J. M. Kiili, Arttu Perttula, Antero Lindstedt, Sylester Arnab, Marko Suominen

Design Principles for Serious Video Games in Mathematics Education: From Theory to Practice – Konstantinos Chorianopoulos, Michail Giannakos



Player-Specific Conflict Handling Ontology – Charline Hondrou, Eleni Tsalapati, Amaryllis Raouzaiou, George Marandianos, Kostas Karpouzis, Stefanos Kollia


Gamification and serious game approaches for adult literacy tablet software

Papers Super User 15 Jul 2014

Kevin Browne, Christopher Anand, Elizabeth Gosse, Gamification and serious game approaches for adult literacy tablet software, Entertainment ComputingVolume 5, Issue 3, August 2014, Pages 135–146.


In this paper, the authors overview the design of tablet apps they have designed and built to teach literacy to adults, and present the results and conclusions derived from experiments performed with target users.

Full paper here.

Learning cultural heritage by serious games

Papers Super User 15 Jul 2014

Michela Mortara, Chiara Eva Catalanoa, Francesco Bellotti, Giusy Fiuccic, Minica Houry-Panchettid, Panagiotis Petridise. Learning cultural heritage by serious games, Journal of Cultural Heritage, Volume 15, Issue 3, May–June 2014, Pages 318–325.



Immersive technologies such as virtual environments and augmented reality have a clear potential to support the experiencing of cultural heritage by the large public, complementing the current tools and practices based on tangible goods such as museums, exhibitions, books and visual content. Serious games – videogames designed for educational objectives – appear as a new tool to learn cultural content in an engaging way. In this paper, we will provide an extensive portrait of the current proposition of serious games in the cultural sector, highlighting the educational objectives of games in this domain and analysing the complex relations between genre, context of use, technological solutions and learning effectiveness. We finally identify and discuss the most significant challenges in the design and adoption of educational games in cultural heritage.

Full article.

Serious Games Go Informal: A Museum-Centric Perspective on Intelligent Game-Based Learning

Papers Super User 15 Jul 2014

Jonathan Rowe, Eleni Lobene, Bradford Mott, and James Lester. Serious Games Go Informal: A Museum-Centric Perspective on Intelligent Game-Based Learning. Proceedings of the Twelfth International Conference on Intelligent Tutoring Systems, Honolulu, Hawaii, pp. 410-415, 2014.


Intelligent game-based learning environments show considerable promise for creating effective and engaging learning experiences that are tailored to individuals. To date, much of the research on intelligent game-based learning environments has focused on formal education settings and training.

However, intelligent game-based learning environments also offer significant potential for informal education settings, such as museums and science centers.

In this paper, we describe FUTURE WORLDS, a prototype game-based learning environment for collaborative explorations of sustainability in science museums. We report findings from a study investigating the influence of individual differences on learning and engagement in FUTURE WORLDS. Results indicate that learners showed significant gains in sustainability knowledge as well as high levels of engagement. Boys were observed to actively engage with FUTURE WORLDS for significantly longer than girls, and young children engaged with the exhibit longer than older children. These findings support the promise of intelligent game-based learning environments that dynamically recognize and adapt to learners’ individual differences during museum learning.

Access to the full paper.

2nd issue of the International Journal of Serious Games (IJSG)

Papers Super User 14 Jul 2014

The second issue of the International Journal of Serious Games (IJSG) is a special issue mostly dedicated to the best papers of the Games and Learning Alliance (GaLA) Conference 2013, held in Velizy, Paris, at Dassault Systèmes.

Editorial – Alessandro De Gloria

Measuring Effectiveness in Digital Game-Based Learning: A Methodological Review – Anissa All, Elena Patricia Nunez Castellar, Jan Van Looy

An Agent Based approach to design Serious Game – Manuel Gentile, Dario La Guardia, Valentina Dal Grande,    Simona Ottaviano, Mario Allegra            

Serious Gaming Analytics: What Students´ Log Files Tell Us about Gaming and Learning – Wim Westera, Rob Nadolski, Hans Hummel   

Evaluating the usefulness of Eye Tracking in Game-based Learning – Kristian Kiili,               Harri Ketamo, Michael D. Kickmeier-Rust 


Collaborative Language Learning in Immersive Virtual Worlds: Competence-based Formative Feedback and Open Learner Modeling – Michael D. Kickmeier-Rust, Susan Bull, Gerhilde Meissl-Egghart


You can find the full papers in open access here.

Psychology, Pedagogy, and Assessment in Serious Games

Papers Igor Mayer 12 Dec 2013

Psychology, Pedagogy, and Assessment in Serious Games

Thomas M. Connolly(University of the West of Scotland, UK),Thomas Hainey(University of the West of Scotland, UK),Elizabeth Boyle(University of the West of Scotland, UK),Gavin Baxter(University of the West of Scotland, UK) andPablo Moreno-Ger(Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain)



Release Date:November, 2013. Copyright © 2014.522 pages.

Inaugural issue of Transactions of the Digital Games Research Association (ToDiGRA)

Papers Jeffrey Earp 08 Aug 2013

Transactions of the Digital Games Research Association (ToDiGRA)

Vol 1, No 1 (2013)

A selection of best papers from the DiGRA 2011 conference in Hilversum, the Netherlands.

Elsevier Computers and Education paper

Papers Arnab, S 08 Jul 2013

A paper on a game that is being rolled out to the schools in Coventry and Warwickshire, UK. This paper discusses the development approach that capitalises on the 4-Dimensional Framework of Learning (4DF), the Intervention Mapping Approach (IM), the GALA’s Learning Mechanics-Game Mechanics Mapping model (LM-GM), and the Mechanics, Dynamics and Aesthetics Framework (MDA). The game has undergone clustered randomized control trials with 505 students.

Paper here:

For citation: Arnab,S., Brown,K., Clarke,S., Dunwell,I., Lim,T., Suttie,N., Louchart,S., Hendrix,M., de Freitas,S. (2013). The Development Approach of a Pedagogically-Driven Serious Game to support Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) within a classroom setting. Computers & Education, Elsevier



Ethical Issues in Developing Serious Games for Health-in four parts

Papers Sylvester Arnab (COVUNI) 02 May 2013

Ethical Issues in Developing Serious Games for Health-in four parts

Ethical Issues in Developing Serious Games for Health-in four parts This four part video presentation, explores the ethical considerations in recording play traces and developing game characters. The content of this presentation was the result of an Oxford e-research centre, Digital Social Research Community funded (ESRC) project.

This project was led by Pirashanthie Vivekananda-Schmidt (Sheffield Medical School) and Daniela Romano (Sheffield Computer Science Department).

For the full paper presenting the research please email

Part 1 of 4: Part 2 of 4:

Part 3 of 4: Part 4 of 4:

WordPress short link


WordPress link

A collaborative GBL approach to improving students’ learning performance in science courses

Papers Elisa Lavagnino (UNIGE) 28 Feb 2013

A collaborative game-based learning approach to improving students’ learning performance in science courses

by: Han-Yu Sunga, Gwo-Jen Hwangb

in: Computers & Education – Volume 63, April 2013, Pages 43–51


In this study, a collaborative game-based learning environment is developed by integrating a grid-based Mindtool to facilitate the students to share and organize what they have learned during the game-playing process. To evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed approach, an experiment has been conducted in an elementary school natural science course to examine the students’ performance in terms of their learning attitudes, learning motivation, self-efficacy and learning achievements. From the experimental results, it is found that the Mindtool-integrated collaborative educational game not only benefits the students in promoting their learning attitudes and learning motivation, but also improves their learning achievement and self-efficacy owing to the provision of the knowledge organizing and sharing facility embedded in the collaborative gaming environment.

ReCALL: special Issue

Papers Elisa Lavagnino (UNIGE) 28 Feb 2013



Volume 24 – Issue 03 – Digital games for language learning: challenges and opportunities – September 2012

We received  free access to a recent special issue of ReCALL, published on behalf of the European Association for Computer Assisted Language Learning – EuroCALL, entitled ‘Digital Games for Language Learning: Challenges and Opportunities’.

To access this issue, I have created a URL that you can use:  http://journals.cambridge.


ReCALL special issue: Digital games for language learning: challenges and opportunities – Frederik Cornillie and Steven L. Thorne and Piet DesmetReCALL, Volume 24, Issue 03, September 2012, pp 243-256doi: 10.1017/S0958344012000134, Published online by Cambridge University Press 26 Sep 2012

Between learning and playing? Exploring learners’ perceptions of corrective feedback in an immersive game for English pragmatics – Frederik Cornillie and Geraldine Clarebout and Piet DesmetReCALL, Volume 24, Issue 03, September 2012, pp 257-278doi: 10.1017/S0958344012000146, Published online by Cambridge University Press 26 Sep 2012

The semiotic ecology and linguistic complexity of an online game world – Steven L. Thorne and Ingrid Fischer and Xiaofei LuReCALL, Volume 24, Issue 03, September 2012, pp 279-301doi: 10.1017/S0958344012000158, Published online by Cambridge University Press 26 Sep 2012

Gaming as extramural English L2 learning and L2 proficiency among young learners – Liss Kerstin Sylvén and Pia SundqvistReCALL, Volume 24, Issue 03, September 2012, pp 302-321doi: 10.1017/S095834401200016X, Published online by Cambridge University Press 26 Sep 2012

Affordances for second language learning in World of Warcraft – Paul S. Rama and Rebecca W. Black and Elizabeth van Es and Mark WarschauerReCALL, Volume 24, Issue 03, September 2012, pp 322-338doi: 10.1017/S0958344012000171, Published online by Cambridge University Press 26 Sep 2012

Multimodal analysis of language learning in World of Warcraft play: Languaging as Values-realizing – Dongping Zheng and Kristi Newgarden and Michael F. YoungReCALL, Volume 24, Issue 03, September 2012, pp 339-360doi: 10.1017/S0958344012000183, Published online by Cambridge University Press 26 Sep 2012


Learner interaction in a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG): A sociocultural discourse analysis – Mark PetersonReCALL, Volume 24, Issue 03, September 2012, pp 361-380doi: 10.1017/S0958344012000195, Published online by Cambridge University Press 26 Sep 2012

Review: Do video games exert stronger effects on aggression than film?

