Abstracts of the Presentations
For the 9th Irish Conference on Game-Based Learning
IGBL 2019
Cork City
27th and 28th June 2019

Copyright The Authors, 2019. All Rights Reserved.

No reproduction, copy or transmission may be made without written permission from the individual authors. Abstracts submitted to this conference have been peer reviewed before final acceptance to the conference. Many thanks to the reviewers who helped ensure the quality of the full papers. This Booklet of abstracts and other conference materials is provided to conference participants for use at the conference.



This book of abstracts represent the work of teachers, students, practitioners and researchers participating in the 6th Irish Conference on Game-Based Learning, which is being hosted this year in Cork City, Ireland, on the 28th and 29th June 2019. The Conference has become a key platform for individuals to present their research findings, display their work in progress and discuss conceptual advances in many different areas and specialties within Games‐Based Learning. It also offers the opportunity for like‐minded individuals to meet, discuss and share knowledge. The Irish Conference on Game Based Learning (iGBL), formerly Irish Symposium on Game-Based Learning, now in its sixth year, provides a forum for all stakeholders interested in exchanging ideas, projects, and best practice on the use of games and game-based approaches to support motivation, learning, and change. It is a forum for like-minded people ( i.e., students, teachers, researchers, or companies) to meet and share this enthusiasm for this platform. Research students have an opportunity to present their work, meet specialists in this field and obtain feedback on their work. Teachers and other practitioners will have the opportunity to discover new ideas and learn new game-based skills that they can integrate in their teaching. Companies will be able to showcase their products and explain how these can be used in the context of learning and motivation. iGBL was created in 2011 as a symposium, as an initiative and forum for games- and technology-enthusiasts to provide them with the opportunity to share ideas on how games can be used to teach, train and promote change in both formal and informal learning environments. The conference includes a mix of academic presentations, practical workshops, digital and non-digital games demos, along with plenty of opportunities to network. There are 40 presentations, including student presentations, research presentations, posters, and practitioner presentations, workshops, game demos, from Ireland, England, France, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Malaysia, and the United States of America. We hope that you have an enjoyable conference and that it fulfills your expectations.

Dr. Patrick Felicia

Conference Director

Conference Committee

Conference Director and Chair
Patrick Felicia, Waterford Institute of Technology

Advisory Board Members Conference Board Members


Conference Director

Dr. Patrick Felicia
Patrick Felicia, PhD, is a lecturer and researcher at Waterford Institute of Technology, where he teaches and supervises undergraduate and postgraduate students. He obtained his MSc in Multimedia Technology in 2003 and PhD in Computer Science in 2009 from University College Cork, Ireland. Patrick has a keen interest in the design and development of engaging educational multimedia-based application for secondary and third level. He is specialized in Game-Based Learning, Multimedia, Educational Psychology, and Instructional Design. He is Editor-In-Chief of the International Journal of Game-Based Learning (IJGBL) and has also served on program committees for international Game-Based Learning and Technology-Enhanced Learning conferences and journals. Patrick is the conference director for the Irish Symposium on Game-Based Learning, a popular conference organized in Ireland, on the topic on games and learning (http://igblconference.wordpress.com/), and the chair of the Game-Based Learning Research Group at WIT. Patrick is currently conducting research in the fields of adaptive educational games and user profiling in video games. He is also investigating the factors that may facilitate or prevent the integration of GBL in primary, secondary and third-level education. In addition to his research on GBL, he also focuses on promoting programming through the creation of games (www.learntocreategames.com)

Advisory Board

Prof. Maja Pivec
FH-Prof DI Dr. Maja Pivec is professor of Applied Game Design and Learning with Multimedia at the Institute of Design & Communication. Her research interests are in the field of affective and emotional aspects of human-computer interaction, with emphasis on game design, game-based learning and innovative learning approaches, and different aspects of e-learning. She is co-ordinator, scientific leader or partner in several EU or national founded projects. Her research work is published and presented at more than 100 international conferences and publications. She teaches also at the degree European Masters for EC Project Management and at the Master de Animacion at UPV in Valencia. She is editor and co-editor of four book publications in the area of innovative learning approaches. She is guest editor of eLearning Papers n43 - Applied Games and Gamification - Drivers for Change, July 2015. She was hosting European Conference on Game-Based Learning in 2009 and will be hosting the European Conference on Game-Based Learning in 2017.

