Introduction to Games-Based Learning

Introduction to Games-Based Learning

Stephen Tang (Liverpool John Moores University, UK), Martin Hanneghan (Liverpool John Moores University, UK) and Abdennour El Rhalibi (Liverpool John Moores University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-360-9.ch001
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Games-based learning takes advantage of gaming technologies to create a fun, motivating, and interactive virtual learning environment that promotes situated experiential learning. Many researchers now believe that this approach can better motivate present day entertainment-driven learners to more thoroughly engage in learning through meaningful activities defined in the game context as opposed to those offered using more traditional didactic approaches. This chapter describes games-based learning, the related terms and scope, current approaches, embedded pedagogies and challenges for providing high-quality education in the 21st Century.
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The 21st Century has witnessed emergent cultures such as ‘blogging’ (Khan & Kellner, 2004), file sharing (Lessig, 2004) and gaming (Pearce, 2006). These digital cultures have significantly changed the ways humans work, communicate, socialise and play and they are also affecting the way younger generations learn. It is crucial that learning is congruent to lifestyle for effective learning to take place (JISC, 2004). These changes in lifestyle are inevitable and have since introduced additional challenges to teachers in providing high-quality education.

One of the significant changes experienced in the education sector is the change of learners’ attitude and their motivation towards learning. Prensky (2005) describes these learners as the ‘engage me or enrage me’ group that comprises most of the present day learners who believe that education is a waste of time and irrelevant. Such attitudes and motivation towards learning is worrying and is one of the many factors contributing to the decline in applications to science and engineering courses experienced by education establishments worldwide despite the growing requirements for more scientists and engineers worldwide (OECD, 2006; Sjøberg & Schreiner, 2006). Other known challenges include increased diversity of learners and their learning styles, increases in what must be learnt by learners and also the highly constrained resources in education and training (FAS, 2006a).

Many believe that computer games can be used to address the aforementioned issues (FAS, 2006a; Gee, 2003; Prensky, 2001) borrowing success stories from the use of computer games in corporate and military training (Buckley & Anderson, 2006; Jayakanthan, 2002; Nieborg, 2004). The idea of using computer games in learning is not new but has been negatively affected by apocalyptic ideology on the effect of video gaming in the 1980’s (Aguilera & Mendiz, 2003; Squire, 2003). Such thoughts can be linked to the early work of Malone (1980) but only recently made popular by Prensky (2001), Gee (2003) and Aldrich (2003). Findings from initial research studies showed that computer games can be used to acquire certain cognitive abilities and improve learners’ understanding in topics presented (Aguilera & Mendiz, 2003; BECTa, 2006; Jenkins, Klopfer, Squire, & Tan, 2003). These preliminary results are convincing and have gained tremendous interest from different sectors including government, academia and industry to further explore the benefits of such opportunities (BECTa, 2006; FAS, 2006a). Many also agree that it is now appropriate to take advantage of gaming technologies to create a new generation of educational technology tools to equip learners of all ages with necessary skills through experiential learning (FAS, 2006a). It is crucial that the education sector is well-informed of the development of such innovative learning approaches and its benefits to offer high-quality education to all types of learner.

This chapter provides an overview of games-based learning by describing computer games, their application in education and training, and related terms used to describe the approach. Educational theory underpinning games-based learning, its approaches, pros, cons and challenges are then discussed before concluding the chapter with a glimpse into the future of games-based learning.