Papers Elisa Lavagnino (UNIGE) 21 Jan 2013

Do video games exert stronger effects on aggression than film? The role of media interactivity and identification on the association of violent content and aggressive outcomes

by: Jih-Hsuan Lin

in: Computers in Human Behavior, Volume 29, Issue 3, May 2013, Pages 535-543



This study investigated whether media interactivity would influence the short-term effects of violent content on audience aggression. The general aggression model, social cognitive theory, and character identification offered the theoretical framework. A random sample of 102 male college students were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: video game playing, recorded game-play watching, or movie watching. The results indicated that video game players (mediated enactive experience) experienced greater increases in aggressive affect, aggressive cognition, and physiological arousal than participants who watched recorded game play or comparable movie scenes (mediated observational experience). The study indicated that media interactivity in video game exacerbated the violent effect on short-term, aggressive responses. Character identification did not mediate the effect of media interactivity on aggression. Future studies should incorporate more comprehensive measures of character identification to investigate inconsistent findings regarding media interactivity and identification.

Review: What do children and adolescents say they do during video game play?

Papers Elisa Lavagnino (UNIGE) 21 Jan 2013

What do children and adolescents say they do during video game play?

by: Fran C. Blumberg, John D. Randall

in: Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, Available online 16 January 2013, Pages



We examined the problem-solving behaviors that 5th, 6th, and 7th graders used to negotiate a novel recreational video game. Students were characterized as frequent or infrequent players and instructed to think aloud during game play for 20 consecutive minutes. Comments were used to make inferences about the students’ problem-solving behaviors while playing. These comments were then linked to game performance. Among all students, the greatest number of comments concerned their actions and game events at a given point in game play. Females made greater reference to strategies for game play and process goals whereas males made greater reference to their evaluations of the game and when they reached an impasse. Among 5th graders, reference to impasse and rules for game play was linked to better game performance; among 7th graders, reference to insight about how to enact a specific move or circumvent an impasse was related to better performance.

Review:Online nephrology course replacing a face to face course in nursing schools’ B.Sc.’s prog

Papers Elisa Lavagnino (UNIGE) 21 Jan 2013

Online nephrology course replacing a face to face course in nursing schools’ bachelor’s program: A prospective, controlled trial, in four Israeli nursing schools

by: Gad Segal, Chaya Balik, Boaz Hovav, Amit Mayer, Violetta Rozani, Isana Damary, Dita Golan-Hadari, Shoshana Kalishek, Rut Khaikin

in:  Nurse Education Today, Available online 15 January 2013, Pages


Online learning is growing rapidly worldwide, especially in the health related sectors such as medicine and nursing. Our trial wished to measure the objective (i.e. final exam results, courseware usage patterns) and subjective (satisfaction) efficiency of online vs. face-to-face learning in a prospective, controlled trial, a first of its kind in Israel.

Materials and Methods

The trial tested a blended online course, teaching introduction to clinical nephrology. The course was filmed and edited into a learning platform to fit computer based learning. 90 nursing students, from 4 bachelor’s nursing programs in Israel participated in the study. The intervention group included 32 students who studied using the online course, accompanied by 3 frontal meetings dealing with technical and content issues. The reference group included 58 students from 3 nursing programs, studying in a traditional face-to-face course.


The final exam results were significantly higher in the intervention group compared with the reference group (9.6 ± 2.57 vs. 8.4 ± 2.72; p < 0.05). Student satisfaction was very high in the intervention group: 97% thought the course was well organized, 100% thought the teacher taught clearly and consistently, 90% thought the teacher encouraged self-thinking,100% thought the teacher used clarifying examples, 91% thought the teaching aids helped the learning process and 97% thought the teaching method contributed to the learning process.

The average usage of the online course was 4:10 h vs. 14 academic hours (10:30 h) in the traditional course. The daily usage habits of the courseware were also followed, indicating that most learning took place between 12 PM and 1 AM, peaking between 5 PM and 7 PM, and dipping between 3 AM and 10 AM.


The online course had higher efficiency compared to the traditional face-to-face course. The subjective feedback of the intervention group proves high satisfaction with online learning.

Review: Developing the Serious Games potential in nursing education

Developing the Serious Games potential in nursing education

by: Odessa J. Petit dit Dariel, Thibaud Raby, Frédéric Ravaut, Monique Rothan-Tondeur

in: Nurse Education Today, Available online 15 January 2013, Pages




Shortened hospital stays, high patient acuity and technological advances demand that nurses increasingly make decisions under conditions of uncertainty and risk (Ebright et al., 2003). With rising trends towards out-patient care, nurses will need to perform complex problem-solving within a dynamic and changing environment for which there is not one clear solution ( and ). The development of sharp clinical reasoning skills, as well as skills in detection, monitoring, investigation and evaluation are therefore essential (Aitken et al., 2002). Yet few nursing students have long-term exposure to home-care and community situations. This is primarily due to scarce human resources and the time-consuming requirements of student supervision (Duque et al., 2008). When students are given the opportunity to experience home-care or community visits these tend to be unstructured leading to wide variations in their competencies. New pedagogical tools are needed to adequately and consistently prepare nurses for the skills they will need to care for patients outside acute care settings.

Advances in Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) offer an opportunity to explore innovative pedagogical solutions that could help students develop these skills in a safe environment. A three-phased project is underway that aims to create and test a Serious Game to improve nurses’ clinical reasoning and detection skills in home-care and community settings. The first phase of this project involves the development of a scenario, the game engine and the graphic design and will be the focus of this paper. The second and third phases will test the Serious Game as an educational intervention and will be reported in subsequent papers.

Review: Gamifying learning experiences: Practical implications and outcomes

Gamifying learning experiences: Practical implications and outcomes

by: Adrián Domínguez, Joseba Saenz-de-Navarrete, Luis de-Marcos, Luis Fernández-Sanz, Carmen Pagés, José-Javier Martínez-Herráiz

in: Computers & Education, Available online 10 January 2013, Pages


Gamification is the use of game design elements and game mechanics in non-game contexts. This idea has been used successfully in many web based businesses to increase user engagement. Some researchers suggest that it could also be used in web based education as a tool to increase student motivation and engagement. In an attempt to verify those theories, we have designed and built a gamification plugin for a well-known e-learning platform. We have made an experiment using this plugin in a university course, collecting quantitative and qualitative data in the process. Our findings suggest that some common beliefs about the benefits obtained when using games in education can be challenged. Students who completed the gamified experience get better scores in practical assignments and in overall score, but our findings also suggest that these students performed poorly on written assignments and participated less on class activities, although their initial motivation was higher.

Review: A Design and Development Approach to Researching OnlineArabicVocabulary GamesLearning inIIUM

A Design and Development Approach to Researching Online Arabic Vocabulary Games Learning in IIUM

in: Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, Volume 67, 10 December 2012, Pages 360-369

by: Muhammad Sabri Sahrir, Nor Aziah Alias


This paper describes the design and development process of an online Arabic vocabulary games learning prototype for elementary learners at the Centre for Foundation Studies (CFS), International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). The effort to produce this learning prototype is an attempt to integrate game-based learning in an online environment, to provide new learning experience for learners who have been through a traditional Arabic teaching and learning methods, and to collect and analyze their feedbacks and responses as the formative evaluation of the prototype. The exploration of the game-based learning prototype potential for use in teaching and learning in real setting by learners and teachers is also among the steps taken to evaluate the practicality of the prototype.

Review: A Collaborative GBL Approach to Improving Students’ Learning Performance in Science Courses

A Collaborative Game-based Learning Approach to Improving Students’ Learning Performance in Science Courses

by:Han-Yu Sung, Gwo-Jen Hwang

in: Computers & Education


In this study, a collaborative game-based learning environment is developed by integrating a grid-based Mindtool to facilitate the students to share and organize what they have learned during the game-playing process. To evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed approach, an experiment has been conducted in an elementary school natural science course to examine the students’ performance in terms of their learning attitudes, learning motivation, self-efficacy and learning achievements. From the experimental results, it is found that the Mindtool-integrated collaborative educational game not only benefits the students in promoting their learning attitudes and learning motivation, but also improves their learning achievement and self-efficacy owing to the provision of the knowledge organizing and sharing facility embedded in the collaborative gaming environment.

Review: Learning and Experience: Teaching Tangible Interaction & Edutainment

Learning and Experience: Teaching Tangible Interaction & Edutainment

By:Keyur Sorathia, Rocco Servidio

in:Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, Volume 64, 9 November 2012, Pages 265-274


This paper shares our learning and teaching experiences carried out during a course of Interactive Communication Project delivered at the Department of Design, IIT Guwahati (India). The course focused on tangible user interaction and edutainment and enrolled diverse mix of undergraduate and graduate students. The course was conducted as a part of academic collaboration between IIT Guwahati, India and University of Calabria, Italy. Although the course was conducted in India, one of the two course instructors conducted lecture and critique sessions from Italy. Parallel sessions of lectures and studio components were conducted during the course. This approach fostered theoretical knowledge and its application through hands-on learning. With a time period of hardly 20 days, students have created novel designs on tangible user interaction and edutainment. We discuss and explain the course details, followed methodology, three student projects, problems and challenges faced delivering the course.

Review: Impact of online instructional game features

Impact of online instructional game features on college students’ perceived motivational support and cognitive investment: A structural equation modeling study

By: Wenhao David Huang, Tristan E. Johnson, Seung-Hyun Caleb Han

in: The Internet and Higher Education – Elsevier

Colleges and universities have begun to understand the instructional potential of digital game-based learning (DGBL) due to digital games’ immersive features. These features, however, might overload learners as excessive motivational and cognitive stimuli thus impeding intended learning. Current research, however, lacks empirical evidences to align game features with their motivational and cognitive support. Therefore, this study explored the relationship among game features, learners’ perceived motivational support, and cognitive investment based on the Theory on Motivation, Volition, and Performance (MVP). Based on 264 college students’ responses after playing an open online instructional game, the finding first revealed three converging factors of DGBL features (game appeal, game involvement, game structure). Second, a structural equation modeling identified a significant model that aligns with MVP theory’s constructs. Future research should develop a consolidated design model to consider all identified empirical relationships in order to support efficient digital game-based learning.