Prof. Hamish MacLeod
Hamish Macleod is a Senior lecturer within the Institute for Education, Community and Society (ECS), and Programme Selector for the MSc. His background is in biology and psychology, and particular interests are in the uses of computer-mediated communications and game-informed approaches in teaching and learning.

Biographies of Presenting Authors

Ms. Riikka Aurava
Riikka Aurava is a PhD Researcher at the Game Research Lab of Tampere University, Finland. Her current research focus is in game jams and education. She has a strong background in teaching media education, literature and Finnish language in general upper secondary school. She is interested in innovative use of games in education, especially in formal general education, aka schools. Her other interests are storytelling and dragons, dice and fantasy, books and coffee, steampunk and afternoon tea, tabletop role playing games and intersectional feminism, and she would be more than happy to do more research involving all or some of them.

Dr. Stephen Barrett
Professor Stephen Barrett is an Assistant Professor at the School of Computing and Statistics, TCD, with responsibilities for research and teaching. A specialist in distributed systems engineering, with particular interest in scalable non-monotonic argumentation systems, his published research work ranks with a h-index of 17 and i10-index of 21, with in excess of 700 citations to date. His work has focussed in recent years on the application of quantitative methods to qualitative research questions in software engineering practice, treating software development as a computational sociological phenomenon, with particular focus on the contributing role of individuals in the collaborative creation of the software artefact. He has acted as a programme director, panel member, assessor and external examiner for a number of software engineering focussed educational and government sectoral programmes at university and national level, and maintains a strong interest in applied innovation in the teaching and assessment of software engineering practice. He has served as course director for the TCD MSc (Networks and Distributed Systems), and has served on the executive of the School of Computer Science and Statistics. His primary research goal is to understand and positively impact on how software engineers learn and perform their craft.

Mr. Zoran Bogdanović
Zoran Bogdanović graduated from Faculty of Economics, Belgrade, and is enrolled at Secondary School of Economics, Krusevac, where he teaches economics subjects. He has been involved in Yunior Achievement Serbia programmes for five years and development of educational board game about economics - 96. His interest lies in the student's learning economics methods and how to improve them, as well as different related topics including entrepreneurship, marketing, management, and finance. Zoran has seen the power of gaming in his classroom and believes there is a way to motivate students in an educational setting throughout the use of the meaningful educational game. His goal is to find ways to develop and spread unformal learning of economics and entrepreneurship throughout this board game. Zoran has a variety of interests including basketball and cooking.

Ms. Rosa Bottino
Rosa Bottino is a senior researcher of the Italian National Research Council and she is currently the Director of CNR Institute for Educational Technology. Her research interests are in the field of educational research and the role of information and communication technologies for improving teaching and learning processes. She is the author of more than 100 scientific publications both in national and international journals, books and conference proceedings. Rosa Bottino promoted and chaired both national and European projects and Networks of Exellence in Technology Enhanced Learning. She organized and participated in many national and international conferences and is member of international research associations and journal editorial boards. Dr. Bottino received international awards like IFIP Silver Core Award and IFIP Outstanding Services Award, moreover, some of her papers received best paper awards at international conferences. She has acted as expert evaluator of international projects and research institutions.

Dr. Linda Butler
Dr Linda Butler is a Lecturer in Education in the School of Education at Hibernia College Dublin. She oversees research for the Professional Master in Education (PME) in Primary Education. She has previously taught both on the Post Primary and Masters in Teaching and Learning (MATL). She is part of the working group for the Implementation Advisory Group (IAG) on the Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020 and is currently researching Teacher Perspectives on Piloting the New Computer Science Leaving Certificate Subject. Her interests include: initial teacher education, education research, creative pedagogies, and synergising digital technologies with pedagogical principles that inform initial teacher education.

