Games that Motivate to Learn: Design Serious Games by Identified Regulations

Games that Motivate to Learn: Design Serious Games by Identified Regulations

Menno Deen (Fontys University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands) and Ben A.M. Schouten (Fontys University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-495-0.ch016


To accomplish this fit, game designers could not conceal the learning within a game, but explicitly communicate the constructed knowledge to the player. Progressive feedback, the availability of various learning styles in the game, and the embedding of the game in a social environment, might satisfy students’ needs for competence, autonomy and relatedness to significant others. When these needs are satisfied within the context of the educational instructions, students might become motivated to learn during play, and even when the game is over.
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Need Theory: Competence, Autonomy, And Relatedness

Game theorist Sutton-Smith assumes that ‘psychological factors operate internally to determine the range of gratifications that the players will get from the activity and the needs that it will meet’ (1959, p. 24). The psychological factors that determine motivations are researched in what is called Theory of Needs, a part of cognitive psychology. According to Need Theory, (possible) need satisfaction is an essential condition to act. Specific goals, rules and activities (called regulations) may satisfy a particular need and in turn motivate to act.

It remains difficult to pinpoint which needs are satisfied through which regulations. People in different circumstances have different needs. The personal character of needs is stressed by Reiss’ theory of sixteen basic human desires (2004, 2009), for example needs for vengeance, eating, and romance are circumstance dependent. Most likely, these needs are not always of main importance to learning processes, nor are other basic human needs, like physiological needs or needs for safety (Maslow, 1943).

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