Pedagogically-driven Serious Games 2012

Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Pedagogically-driven Serious Games (PDSG 2012)In conjunction with the Seventh European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning (EC-TEL 2012), Saarbrücken (Germany), 18th September, 2012Edited by Stefano Bocconi, Ralf Klamma, and Yulia Bachvarova

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • An Ontology for Integrating Didactics into a Serious Training Game
    Marieke Peeters, Karel Van Den Bosch, John-Jules Meyer, Mark Neerincx
  • Towards Modeling Educational Objectives in Serious Games
    Eike M. Hirdes, Niroshan Thillainathan, Jan Marco Leimeister
  • Open 3D Environments for Competitive and Collaborative Educational Games
    Roland Klemke, Milos Kravcik
  • A Competence Performance Analyser Tool for Assessing Players’ Activity in Serious Games
    Elisabetta Parodi, Mauro Vannucci
  • Using Out-of-Character Reasoning to Combine Storytelling and Education in a Serious Game
    Jeroen Linssen, Mariët Theune
  • The TERENCE Smart Games: Automatic Generation and Supporting Architecture
    Fernando De La Prieta Pintado, Tania Di Mascio, Rosella Gennari, Ivana Marenzi, Pierpaolo Vittorini
  • Playing for Improving the Reading Comprehension Skills of Primary School Poor Comprehenders
    Fernando De La Prieta Pintado, Tania Di Mascio, Rosella Gennari, Ivana Marenzi, Pierpaolo Vittorini
  • Serious Gaming for Complex Decision Making
    Anja Van Der Hulst, Mark Ruijsendaal

Review: Computer-Game-Based Tutoring of Mathematics

Computer-Game-Based Tutoring of Mathematics

in: Computers & Education, Available online 11 September 2012, Pages

by: Fengfeng Ke


This in-situ, descriptive case study examined the potential of implementing computer mathematics games as an anchor for tutoring of mathematics. Data were collected from middle school students at a rural pueblo school and an urban Hispanic-serving school, through in-field observation, content analysis of game-based tutoring-learning interactions, and achievement test. Findings suggested that game-based tutoring is dynamic in terms of its timing, initiation, content, style, and tutee reaction created. There was an improvement in students’ state test performance at the pueblo school after the game-based tutoring program, but the improvement was not statistically significant at the urban school. The study can serve as a catalyst for insight and further research of using educational gaming as an instructional artifact to augment other instructional approaches.

For more details:

Review: A Meta-analytic Review of the Role of Instructional Support in GBL

A Meta-analytic Review of the Role of Instructional Support in Game-based Learning

in: Computers & Education, Available online 11 September 2012, Pages

by:Pieter Wouters, Herre van Oostendorp


Computer games can be considered complex learning environments in which players require instructional support to engage in cognitive processes such as selecting and actively organizing/integrating new information. We used meta-analytical techniques to test if instructional support enhances learning in game-based learning (k = 107, Nadj = 3675). We found that instructional support in game-based learning environments improved learning (d = .34, p < .001). Additional moderator analyses revealed that the learning effect was largest when learning of skills was involved (d = .62, p < .001) and when the instructional support aimed at the selection of relevant new information (d = .46, p < .001). Furthermore, we found some evidence for a publication bias since the effect sizes for studies in peer-reviewed journals was significantly higher than for studies in proceedings and unpublished studies (journals: d = .44; proceedings: d = .08; unpublished: d = .14).

Review: Engineering design using game-enhanced CAD

Engineering design using game-enhanced CAD: The potential to augment the user experience with game elements

in: Computer-Aided Design, Available online 8 September 2012, Pages

by: Zoe Kosmadoudi, Theodore Lim, James Ritchie, Sandy Louchart, Ying Liu, Raymond Sung


Since the coining of the term ‘serious games’ by Clark Abt, practitioners in fields such as education, the military, medical science, as well as researchers from other disciplines, have investigated with interest game mechanics and the dynamics of games in non-gaming applications. Gaming has extended beyond what was initially its natural boundary of entertainment and is now associated with the process of problem solving while providing analytical questioning of scientific viewpoints through active game-play. The rules of game interaction or game mechanics include the concepts of usability and playability which are focused in a less complex environment which provides a more intuitive user experience (UX). In the process of CAD development and applications the effective use and support of the user’s perception and their UX have been compromised by the engineering design system’s functionality and step-by-step evolution. This article reviews gaming techniques and mechanisms that may potentially be beneficial to the future development of CAD systems in engineering, in particular to maintain cognitive engagement. In light of this, the article focuses on the fundamental activity of engineering using CAD systems with particular attention on CAD graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and how they can be potentially enhanced using game mechanics to provide more engaging and intuitive environments.

Health SGs

Review: A conceptual framework for entrepreneurship education policy

A conceptual framework for entrepreneurship education policy: Meeting government and economic purposes

in Journal of Business Venturing, Available online 3 September 2012, Pages
by Allan O’Connor


There is an increasing tendency for government policy to promote entrepreneurship for its apparent economic benefit. Accordingly, governments seek to employ entrepreneurship education as a means to stimulate increased levels of economic activity. However, the economic benefit of entrepreneurship education has proven difficult to substantiate. It is perceived that the problem is partly due to the multi-definitional perspectives of entrepreneurship. What stems from this is a lack of a theoretically sound conceptual grounding that will assist policy-makers and educators to locate a program within specific objectives. This article sets out an argument, extending from economic theory, to provide purpose for entrepreneurship education and proposes a policy framework supported by analysis of the Australian government policy context.

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Review: What do Players (Think They) Learn in Games?

What do Players (Think They) Learn in Games?

in: Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, Volume 46, 2012, Pages 3345-3349
by: Selen Turkay, Sonam Adinolf



The goal of this study is to contribute to the growing literature on games and learning. We will discuss results from an exploratory study where we asked gamers’ opinions about learning in games. The data was collected as part of a larger survey study on a variety of topics about games (N = 769). Four themes emerged from the data: 1) players learn about and from game mechanics, 2) players learn from game narratives, 3) players learn from each other, and 4) players learn by becoming interest ed in an in-game topic and expand their knowledge by studying outside resources.


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Review: The Serious Game: What Educational Benefits?

The Serious Game: What Educational Benefits?

in: Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, Volume 46, 2012, Pages 5502-5508
by: Houda Mouaheb, Ahmed Fahli, Mohammed Moussetad, Said Eljamali



This work lies in the educational opportunities of a learning tool: the serious game. The serious game was investigated using an American example: Virtual University.We first highlight the main features of this media, namely that it can be used as: a teaching tool, a means of entertainment, and as a technology of information and communication. It aims for multiple learning objectives, it finds application in many areas and it targets all age groups. Then, we show that learning through the serious game has educational values that are based on learning concepts advocated by constructivist psycho-cognitive theories; it guarantees intrinsic motivation, generates cognitive conflicts and provides situated learning.

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Review: Measuring the flow experience of gamers: An evaluation of the DFS-2

Measuring the flow experience of gamers: An evaluation of the DFS-2


in: Computers in Human Behavior, Available online 20 July 2012
by: Katelyn Procci, Allysa R. Singer, Katherine R. Levy, Clint Bowers


One element of growing interest in the video gaming literature is the flow state, which is a pleasing and engaging experience commonly reported by players of games. As such, there are many different measures and methods that seek to quantify the flow experience. The present work examined whether a common measure of flow, the Dispositional Flow Scale-2 (DFS-2), was valid to use in the gamer population. We initially collected data from 762 undergraduate students. Of these, 314 qualified as “gamers” and were included in our analysis. Participants completed the DFS-2 based on their personal gaming experiences and the data was subjected to factor analysis. We did not find the DFS-2 to be an adequate measure of flow for the game experience and that continued examination of the construct and measure refinement is necessary.

Review: Active and Passive Distraction in Children Undergoing Wound Dressings

Active and Passive Distraction in Children Undergoing Wound Dressings

in: Journal of Pediatric Nursing, Available online 20 July 2012
By: Stefan Nilsson, Karin Enskär, Carina Hallqvist, Eva Kokinsky


The aim of this study was to test how distraction influences pain, distress and anxiety in children during wound care. Sixty participants aged 5–12 years were randomized to three groups: serious gaming, the use of lollipops and a control group. Self-reported pain, distress, anxiety and observed pain behaviour were recorded in conjunction with wound care. Serious gaming, an active distraction, reduced the observed pain behaviour and self-reported distress compared with the other groups. A sense of control and engagement in the distraction, together, may be the explanation for the different pain behaviours when children use serious gaming.

Review: Clinical applications for the Ntelligent geriatric serious games

Clinical applications for the Ntelligent geriatric serious games for mild cognitive impairment

in: Alzheimer’s & Dementia, Volume 8, Issue 4, Supplement, July 2012, Pages P480-
by: Chan-Nyoung Lee, Moon Ho Park, Kun-Woo Park, Moon-Gee Choi, JaeBum Jung



The elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are increasing rapidly. Because many neuropsychological screening tests are time consuming and so complicated to perform, there are many practical difficulties for screening the patients with MCI. For these reasons, we intended to find out the patients with MCI through a simple, easy and interesting computer games.


We studied total 588 patients (the normal cognitive (control) group: 464 people, MCI group: 124 patients) that admitted to Korea University Ansan Hospital. We performed MMSE, CERAD for neuropsychologic tests, and used Ntelligent Geriatric Serious Games thats are three kinds of computer games (“Catching a fruit” game, “Setting the table” game, “Elevator” game).


There is a significant difference in “Setting the table” game scores (t=-1.973, P<0.05) and “Elevator” game scores (t=-2.777, P<0.01) between MCI group and normal control group. However, there is not a significant difference in “Catching a fruit” game scores and total game scores between MCI group and normal control group. MMSE scores are significantly correlated with the game scores of “Setting the table” and the number of correct answers and also correlated with game scores of “Elevator”, the number of correct answers, and ratio of correct answer in both groups.