Ms. Alexandra Carter
Alexandra Carter is a writer, designer, educator, and artist with a background in research in the history and design of games. Her research focused on the ways in which games express cultural values and goals, looking comparatively at German and American games. Her work also includes practical applications of game design, concept, and theory. She has developed and used games as immersive learning experiences that encourage collaboration and creative problem-solving for kindergarten- to college-level students. She also taught game design courses to elementary, middle, and high school students. She is an avid player of both analog and digital games. Currently, she is consulting for Walt Disney Imagineering on creating immersive, themed entertainment spaces and developing content and curriculum for online courses at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Mr. Sean Carton
Sean Carton is a game designer with over 15 years experience in the genre of lane-pushing games. He maintains the genre's most comprehensive game design and history resource 'Lane-Pushing Games', and is currently the lead designer on a new game called Causeway which explores leadership skill development within online gaming. He has been involved in scouting for over 20 years, and also works at Ireland's leading career guidance and information website CareersPortal.ie: improving awareness of soft skills, visualising data to enable self-learning, and empowering career choices.

Dr. Augusto Chioccariello
Augusto Chioccariello obtained his Physics degree (magna cum laude) in 1980 at the University of Naples. From 1982 to 1986, he worked in physics education at the Educational Technology Centre, UC Irvine, initially as a CNR research fellow and subsequently as project manager. In 1986, he joined CNR-ITD as a researcher and he worked on exploiting multimedia technology in design and development of learning systems. Dr. Chioccariello has collaborated with Reggio Emilia infant schools, exploring the use of computational play kits as learning tools for early childhood education. More recently he has coordinated CNR-ITD's participation into the Inspiring Science Education EU project. He is currently coordinating CNR-ITD Programming to Learn in Primary School project

Ms, Amber Coen Collins
I am primarily a concept artist. I wish to inspire people with new ideas and visual styles. I have a strong passion for all types of visual arts. I would love to see the medium of game design be recognised for its creative input into the art world. Since video games are a visual medium, it is paramount for the visuals and style to reflect the experience you are trying to convey. As the medium develops, so should the art and inspiration which is a cornerstone of the medium.

Mr. Naoise Collins
Naoise Collins trained as a primary school teacher in Marino Institute of Education. He was a primary school teacher for five years and taught in a huge variety of environments: disadvantaged schools, gaelscoils, gaeltacht schools, Educate Together schools, etc. He went on to complete his masters in TU Dublin in creative digital media where he developed digital games to teach computer programming. He was the senior educational consultant with Edanu: an IT training company for the Irish education sector. He left Wicklow at the age of 9 and moved to Connemara to a fully immersive Irish language environment. From there he grew a passion for language and a deep interest into further developing language acquisition skills. He was awarded Student whom made outstanding contribution to developing Irish within the college Marino Institute of Education (2012). He is currently lecturing game development and board game design in CTYI (centre for talented youth) and is a part time lecturer in game systems in Technological University Dublin. He is a core member of the ViRAL research lab, an AR/VR software development and research lab in TU Dublin. He is a Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Programme awardee and his research project is funded by the Irish Research Council.

Ms. Anne Crowley
Anne is a lecturer and researcher at Cork Institute of Technology, currently completing her PhD with the Institute of Education in Dublin City University. Anne's academic qualifications are in the fields of Business, Computer Science and Education, her professional qualifications are in Project Management and Digital Marketing and she is an academic associate member of CIPD. Following a 15 year career in the IT industry in Ireland, the US and Europe, Anne has been lecturing at third level for over 10 years. Teaching and research interests include educational technology, pedagogy, graduate employability, information technology, project management and corporate strategy.

Dr. Charlie Cullen
Dr. Cullen is head of the Institute for Creative Technologies and Advanced Computing (ICTAC) in the University of the West of Scotland, where he is a Reader in Creative Computing. He has been principal investigator on over €20M of competitively funded Irish, European, UK and industrial projects. He has patented and licensed research IP, and is currently writing 2 books on Audio Electronics.

Ms. Mary Donato
Mary E. Donato received her M.A in Communication Studies Research and Theory from West Virginia University in 2014. While completing her Ph.D. in Communication Studies, Mary is an Assistant Professor at Buena Vista University teaching in the areas of Business Communication, Presentational Communication, and Public Relations. Her research interests lie in the intersection of Family and Health Communication including work on bystander behavior, sibling conflict, and in-law relationships. With a graduate foundation in pedagogy and Instructional Communication, she is always eager to find innovative ways for effective learning in the classroom.

