Exploring the Educational Power of Serious Games: A Review of Literature

Exploring the Educational Power of Serious Games: A Review of Literature

Carlos Rodríguez-Hoyos (University of Cantabria, Spain) and Maria João Gomes (University of Minho, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0149-9.ch048
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In this chapter, the authors present a review of the state of the art of research carried out over the last few years aimed at a deeper analysis of the educational uses of serious games. In this endeavour, they examined a sample of the scientific work generated between 2008 and 2010 from three sources: Biblioteca do Conhecimento Online, Google Scholar, and the database Edit Lib belonging to the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (ACCE). As a result of this process of analysis and synthesis, the authors present the main lines of research carried out in this field of work and propose a research agenda in order to improve the educational power of edutainment.
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Work Method

Just as happens in all works of this nature, this proposal of meta-analysis has certain difficulties that have led us to take methodological decisions that we are going to justify. For the purpose of this research, we carried out a bibliographic search in three international sources: Biblioteca do Conhecimento Online1, Google Scholar and the database EdiTLib Digital Library for Information Technology and Education, from October to November 2010.

The search focused on the scientific bibliography generated during the years 2008, 2009 and 2010 on serious games, both in journals and in proceedings of international congresses published in English or in Portuguese. Just as Papastergiou (2009), we understood that it was necessary to establish this time limit of three years if we aim to achieve a precise reflection of the rapid changes on this field of research. The search chain used for localizing the works in key words was “videogames” or “serious games” and “education”.

We set out to offer a panoramic vision on those lines of work that had been present over the last few years in researchers’ agendas. For this reason we consider it wise not to restrict the search process only to papers published in specialist journals or in papers presented in meetings on this specific subject, seeking therefore to build a complex vision that broadens the limits of academic subjects that have tackled this area of study. Thus we followed a “funnel” methodological strategy. At first we deemed it necessary not to limit the initial selection of texts attending to subject areas from which they originated (for example, educational technology, computer science, etc.) if we wished to reflect a polyhedric image of this field of work in order to, at a later time, filter our initial sample and to cast our eye over documents in which there was a much clearer link between the serious games with curricular design and development.

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