In this study, we can know about a difference between normal control and MCI group through the games measuring geriatric cognitive function. We conclude that through the simple, easy and interesting computer games, we can screen the patients with MCI who have difficulties performing the existing neuropsychological screening test.

Review: The Quest to Lava Mountain:Using Video Games for Dietary Change in Children

The Quest to Lava Mountain:Using Video Games for Dietary Change in Children

By: Nancy Beasley, Shreela Sharma, Ross Shegog, Rachel Huber, Paige Abernathy, Carolyn Smith, Deanna Hoelscher

in: Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Available online 6 July 2012


HIGH INTAKE OF SUGAR-SWEETENED BEVERAGES and energy-dense foods, as well as low intake of healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, has been linked to childhood obesity in the United States. [1] and [2] School and after-school settings are promising locations to promote healthy nutrition to children, but barriers such as the need to expend resources for staff trainings and frequent staff turnover hamper successful implementation.3 Innovative approaches are needed to mitigate these barriers while providing educational fidelity, seamless implementation within the school day, and minimal teacher oversight. Educational video games may contribute to a solution. During the last decade, increasing research and application of serious games has demonstrated a positive impact on children’s cognitive development, dietary habits, and physical activity behavior. However, few evidence-based educational games are currently available for elementary school children. [4], [5], [6] and [7] The purpose of this article is to describe the theoretical foundation, function, and preliminary feasibility results of a new three-dimensional (3D) computer-based video game for nutrition education in children (8 to 12 years of age): The Quest to Lava Mountain (QTLM).

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Review: A social gamification framework for a K-6 learning platform

A social gamification framework for a K-6 learning platform

by: Jorge Simões, Rebeca Díaz Redondo, Ana Fernández Vilas

in: Computers in Human Behavior, Available online 5 July 2012


As video games, particularly, social games are growing in popularity and number of users, there has been an increasing interest in its potential as innovative teaching tools. Gamification is a new concept intending to use elements from video games in non-game applications. Education is an area with high potential for application of this concept since it seeks to promote people’s motivation and engagement. The research in progress will try to find how to apply social gamification in education, testing and validating the results of that application. To fulfil these objectives, this paper presents the guidelines and main features of a social gamification framework to be applied in an existent K-6 social learning environment.

Review: Jestimule, a serious game for autism spectrum disorders

Jestimule, a serious game for autism spectrum disorders

by: S. Serret

in: Neuropsychiatrie de l’Enfance et de l’Adolescence, Volume 60, Issue 5, Supplement, July 2012, Pages S59-

We developed a serious game to improve social cognition for a large and heterogeneous group of Autism Spectrum disorders (ASD). This study evaluated “Jestimule”, a serious game, for its effectiveness in teaching ASD individuals to recognize facial emotions, emotional gestures and emotional situations. Exploration experiments tested a group of children with ASD (n = 40) who used the serious game at the hospital twice a week one hour for four weeks. The first experiment explored a large and heterogeneous group of ASD (aged from 6 to 18) to decide who could use this serious game. The second experiment tested participants on recognition of facial emotions, emotional gestures and emotional situations.

Results.– Experiment one showed a large and heterogeneous children with ASD who could play and understand this serious game. Experiment two showed that participants improved these results in different tasks.

Conclusion.– Preliminary results have education and therapeutic implications for serious games in ASD and should be taken into account in future trainings.

Review: A LEGO Mindstorms NXT approach for teaching

A LEGO Mindstorms NXT approach for teaching at Data Acquisition, Control Systems Engineering and Real-Time Systems undergraduate courses

By: A. Cruz-Martín, J.A. Fernández-Madrigal, C. Galindo, J. González-Jiménez, C. Stockmans-Daou, J.L. Blanco-Claraco

in:Computers & Education – Volume 59, Issue 3, November 2012, Pages 974–988




LEGO Mindstorms NXT robots are being increasingly used in undergraduate courses, mostly in robotics-related subjects. But other engineering topics, like the ones found in data acquisition, control and real-time subjects, also have difficult concepts that can be well understood only with good lab exercises. Such exercises require physical educational tools that should be low cost, easy to configure and use, multi-purpose and motivational for the students, being all of this hard to achieve with a single device. The “classical” solution has been to acquire specific commercial kits for each subject, or even topic, usually proprietary and expensive. Our work extends the already existing alternative of using the LEGO Mindstorms NXT robots as a training platform, but not by imitating the same approach of commercial kits (e.g., to isolate some part of the robot for teaching a particular topic); we rather aim at accomplishing all the mentioned requirements simultaneously. For that purpose, we have used only one out-of-the-box, complete robot configuration, to be shared among different subjects without hardware/software/firmware modifications. This has reduced significantly the effort of a group of professors when preparing exercises, and encouraged the reuse of their work among several topics and subjects. Also, we have collected a number of surveys on students and the professors’ experiences. In this paper we describe our approach and present in detail the results, which assess the higher motivational adequacy of using a complete robot in these subjects and also the real fulfillment of the other requirements along several academic years.

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Review: “Creature-101”

“Creature-101”: Using a Virtual Reality, Serious Game to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Behaviors among Middle School Students

by: D. Majumdar, P. Koch, H. Lee, I. Contento, A. Islas, D. Fu

in: Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, Volume 44, Issue 4, Supplement, July–August 2012, Pages S38-


To evaluate the effectiveness of Creature-101 at promoting healthy eating and physical activity among middle school students.

Design, Setting and Participants

Single group pre- and posttest study with Hispanic and African American children (n = 82; aged 11–13 years) who played Creature-101 in computer class 2 days a week for 1 month.


Using Social Cognitive and Self-Determination Theories as framework, Creature-101 game (7 sessions; 30 minutes each) incorporates creature care in a virtual world, “Tween.” In the game, students learn scientific evidence that promotes energy balance by playing minigames, viewing small educational videos and slideshows, and having interactive dialogues with game characters. Students progress through game levels to achieve energy balance of their adopted creatures. Students also assess their own behaviors, create their own “real-life” food and activity action plans, and report their progress.

Outcome Measures and Analysis

A self-reported, online, pre-post survey administered at baseline and immediately after intervention measured frequency of intake of sweetened beverages, water, processed packaged snacks (eg, chips, candy), and fruits and vegetables; sedentary and physical activity (0–6, never to several times/day); and amounts of the targeted behaviors (food: 0–3, never to large size; activity: 0–5, never to > 4 hours). Paired t test compared pre- and posttest means.


Students reported decreased frequency of intake of chips (mean, 3.11 to 2.56; P < .05), decreased frequency of watching television (3.73 to 2.00; P < .001), decreased frequency of playing video games (3.33 to 1.90; P < .001), decreased portion size for processed snacks (1.82 to 1.56; P < .05), and decreased time watching television (3.53 to 3.11; P < .05).

Conclusions and Implications

Virtual reality games may improve dietary and physical activity behaviors among middle school aged youths. A randomized study is required to confirm the effectiveness of Creature-101.


NIH, Small Business Innovation Research.

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Review: Studying the effectiveness of multi-user immersive environments […]

Studying the effectiveness of multi-user immersive environments for collaborative evaluation tasks

by:Carlos-Miguel Lorenzo, Miguel Ángel Sicilia, Salvador Sánchez

in:  Computers & Education, Available online 26 June 2012


Massively Multiuser On-line Learning (MMOL) Platforms, often called “virtual learning worlds”, constitute a still unexplored context for communication-enhanced learning, where synchronous communication skills in an explicit social setting enhance the potential of effective collaboration. In this paper, we report on an experimental study of collaborative evaluation in an MMOL setting with 21 graduate students enrolled in university courses in technology-mediated teaching and learning. This study was carried out using a prototype of a 3D MMOL platform built around an interactive space called “MadriPolis”. This space was used to recreate an adequate scenario for a collaborative experience about Learning Object evaluation using the mainstream Learning Object Review Instrument (LORI), which is based on a Convergent Participation Model (CPM). The same experience was carried out using a conventional LCMS (Learning Content Management System) platform with the aim of contrasting the outcomes and interaction patterns in the two settings. This study makes use of Social Network Analysis (SNA) measures to describe the interactions between tutors and learners. By dwelling on the advantages of immersive environments, SNA indexes revealed that these interactions were rather dense and that student participation was rather broad-based in the case of the MMOL. The results suggest that MMOL platforms could be used in collaborative evaluation tasks as a means to enhance both tutor interaction patterns and the strength of the group’s relationship.

Review: Promoting ICT innovations for the ageing population in Japan

Promoting ICT innovations for the ageing population in Japan

by: Toshio Obi, Diana Ishmatova, Naoko Iwasaki

in: International Journal of Medical Informatics, Available online 22 June 2012




The paper aims to explore effective measures and strategies for the promotion of ICT-enabled innovations for the elderly and people with special needs.


The paper begins by reviewing current government initiatives in the field of e-health and accessibility that are addressing challenges faced by Japan’s rapidly ageing society. It then evaluates the results of Japanese government efforts in the promotion of ICT solutions for its older population against the availability of special infrastructure, device interfaces, and services and applications that meet five essential needs of the elderly with regard to quality of life in highly developed countries.

Results and conclusion

The results of the study suggest that more efforts are needed to exploit ICT to transform all domains of society in order to meet the challenges produced by a rapidly ageing population. For that purpose the paper proposes 12 main areas in which to facilitate ICT innovations for an ageing population. It then outlines a number of strategic directions for the formulation of specific measures that will place Japan in the forefront of societal transformation.