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Table of Contents
Kurt Squire
Thomas Connolly, Mark Stansfield, Liz Boyle
Chapter 1
Stephen Tang, Martin Hanneghan, Abdennour El Rhalibi
Games-based learning takes advantage of gaming technologies to create a fun, motivating, and interactive virtual learning environment that promotes... Sample PDF
Introduction to Games-Based Learning
Chapter 2
Nicola Whitton
This chapter examines the rationale for the use of computer games in learning, teaching, and assessment in Higher Education. It considers their... Sample PDF
Learning and Teaching with Computer Games in Higher Education
Chapter 3
Daniel Livingstone, Jeremy Kemp, Edmund Edgar, Chris Surridge, Peter Bloomfield
Alongside the growth of interest in Games-Based Learning, there has been a notable explosion of interest in the use of 3D graphical multi-user... Sample PDF
Multi-User Virtual Environments for Learning Meet Learning Management
Chapter 4
Jean-Charles Marty, Thibault Carron, Jean-Mathias Heraud
In this chapter, the authors propose a Game-Based LMS called the pedagogical dungeon equipped with cooperation abilities for particular activities.... Sample PDF
Observation as a Requisite for Game-Based Learning Environments
Chapter 5
Marco A. Gómez-Martín, Pedro P. Gómez-Martín, Pedro A. González-Calero
A key challenge to move forward the state of the art in games-based learning systems is to facilitate instructional content creation by the domain... Sample PDF
Content Integration in Games-Based Learning Systems
Chapter 6
Matt Seeney, Helen Routledge
One of the most important differentiators between Commercial Games and Serious Games is content; delivered in a way that is successfully integrated... Sample PDF
Drawing Circles in the Sand: Integrating Content into Serious Games
Chapter 7
Mark McMahon
This chapter proposes a document-oriented instructional design model to inform the development of serious games. The model has key features in that... Sample PDF
The DODDEL Model: A Flexible Document-Oriented Model for the Design of Serious Games
Chapter 8
Daniel Burgos, Christof van Nimwegen
Serious games are suitable for learning. They are a good environment for improving the learning experience. As a key part of this setting, feedback... Sample PDF
Games-Based Learning, Destination Feedback and Adaptation: A Case Study of an Educational Planning Simulation
Chapter 9
Patrick Felicia, Ian Pitt
For a long time, users’ emotions and behaviours have been considered to obstruct rather than to help the cognitive process. Educational systems have... Sample PDF
Profiling Users in Educational Games
Chapter 10
Marco Greco
The use of Role-Playing is becoming prominent in Serious Games due to its positive effects on learning. In this chapter the author will provide a... Sample PDF
The Use of Role–Playing in Learning
Chapter 11
Sanna-Mari Tikka, Marja Kankaanranta, Tuula Nousiainen, Mari Hankala
In the context of computer games, learning is an inherent feature of computer game playing. Computer games can be seen as multimodal texts that... Sample PDF
Telling Stories with Digital Board Games: Narrative Game Worlds in Literacies Learning
Chapter 12
Colin Price
The power of computer game technology is currently being harnessed to produce “serious games”. These “games” are targeted at the education and... Sample PDF
The Path between Pedagogy and Technology: Establishing a Theoretical Basis for the Development of Educational Game Environments
Chapter 13
Sara de Freitas, Steve Jarvis
This chapter reviews some of the key research supporting the use of serious games for training in work contexts. The review indicates why serious... Sample PDF
Towards a Development Approach to Serious Games
Chapter 14
Pieter Wouters, Erik D. van der Spek, Herre van Oostendorp
Despite scant empirical substantiation, serious games are in widespread use. The authors review 28 studies with empirical data from a learning... Sample PDF
Current Practices in Serious Game Research: A Review from a Learning Outcomes Perspective
Chapter 15
Thomas Connolly, Mark Stansfield, Thomas Hainey
The field of games-based learning (GBL) has a dearth of empirical evidence supporting the validity of the approach (Connolly, Stansfield, & Hainey... Sample PDF
Towards the Development of a Games-Based Learning Evaluation Framework
Chapter 16
Helen Routledge
Based on real-world experiences using a variety of digital games, this chapter presents a guide for teachers on how to use games-based learning in... Sample PDF
Games-Based Learning in the Classroom and How it can Work!
Chapter 17
Elizabeth A. Boyle, Thomas Connolly
Developing educational computer games that will appeal to both males and females adds an additional level of complexity to an already complicated... Sample PDF
Games for Learning: Does Gender Make a Difference?
Chapter 18
Maria Saridaki, Dimitris Gouscos, Michael G. Meimaris
Students with Intellectual Disability (ID) are often described as “slow learners” and cannot easily integrate to the normal curriculum. Still, the... Sample PDF
Digital Games-Based Learning for Students with Intellectual Disability
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