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Review: Virtual Reality and Augmented-Virtual Reality as Tools to Train Industrial Operators

Virtual Reality and Augmented-Virtual Reality as Tools to Train Industrial Operators

by: Salman Nazir, Roberto Totaro, Sara Brambilla, Simone Colombo, Davide Manca

in: Computer Aided Chemical Engineering, Volume 30, 2012, Pages 1397-1401


The need for developing an improved methodology to better train operators is crucial since their performance directly influences the process in terms of productivity, quality, profitability, stability, and controllability. Meanwhile, human machine interfaces have intensified the complexity faced by operators in modern plants, where a human error may result in significant financial and resource losses. This paper proposes the implementation and adoption of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented-Virtual Realty (AVR) to train operators in industrial plants. A detailed and immersive 3D model of the plant allows the operators understanding the details of both equipment and operating conditions. The complex dynamic behavior and control strategies of the process can be reproduced with a highly detailed 3D virtual environment by employing and coupling a dynamic process simulator and a dynamic real-time accident simulator. The AVR feature allows enhancing and improving the understanding and skill of field operators by letting them know the process operating conditions that dynamically change within the plant section where they work. The same can be said of process dynamics in case of abnormal and accident conditions. The positive outcome of this operator-training tool consists in increasing the reliability, cost effectiveness, environmental friendliness, and safety of the process.

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Exploring Review: User Experience (UX) in virtual learning environments

Exploring User Experience (UX) in virtual learning environments

by: Panagiotis Zaharias, Brad Mehlenbacher

in: International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Volume 70, Issue 7, July 2012, Pages 475-477

The idea for the present special issue was born out of our mutual interest in contributing to the limited body of empirical work on User Experience in Virtual Learning Environments. The term, User Experience (UX), delineates a multifaceted and complicated process that embraces analysis, strategic business branding, planning, concept, and participatory design, and change in modern organizational cultures. Because of that, many different approaches have evolved and a universal definition of UX is difficult to identify. Sometimes UX is assumed to be synonymous with usability, interaction experience, and interaction design. Yet UX also seems to involve much more than those approaches. Thus, UX is defined, according to ISO9241-210 (2010), as focusing on a person–user’s perceptions and responses that result from the use and/or anticipated use of a product, system, or service. Hassenzahl and Tractinsky (2006) as pioneer researchers in the field describe UX as a consequence of a user’s internal state (predispositions, expectations, needs, motivation, mood, etc.), the characteristics of the designed system (usability, functionality), and the context within which the interaction occurs (such as the organizational and social setting). […]

Review: Learning Programming at the Computational Thinking Level via Digital Game-Play

Learning Programming at the Computational Thinking Level via Digital Game-Play

by: Cagin Kazimoglu, Mary Kiernan, Liz Bacon, Lachlan MacKinnon

in: Procedia Computer Science, Volume 9, 2012, Pages 522-531

This paper outlines an innovative game model for learning computational thinking (CT) skills through digital game-play. We have designed a game framework where students can practice and develop their skills in CT with little or no programming knowledge. We analyze how this game supports various CT concepts and how these concepts can be mapped to programming constructs to facilitate learning introductory computer programming. Moreover, we discuss the potential benefits of our approach as a support tool to foster student motivation and abilities in problem solving. As initial evaluation, we provide some analysis of feedback from a survey response group of 25 students who have played our game as a voluntary exercise. Structured empirical evaluation will follow, and the plan for that is briefly described.

Review: Evaluating user experience of adaptive digital educational games with Activity Theory

Evaluating user experience of adaptive digital educational games with Activity Theory

by: Effie Lai-Chong Law, Xu Sun

In: International Journal of Human-Computer Studies – Volume 70, Issue 7,  Pages 475-526, July 2012 – Special Issue on User Experience (UX) in Virtual Learning Environments   .-  Edited by Panagiotis Zaharias and Brad Mehlenbacher

Adaptive digital educational games (DEGs) providing players with relevant interventions can enhance gameplay experience. This advance in game design, however, renders the user experience (UX) evaluation of DEGs even more challenging. To tackle this challenge, we developed a four-dimension evaluation framework (i.e., gaming experience, learning experience, adaptivity, and usability) and applied it to an empirical study with a DEG on teaching geography. Mixed-method approaches were adopted to collect data with 16 boys aged 10–11. Specifically, a so-called Dyadic User Experience Tests (DUxT) was employed; participants were paired up to assume different roles during gameplay. Learning efficacy was evaluated with a pre-post intervention measurement using a domain-specific questionnaire. Learning experience, gaming experiences and usability were evaluated with intensive in situ observations and interviews guided by a multidimensional scheme; content analysis of these transcribed audio data was supplemented by video analysis. Effectiveness of adaptivity algorithms was planned to be evaluated with automatic logfiles, which, unfortunately, could not be realised due to some technical problem. Nonetheless, the user-based data could offer some insights into this issue. Furthermore, we attempted to bridge the existing gap in UX research – the lack of theoretical frameworks in understanding user experience – by adopting Engeström’s (1987) extended framework of Activity Theory (AT) that provides contextual information essential for understanding contradictions and breakdowns observed in the interactions between the game players. The dyadic gameplay setting allows us to explore the issue of group UX. Implications for further applications of the AT framework in the UX research, especially the interplay between evaluation and redesign (i.e., downstream utility of UX evaluation methods), are discussed.

Review: A review of virtual environments for training in ball sports

A review of virtual environments for training in ball sports

in: Computers & Graphics, Available online 26 April 2012

By:Helen C. Miles, Serban R. Pop, Simon J. Watt, Gavin P. Lawrence, Nigel W. John



There is growing interest in utilising Virtual Environments (VEs) in the context of sports. In particular there is a desire to be able to improve sensorimotor skills rather than just using a VE as a tool for strategy analysis, or entertainment. The range of skills required across all different sports is very large and varied. This review of the state-of-the-art, therefore focuses on just ball sports, and was carried out as part of a current project developing training tools for rugby. A VE needs to provide realistic rendering of the sports scene to achieve good perceptual fidelity. More important for a sport-themed VE is high functional fidelity, which requires an accurate physics model of a complex environment, real time response, and a natural user interface. The goal is to provide multiple scenarios to players at different levels of difficulty, providing them with improved skills that can be applied directly to the real sports arena. The typical hardware and software components needed are identified in the paper, and important psychological factors that should be considered are discussed. The challenges that need to be overcome are identified and illustrated with examples from recent projects in this area.


Review: Individual differences in response to cognitive training

Individual differences in response to cognitive training: Using a multi-modal, attentionally demanding game-based intervention for older adults

by: Laura A. Whitlock, Anne Collins McLaughlin, Jason C. Allaire

in: Computers in Human Behavior – Volume 28, Issue 4 ,  Pages 1083-1534, July 2012


The effectiveness of a game-based cognitive training intervention on multiple abilities was assessed in a sample of 39 older adults aged 60–77. The intervention task was chosen based on a cognitive task analysis designed to determine the attentional and multi-modal demands of the game. Improvements on a measure of attention were found for the intervention group compared to controls. Furthermore, for the intervention group only, initial ability scores predicted improvements on both tests of attention and spatial orientation. These results suggest cognitive training may be more effective for those initially lower in ability.

Review: Exploring different technological platforms

Exploring different technological platforms for supporting co-located collaborative games in the classroom

in: Computers in Human Behavior – Volume 28, Issue 4 ,  Pages 1083-1534, July 2012

By: Alejandro Echeverría, Matías Améstica, Francisca Gil, Miguel Nussbaum, Enrique Barrios, Sandra Leclerc


Computer Supported Collaborative Learning is a pedagogical approach that can be used for deploying educational games in the classroom. However, there is no clear understanding as to which technological platforms are better suited for deploying co-located collaborative games, nor the general affordances that are required. In this work we explore two different technological platforms for developing collaborative games in the classroom: one based on augmented reality technology and the other based on multiple-mice technology. In both cases, the same game was introduced to teach electrostatics and the results were compared experimentally using a real class.

The results of our experimental work showed that students significantly increased their conceptual understanding of electrostatics with both platforms. However, there were some important differences between platforms. While in the multiple-mice platform there were no gender differences, in the augmented reality platform boys significantly outperformed girls. In addition, the augmented reality platform was considerably more costly to deploy in a real world setting than the multiple-mice platform. These results suggest that, when co-located collaborative games are designed, careful consideration must be taken when selecting the technology to be used, something which can have effects that go beyond the effects of the games themselves.

Review: Are there cultural differences in how we play?

Are there cultural differences in how we play? Examining cultural effects on playing social network games

by: Yu-Hao Lee, Donghee Yvette Wohn

in: Computers in Human Behavior- Volume 28, Issue 4 ,Pages 1083-1534, July 2012


Digital games embedded in social network sites are one of the driving forces behind the expansion of digital gamer populations. Previous studies have observed different usage patterns between users in different ethnic groups and countries, suggesting that culture orientations may affect how people play and interact through social network games. This study examined how people’s culture orientations affect usage patterns with measures of vertical and horizontal individualism–collectivism. The findings indicate that culture does not directly affect usage patterns. Instead, the effects on usage patterns are mediated by people’s expected outcomes of playing social network games. Vertical culture orientations predicted social expected outcomes. Individualism predicted status expected outcomes, but in different directions on the dimensions of vertical or horizontalness. Vertical collectivism was the only culture orientation that indirectly predicted buying in-game products with real money. Implications for game designers and markers are discussed.

Review: Development of a computer game-based framework

Development of a computer game-based framework for cognitive behaviour identification by using Bayesian inference methods

In: Computers in Human Behavior – Volume 28, Issue 4 ,  Pages 1083-1534, July 2012

By: Ahmet Orun, Huseyin Seker


In this work a novel technique for cognitive behavioural data acquisition via computer/console games is introduced by which the user feels more relax than s/he is in a formal environment (e.g., labs and clinics) and has less disruption as s/he provides cognitive data sequence by playing a game. The method can be adapted into any game and is based on the assumption that in this way more efficient analysis of mind can be made to unveil the cognitive or mental characteristics of an individual. In experiments of the proposed work a commercial console game was utilised by different users to complete the tasks in which each game player followed his/her own optional scenarios of the game for a certain period of time. The attributes were then extracted from the behavioural video data sequence by visual inspection where each one corresponds to user’s behavioural characteristics spotted throughout the game and then analysed by the Bayesian network utility. At the end of all the experiments, two types of results were obtained: semantic representation of behavioural attributes and classification of personal behavioural characteristics. The approach is proved to be a unique way and helped identify general and specific behavioural characteristics of the individuals and is likely to open new areas of applications.

Review: Affective Speech Interface in Serious Games for Supporting Therapy of Mental Disorders

Affective Speech Interface in Serious Games for Supporting Therapy of Mental Disorders

BY: Theodoros Kostoulas, Iosif Mporas, Otilia Kocsis, Todor Ganchev, Nikos Katsaounos, Juan J. Santamaria, Susana Jimenez-Murcia, Fernando Fernandez-Aranda, Nikos Fakotakis

in: Expert Systems with Applications, Available online 1 April 2012


We describe a novel design, implementation and evaluation of a speech interface, as part of a platform for the development of serious games. The speech interface consists of the speech recognition component and the emotion recognition from speech component. The speech interface relies on a platform designed and implemented to support the development of serious games, which supports cognitive-based treatment of patients with mental disorders. The implementation of the speech interface is based on the Olympus/RavenClaw framework. This framework has been extended for the needs of the specific serious games and the respective application domain, by integrating new components, such as emotion recognition from speech. The evaluation of the speech interface utilized purposely collected domain-specific dataset. The speech recognition experiments show that emotional speech moderately affects the performance of the speech interface. Furthermore, the emotion detectors demonstrated satisfying performance for the emotion states of interest, Anger and Boredom, and contributed towards successful modelling of the patient’s emotion status. The performance achieved for speech recognition and for the detection of the emotional states of interest was satisfactory. Recent evaluation of the serious games showed that the patients started to show new coping styles with negative emotions in normal stress life situations.

Review: A cognitive component analysis approach for developing game-based spatial learning tools

A cognitive component analysis approach for developing game-based spatial learning tools

by: Pi-Hsia Hung, Gwo-Jen Hwang, Yueh-Hsun Lee, I-Hsiang Su

in: Computers & Education (Available online 30 March 2012)


Spatial ability has been recognized as one of the most important factors affecting the mathematical performance of students. Previous studies on spatial learning have mainly focused on developing strategies to shorten the problem-solving time of learners for very specific learning tasks. Such an approach usually has limited effects on improving the mathematical performance of students. In this study, a cognitive analysis approach is proposed for developing spatial learning tools by taking game characteristics into consideration. Moreover, the validation of the cognitive components of the spatial sense test for constructing two different kinds of intervention is verified, and the effects of the interventions are compared. To evaluate the performance of the proposed approach, an experiment was conducted on the mathematics course of an elementary school. The experimental results show that the spatial learning tool promotes not only the learning achievement, but also the spatial sense of the students.

Review: Conceptual Modeling for Simulation-Based Serious Gaming

Conceptual Modeling for Simulation-Based Serious Gaming

by:  Durk-Jouke van der Zee, Bart Holkenborg, Stewart Robinson

in: Decision Support Systems, Available online 28 March 2012


In recent years many simulation-based serious games have been developed for supporting (future) managers in operations management decision making. They illustrate the high potential of using discrete event simulation for pedagogical purposes. Unfortunately, this potential does not seem to go together with the availability of guidance for the game designer on the use of simulation. In response, we propose a conceptual modeling framework for simulation-based serious gaming. It structures the conceptual modeling process by identifying five key modeling activities in defining a conceptual model, i.e., a blue print for model coding. Activities aim to explore the learning environment, and capture modeling objectives, and model inputs, outputs and contents. Each activity is further detailed in terms of steps to undertake, good practices, and supportive methods. Use of the framework is illustrated by a case example concerning education of retail managers on inventory control.

Review: “A systematic literature review of empirical evidence on computer games and serious games”

A systematic literature review of empirical evidence on computer games and serious games

By: Thomas M Connolly, Elizabeth A. Boyle, Ewan MacArthur, Thomas Hainey, Jim Boyle

in: Computers & Education, Available online 22 March 2012


This paper examines the literature on computer games and serious games in regard to the potential positive impacts of gaming on users aged 14 years or above, especially with respect to learning, skill enhancement and engagement. Search terms identified 129 papers reporting empirical evidence about the impacts and outcomes of computer games and serious games with respect to learning and engagement and a multidimensional approach to categorizing games was developed. The findings revealed that playing computer games is linked to a range of perceptual, cognitive, behavioural, affective and motivational impacts and outcomes. The most frequently occurring outcomes and impacts were knowledge acquisition/content understanding and affective and motivational outcomes. The range of indicators and measures used in the included papers are discussed, together with methodological limitations and recommendations for further work in this area.

Review: Engagement in digital entertainment games: A systematic review

Engagement in digital entertainment games: A systematic review

By: Elizabeth A. Boyle, Thomas M. Connolly, Thomas Hainey, James M. Boyle

In:  Computers in Human Behavior – Volume 28, Issue 3


Since their introduction over 40 years ago, digital entertainment games have become one of the most popular leisure activities globally. While digital games clearly provide highly engaging activities, the nature of this engagement is not well understood. The current study aims to advance our understanding by reporting a systematic review of recent literature addressing engagement in computer games. The papers in the review comprise a sub-sample of papers relating to engagement in digital games that was selected from a broader literature search carried out on the outcomes and impacts of playing computer games. A diverse range of studies was identified that examined varied aspects of engagement in games including subjective experiences while playing games, the physiological concomitants of these experiences, motives for playing games, game usage and time spent playing games and the impact of playing on life satisfaction. A narrative review was carried out to capture these diverse aspects of engagement and to develop a more coherent understanding of engagement in computer games.


Review: Video gameplay, personality and academic performance

Video gameplay, personality and academic performance

By: Matthew Ventura, Valerie Shute, Yoon Jeon Kim

in: Computers & EducationVolume 58, Issue 4, May 2012, Pages 1260–1266


The relationship between video gameplay, video game genre preference, personality, and GPA was investigated in an online correlational study with university students. In addition to administering self-report measures of GPA and personality, we asked three different questions regarding styles of video gameplay. The first asked the average time spent playing video games per week (habitual players), the second asked the total time spent playing favorite video games (selective players), and the third asked the number of different video games played in a year (diverse players). Students who were medium in selective player style (spent 11–50 h) had significantly higher GPAs than students low on selective player style (spent 0–10 h). Students high on habitual playing style (7 or more hours a week) showed significantly lower levels of Conscientiousness compared to students low on habitual playing style (0–1 h a week). Students who were high on the diverse style (i.e., 7 or more games played a year) showed significantly higher Openness scores than students low on the diverse style (0–3 games a year). Finally, several notable relations were found between video game genre preference, GPA, and personality. Results are discussed in terms of the positive implications of video gameplay on academic performance.

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Review: Exploring the behavioral patterns of learners in an educational MMORPG

Exploring the behavioral patterns of learners in an educational massively multiple online role-playing game (MMORPG)

By: Huei-Tse Hou

in: Computers & EducationVolume 58, Issue 4, May 2012, Pages 1225–1233


Massively multiple online role-playing games (MMORPGs) are very popular among students. Educational MMORPGs, however, are very rare, as are studies on gamers’ behavioral patterns during such games. The current study is an empirical observation and analysis of the behavioral patterns of 100 gamers participating in an educational MMORPG called Talking Island©. In our study, we recorded and summarized the gaming behaviors demonstrated by these participants over 335 days of observation from December 2009 to October 2010. We coded the recorded behaviors and conducted a frequency analysis, sequential analysis and cluster analysis to explore the behavioral distributions, behavioral-frequency transition and behavior-cluster patterns in the MMORPG. Gender differences in behavioral patterns were also compared and discussed. Based on the results, we discuss the potential and limitations of the game and provide suggestions for future research on and the development of educational MMORPGs

Review: The values of college students in business simulation game

The values of college students in business simulation game: A means-end chain approach

by: Yu-Ling Lin

in: Computers & EducationVolume 58, Issue 4, May 2012, Pages 1160–1170


Business simulation games (BSGs) enable students to practice making decisions in a virtual environment, accumulate experience in application of strategies, and train themselves in modes of decision-making. This study examines the value sought by players of BSG. In this study, a means-end chain (MEC) model was adopted as the basis, and ladder method soft laddering was used to conduct in-depth interviews with students who had experience in using BSGs. The chain concept of “attribute–consequence–value” was used to understand students’ value cognition structures. Content analysis was used to analyze the attributes–consequences–values for BSGs players, then converted into a Hierarchical Value Map (HVM). The results showed that students consider teamwork and market diversity as the most important attributes, and the consequences of a cooperative approach and market diversity are emotional exchange and multi-thinking, with the ultimate value brought to users by exchanges between teams and constant thinking beinginterpersonal relationships and a sense of accomplishment.

Review: Computer games in pre-school settings

Computer games in pre-school settings: Didactical challenges when commercial educational computer games are implemented in kindergartens

By: Vigdis Vangsnes, Nils Tore Gram Økland, Rune Krumsvik

in: Computers & EducationVolume 58, Issue 4, May 2012, Pages 1138–1148


This article focuses on the didactical implications when commercial educational computer games are used in Norwegian kindergartens by analysing the dramaturgy and the didactics of one particular game and the game in use in a pedagogical context. Our justification for analysing the game by using dramaturgic theory is that we consider the game to be a multimodal performance utilising text, graphics, pictures, sound and animation. Similarly we analyse the didactic situation by using dramaturgic theories and concepts because we consider the didactic meeting between the medium (the game), children (the player(s), and teacher to be a dramaturgic situation comprising different roles, actions in progress, time and space. Our data material shows that the pre-school teacher is more or less absent during the children’s playing with the computer games, but when the pre-school teacher involves him/herself, she finds it difficult to realise her ideal socio-cultural didactical project in which dialogue is a central medium for exploration and learning. Through our analysis of the data material we find that there are two different dramaturgies at stake; the built-in interactive dramaturgy of the game materialised in the gaming situation and the dialogical dramaturgy that the pre-school teacher tries to create in the didactical situation. This implies that there is a didactical dissonance between the learning space which the game and the learning space the pre-school teacher wants to construct and orchestrate.


Review: A crowdsourcing method to develop virtual human conversational agents

A crowdsourcing method to develop virtual human conversational agents

by: Brent Rossen, Benjamin Lok

in: International Journal of Human-Computer StudiesVolume 70, Issue 4, April 2012, Pages 301–319

Educators in medicine, psychology, and the military want to provide their students with interpersonal skills practice. Virtual humans offer structured learning of interview skills, can facilitate learning about unusual conditions, and are always available. However, the creation of virtual humans with the ability to understand and respond to natural language requires costly engineering by conversation knowledge engineers (generally computer scientists), and incurs logistical cost for acquiring domain knowledge from domain experts (educators). We address these problems using a novel crowdsourcing method entitled Human-centered Distributed Conversational Modeling. This method facilitates collaborative development of virtual humans by two groups of end-users: domain experts (educators) and domain novices (students). We implemented this method in a web-based authoring tool called Virtual People Factory. Using Virtual People Factory, medical and pharmacy educators are now creating natural language virtual patient interactions on their own. This article presents the theoretical background for Human-centered Distributed Conversational Modeling, the implementation of the Virtual People Factory authoring tool, and five case studies showing that Human-centered Distributed Conversational Modeling has addressed the logistical cost for acquiring knowledge.

Review: Building Virtual Cities, Inspiring Intelligent Citizens

Building Virtual Cities, Inspiring Intelligent Citizens: Digital Games for Developing Students’ Problem Solving and Learning Motivation

By: Ya-Ting Carolyn Yang

In: Computers & Education, Available online 25 January 2012

This study investigates the effectiveness digital game-based learning (DGBL) on students’ problem solving, learning motivation, and academic achievement. In order to provide substantive empirical evidence, a quasi-experimental design was implemented over the course of a full semester (23 weeks). Two ninth-grade Civics and Society classes, with a total of 44 students (15 – 16 years old), were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: an experimental group (incorporating DGBL) and a comparison group (taught using traditional instruction). Two-way mixed ANOVA was employed to evaluate changes in problem solving ability and compare the effectiveness the two strategies, while ANCOVA was used to analyze the effects on learning motivation and academic achievement. The results of this study are summarized as follows: (1) The DGBL strategy was clearly effective in promoting students’ problem solving skills, while the control group showed no improvement. Additionally, data from the mid-test and post-test demonstrate that, as a higher order thinking skill, problem-solving requires a full semester to develop. (2). DGBL resulted in better learning motivation for students in the experimental group as compared to learners receiving TI. (3) Contrary to some suggestions that digital games could inhibit academic achievement, no statistically significant difference was found between the two groups. Most importantly, the quantitative improvement in problem-solving and learning motivation suggest that DGBL can be exploited as a useful and productive tool to support students in effective learning while enhancing the classroom atmosphere. Future research in DGBL should emphasize the evaluation of other higher order elements of the cognitive domain in terms of academic achievement outcomes and skills, such as critical and creative thinking.


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Review: The Impact of Nintendo Wii to Physical Education Students’ Balance Compared to the Tradition

The Impact of Nintendo Wii to Physical Education Students’ Balance Compared to the Traditional Approaches

By: Nikolaos Vernadakis, Asimenia Gioftsidou, Panagiotis Antoniou, Dionysis Ioannidis, Maria Giannousi

in: Computers & Education, Available online 17 January 2012


The purpose of this study was to determine whether there is a difference between an exergame-based and a traditional balance training program, in undergraduate Physical Education students. Thirty two third-year undergraduate students at the Democritus University of Thrace were randomly divided into two training program groups of 16 students each, a traditional and a Nintendo Wii group. The two training program groups performed a specific balance program for 8 weeks, two times per week, and 24 min per session. The Nintendo Wii group used the interactive games Wii-Fit Plus of the Nintendo Wii console, as a training method to improve their balance, while the traditional group used an exercise program with mini trampoline and inflatable discs. Before and after the completion of the eight week balance program, participants completed a single leg static balance assessment for both limbs on the Biodex stability system. Two-way analyses of variance (ANOVAs), with repeated measures on the last factor, were conducted to determine effect of training program groups (traditional, Nintendo Wii) and measures (pre-test, post-test) on balance test indices (SI, API, and MLI). Where initial differences between groups were verified, one way analyses of covariance (ANCOVAs) were applied. Analysis of the data illustrated that both groups demonstrated an improvement in SI, API and MLI mean scores for the right and the left limp as well. Conclusively, findings support the effectiveness of using the Nintendo Wii gaming console as an intervention for undergraduate Physical Education students, and specifically, its effects on physical function related to balance competence.

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Review: An interactive method for hr training: managers as simulation players

An interactive method for hr training: managers as simulation players

by:  Esin Ertemsir, Yasemin Bal


Training and development is one of the most important functions of human resources management. With the increasing importance of human resources value, training and developing employees with essential qualifications and skills have become vital for organizations. There are several HR training methods for various purposes and needs. In this paper, firstly the importance of training and development function of HRM will be discussed and then the traditional and technology based new training methods will be introduced. Finally, simulation method for new generation managers will be investigated in the perspective of the interactivity and visualization advantages.

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Review: A GBL system for improving student’s learning effectiveness in system analys

A Game-based learning system for improving student’s learning effectiveness in system analysis course

by: Ching-Hsue Cheng, Chung-Ho Su

in: Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, Volume 31, 2012, Pages 669–675


This paper practically develops a game-based learning system to improve self-efficacy for student’s learning. The game-based learning is combined with educational and information technology. From the e-learning carried on, the game-based learning is getting more attention. In game-based learning, the course content is mapped into the game to provide a scenario environment of learning, the repeated self-learning, and the ongoing interaction and feedback can increase the learning interest and motivation. Hence, game-based learning could reach the goal of learning effectively. For evaluating the learning effects, this paper uses 3D game development tools and the course content corresponding to the game level content. In the questionnaire, the questionnaire design is based on the ARCS Motivation Model, and the questionnaire items have been revised by the experts’ opinions. This quasi-experimental teaching is executed for system analysis course (at third-year undergraduate level), the subjects (students) have an information management background. The students are separated into two groups for quasi-experimental design: one is the experimental group, the other is the control group. After the implementation of game-based learning system, the achievement scores and questionnaire of the experimental group are collected practically, and the difference in learning achievement between the experimental and control groups is examined. The results show that the learning motivations of students have significant impact on the learning achievement, and the learning achievements of students with game-based learning are better than those who use the traditional face-to-face teaching. And the results could provide the related educators as references.

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Review: Smart edutainment game for algorithmic thinking

Smart edutainment game for algorithmic thinking

by: Bourouaieh Douadi, Bensebaa Tahar, Seridi Hamid

in:Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, Volume 31, 2012, Pages 454–458


Algorithmic thinking is a key ability in computer science education. This paper presents a novel approach in conceiving a hybrid learning environment that combines digital games characteristics, Micro World, and algorithm animation principles. AlgoGames supports learner’s first steps in algorithmic thinking by offering funny and challenging learning situations. Two main options are available to learners. The first one is a micro world, inspired by LOGO, where the student can write and visualize algorithms that create and act upon objects. The second option involves teacher’s reference algorithms; the student is faced with world objects’ behavior and has to mime it. A primary evaluation was conducted showing real game-like motivation in using the system.

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Review: Exergaming and Older Adult Cognition: A Cluster Randomized Clinical Trial

Exergaming and Older Adult Cognition: A Cluster Randomized Clinical Trial

by:  Cay Anderson-Hanley, Paul J. Arciero, Adam M. Brickman, Joseph P. Nimon, Naoko Okuma, Sarah C. Westen, Molly E. Merz, Brandt D. Pence, Jeffrey A. Woods, Arthur F. Kramer, Earl A. Zimmerman

In:American Journal of Preventive Medicine    Volume 42, Issue 2, February 2012, Pages 109–119


Dementia cases may reach 100 million by 2050. Interventions are sought to curb or prevent cognitive decline. Exercise yields cognitive benefits, but few older adults exercise. Virtual reality–enhanced exercise or “exergames” may elicit greater participation.


To test the following hypotheses: (1) stationary cycling with virtual reality tours (“cybercycle”) will enhance executive function and clinical status more than traditional exercise; (2) exercise effort will explain improvement; and (3) brain-derived neurotrophic growth factor (BDNF) will increase.


Multi-site cluster randomized clinical trial (RCT) of the impact of 3 months of cybercycling versus traditional exercise, on cognitive function in older adults. Data were collected in 2008–2010; analyses were conducted in 2010–2011.


102 older adults from eight retirement communities enrolled; 79 were randomized and 63 completed.


A recumbent stationary ergometer was utilized; virtual reality tours and competitors were enabled on the cybercycle.

Main outcome measures

Executive function (Color Trails Difference, Stroop C, Digits Backward); clinical status (mild cognitive impairment; MCI); exercise effort/fitness; and plasma BDNF.


Intent-to-treat analyses, controlling for age, education, and cluster randomization, revealed a significant group X time interaction for composite executive function (p=0.002). Cybercycling yielded a medium effect over traditional exercise (d=0.50). Cybercyclists had a 23% relative risk reduction in clinical progression to MCI. Exercise effort and fitness were comparable, suggesting another underlying mechanism. A significant group X time interaction for BDNF (p=0.05) indicated enhanced neuroplasticity among cybercyclists.


Cybercycling older adults achieved better cognitive function than traditional exercisers, for the same effort, suggesting that simultaneous cognitive and physical exercise has greater potential for preventing cognitive decline.


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Review: Player Behavioural Modelling for Video Games

Player Behavioural Modelling for Video Games

By: Sander C.J. Bakkes, Pieter H.M. Spronck, Giel van Lankveld

in: Entertainment Computing, Available online 6 January 2012

Player behavioural modelling has grown from a means to improve the playing strength of computer programs that play classic games (e.g., chess), to a means for impacting the player experience and satisfaction in video games, as well as in cross-domain applications such as interactive storytelling. In this context, player behavioural modelling is concerned with two goals, namely (1) providing an interesting or effective game AI on the basis of player models, and (2) creating a basis for game developers to personalise gameplay as a whole, and creating new user-driven game mechanics. In this article, we provide an overview of player behavioural modelling for video games by detailing four distinct approaches, namely (1) modelling player actions, (2) modelling player tactics, (3) modelling player strategies, and (4) player profiling. We conclude the article with an analysis on the applicability of the approaches for the domain of video games.

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Review: Enhancing 5th Graders’ Science Content Knowledge and Self-Efficacy Through GBL

Enhancing 5th Graders’ Science Content Knowledge and Self-Efficacy Through Game-Based Learning

in: Computers & Education
In Press, Accepted Manuscript

by: Angela Meluso, Meixun Zheng, Hiller A. Spires, James Lester

Many argue that games can positively impact learning by providing an intrinsically motivating and engaging learning environment for students in ways that traditional school cannot. Recent research demonstrates that games have the potential to impact student learning in STEM content areas and that collaborative gameplay may be of particular importance for learning gains. This study investigated the effects of collaborative and single game player conditions on science content learning and science self-efficacy. Results indicated that there were no differences between the two playing conditions; however, when conditions were collapsed, science content learning and selfefficacy significantly increased. Future research should focus on the composition of collaboration interaction among game players to assess what types of collaborative tasks may yield positive learning gains.

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Review: The role of prescriptive models in learning

The role of prescriptive models in learning

in: Computers & Education

By: J.A.C. Sandberg, B.J. Wielinga, L.H. Christoph

The main research question in this article concerns the added value of a prescriptive model in a simulation/gaming environment: KM Quest. KM Quest is meant to support students in the acquisition of both declarative and procedural knowledge in the domain of Knowledge Management (KM). The prescriptive model (KM model) embedded in the KM Quest environment describes the different steps that need to be taken while solving Knowledge Management problems. The main assumption is that because of the KM model, students more easily acquire knowledge about KM and that they need to use their metacognitive skills to a lesser extent since the KM model partly takes over regulation of learning in a new domain. These hypotheses are investigated in an experiment with two conditions: a no-model versus a model condition. The results of 46 students (23 in each condition) show that students in both conditions acquire declarative and procedural knowledge. Students in the model condition acquire more procedural knowledge and more KM model-specific procedural knowledge than students in the no-model condition. The model condition students also outperform the no-model condition students on a transfer test. However, students in the model condition spent much more time in the learning environment than the students in the no-model condition. Some exploratory evidence is presented that suggests that the inclusion of a prescriptive model changes the nature of the regulation: it appears that students in the model condition spend much time on regulating the use of the KM model, while the regulation activities of the no-model students concerns the domain of KM itself.

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Review: Multimodal design, learning and cultures of recognition

Multimodal design, learning and cultures of recognitionin The Internet and Higher EducationBY: Gunther Kress, Staffan Selander

In this article, a design-oriented, multimodal understanding of learning will be outlined. There seems to be a need for a new conceptualization of learning in an era characterized by an increasing virtual space, blended media and new communicative patterns. This means a broader understanding of learning, and a theoretical understanding of transformational and interactive processes, where meaning-making, the role of agency, and what is seen as proper representations and as signs of learning in a cultural context are central issues.


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Review: The influence of virtual presence

The influence of virtual presence: Effects on experienced cognitive load and learning outcomes in educational computer games

IN: Computers in Human Behavior

BY: Claudia Schrader, Theo J. Bastiaens

Does the immersive design of an educational gaming environment affect learners’ virtual presence and how much do they learn? Does virtual presence affect learning? This study tries to answer these questions by examining the differences in virtual presence and learning outcomes in two different computer-based multimedia environments: a gaming environment with high immersive design vs. hypertext learning environment with low immersive design. As the main focus, the effect of virtual presence on learning is also explained and tested. By identifying virtual presence as a variable that may determine learning, it is argued that computer gaming environments present a new challenge for researchers to investigate, particularly, the effects of virtual presence on the immersive design of games in order to help designers to predict which instructional configurations will maximize learning performance. In general, results revealed that the high-immersive gaming environment leads to the strongest form of virtual presence but also decreased learning. Although regression analyses indicate that virtual presence positively influences trivial- and non-trivial learning outcomes, learners who learned in a low-immersive environment outperformed the gaming group. A mediation analysis showed that the relation between virtual presence and non-trivial learning outcomes is partly mediated through increased cognitive load.

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Review: Playful public participation in urban planning: A case study for online serious games

Playful public participation in urban planning: A case study for online serious games

IN: Computers, Environment and Urban Systems

BY: Alenka Poplin

The aim of this paper is to study the implementation of online games to encourage public participation in urban planning. Its theoretical foundations are based on previous work in public participatory geographical information systems (PP GISs), play and games, with a special focus on serious games. Serious games aim to support learning processes in a new, more playful way. We developed the concept of playful public participation in urban planning, including playful elements such as storytelling, walking and moving, sketching, drawing, and games. A group of students designed an online serious public participatory game entitled NextCampus. The case study used in NextCampus was taken from the real-world question of a possible move of a university campus to a new location in the city of Hamburg, Germany. The development of the serious public participatory game NextCampus resulted in a physical prototype, user interface design, and a computational model of the game. The NextCampus game was tested with the help of two groups of urban planning students and presented to three external experts who provided valuable recommendations for further development. The critical comments questioned the level of complexity involved in such games. The positive comments included recognition of the potential for joy and the playfulness a game like NextCampus could evoke.

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Review: “The role teachers’ expectations and value assessments of video games play in their ado”

The role teachers’ expectations and value assessments of video games play in their adopting and integrating them into their classrooms

British Journal of Educational Technology

Volume 42, Issue 2, pages 197–213, March 2011

By Robert F. Kenny and Rudy McDaniel

Video games have become an essential part of the way people play and learn. While an increasing number of people are using games to learn in informal environments, their acceptance in the classroom as an instructional activity has been mixed. Successes in informal learning have caused supporters to falsely believe that implementing them into the classroom would be a relatively easy transition and have the potential to revolutionise the entire educational system. In spite of all the hype, many are puzzled as to why more teachers have not yet incorporated them into their teaching. The literature is littered with reports that point to a variety of reasons. One of the reasons, we believe, is that very little has been done to convince teachers that the effort to change their curriculum to integrate video games and other forms of technology is worthy of the effort. Not until policy makers realise the importance of professional development and training as an important use of funds will positive changes in thinking and perceptions come about, which will allow these various forms of technology to reach their potential.

The authors have hypothesised that the major impediments to useful technology integration include the general lack of institutional infrastructure, poor teacher training, and overly-complicated technologies. Overcoming these obstacles requires both a top-down and a bottom-up approach. This paper presents the results of a pilot study with a group of preservice teachers to determine whether our hypotheses regarding potential negativity surrounding video games was valid and whether a wider scale study is warranted. The results of this study are discussed along with suggestions for further research and potential changes in teacher training programmes.


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Review:Teachers and gbl:Improving understanding of how to increase efficacy of adoption

Teachers and game-based learning: Improving understanding of how to increase efficacy of adoption

Computers & Education
Volume 56, Issue 2, February 2011, Pages 539-546

By: Diane Jass Ketelhut  and  Catherine C. Schifter
Interest in game-based learning for K-12 is growing. Thus, helping teachers understand how to use these new pedagogies is important. This paper presents a cross-case study of the development of teacher professional development for the River City project, a games-based multi-user virtual environment science curriculum project for middle school children, over three years of its development. Successful professional development required attention to multiple factors including teacher efficacy in using the software, pedagogical issues and school culture. A theoretical model for successful technological implementations is discussed.

Review: A case study of the in-class use of a video game for teaching high school history

A case study of the in-class use of a video game for teaching high school history

Computers & Education
Volume 56, Issue 2, February 2011, Pages 466-474

By: William R. Watson, Christopher J. Mong, Constance A. Harris

This study examines the case of a sophomore high school history class where Making History, a video game designed with educational purposes in mind, is used in the classroom to teach about World War II. Data was gathered using observation, focus group and individual interviews, and document analysis. The high school was a rural school located in a small town in the Midwestern United States. The teacher had been teaching with the game for several years and spent one school week teaching World War II, with students playing the game in class for three days of that week. The purpose of this study was to understand teacher and student experiences with and perspectives on the in-class use of an educational video game. Results showed that the use of the video game resulted in a shift from a traditional teacher-centered learning environment to a student-centered environment where the students were much more active and engaged. Also, the teacher had evolved implementation strategies based on his past experiences using the game to maximize the focus on learning.


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Review: Gamers and gaming context: Relationships to critical thinking

Gamers and gaming context: Relationships to critical thinking

British Journal of Educational Technology

Volume 42, Issue 5, pages 842–849, September 2011

By: Sue Gerber, Logan Scott

Gaming is purported to hold promise for education, in part, because it is thought to develop 21st century skills such as critical thinking. To date, there has been a dearth of generalisable research investigating the relationship between gaming and critical thinking. Results of a survey of 121 adults found that gamers and non-gamers do not differ significantly on critical thinking dispositions. However, gamers who play strategy games scored higher on actively open-minded thinking than did other types of gamers. In addition, low compared with high involvement in the gaming community was associated with higher open-minded thinking. Implications for educators and for further research are discussed.

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Opening The Door: An evaluation of the efficacy of a problem-based learning game


As higher education institutions seek to improve undergraduate education, initiatives are underway to target instructional methods, re-examine curricula, and apply innovative technologies to better engage students with content. This article discusses the findings of an exploratory study focused on a course redesign that game elements, PBL methods, and 3-D communication tools in an introductory computing course. Some of these findings included an appreciation for how the technology skills gained in the course applied to the world of work, an understanding of the significant role that interpersonal communications play in learning and in career success, a sense of empowerment fostered by access to resources, and an increased willingness to play, explore, and experiment with tools, content, and design processes.


► We evaluate a curriculum that blends problem-based learning and game. ► Fantasy narrative may not be necessary in learning games. ► Many students are underprepared for learning game play. ► Balance must be struck between academic work and game reward. ► We provide recommendations for the design and development of learning games.