Dr Pierpaolo Dondio
Dr. Pierpaolo Dondio is a Lecturer at the School of Computer Science, Technological University Dublin, where is a member of the Applied Intelligence Research Group. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Trinity College Dublin and a PgD in Teaching and Learning. His main research interest is in the discipline of Intelligent Systems, including multi-agent and collaborative systems, personalization, adaptive systems and content analytics. He is recently investigating how user-generated content can be used to teach Computer programming, and how STEM education can be enhanced by adaptive serious games.

Mr. Max Drazewski
This year, I've had the pleasure of working with AnimaVenture on gamifying their app, with a team of my fellow students. Games have been omnipresent in my life from a young age. They've not only served as entertainment, but also a space to learn and discover new things, to visualise and experiment in a low risk, easy to reset environment. For these reasons, I hope games will continue to be integrated into the learning landscape where they belong. My personal aspiration is to make unique, compelling and expressive games.

Mr. Mark Featherstone
After many years working as a games developer, I now run the games development undergraduate course as a senior lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University. While working as a commercial game developer I helped create video games on PC and Xbox for companies such as Gremlin, Rage Games, Infogrammes, NCSoft and more recently as an independent game developer at Moonpod. My research focus is in the area of games based learning and the use of video game design principles in education. I am also the Technical Director at Steel Minions Games Studio, which provides work-based simulation for game development students

Dr. Patrick Felicia
Patrick Felicia, PhD, is a lecturer and researcher at Waterford Institute of Technology, where he teaches and supervises undergraduate and postgraduate students. He obtained his MSc in Multimedia Technology in 2003 and PhD in Computer Science in 2009 from University College Cork, Ireland. Patrick has a keen interest in the design and development of engaging educational multimedia-based application for secondary and third level. He is specialized in Game-Based Learning, Multimedia, Educational Psychology, and Instructional Design. He is Editor-In-Chief of the International Journal of Game-Based Learning (IJGBL) and has also served on program committees for international Game-Based Learning and Technology-Enhanced Learning conferences and journals. Patrick is the conference director for the Irish Symposium on Game-Based Learning, a popular conference organized in Ireland, on the topic on games and learning (http://igblconference.wordpress.com/), and the chair of the Game-Based Learning Research Group at WIT. Patrick is currently conducting research in the fields of adaptive educational games and user profiling in video games. He is also investigating the factors that may facilitate or prevent the integration of GBL in primary, secondary and third-level education. In addition to his research on GBL, he also focuses on promoting programming through the creation of games (www.learntocreategames.com)

Lucia Ferlino
Lucia Ferlino is a researcher at the Italian National Research Council, Institute for Educational Technologies. She has been involved in activities related to digital resources for education, e-learning and e-inclusion. She is responsible of "Essediquadro", an experimental online service that provides comprehensive, up-to-date information on educational software, together with support for integrating software into teaching and learning. The service was established in 1999 by the Institute for Educational Technology (ITD) in conjunction with Italy's Ministry for Education and Research. Furthermore, as a pedagogist and Educational Technologies expert, she collaborates with the department of Education Sciences of the University of Genova, where she is in charge of the course "Educational Technologies for Disabilities" for prospective primary teachers.

Mr. Shaun Ferns
Shaun Ferns is a lecturer at TU Dublin Blanchardstown since 2002 and is currently involved in the delivery of Creative Digital Media programme. He is particularly interested in new approaches to delivery through the intersection of emerging technology and pedagogy. His research interests include flexible modes of delivery, assessment (peer & self), and active learning strategies.

Mr Joe Fitzpatrick
Joe Fitzpatrick's primary research focus is in auditory perception and auditory scene analysis. His work explores what roles the various phenomena of auditory scene analysis play in the design of auditory displays and sonification applications. He has just completed a transfer to PhD (through viva voce examination) and expects to finalise his PhD research in 2020 at Limerick Institute of Technology. To date he has published and presented papers at Audio Mostly, Sound Music Computing, and locally in Limerick City. He is currently a member of the Interactive Systems Research group within LIT where he is also involved in various research projects with partnering SMEs through Enterprise Ireland.

Laura Freina
Laura Freina is a researcher at the Italian National Research Council. After investigating the impact of immersion in a virtual world on performance in a visuo-spatial task, she organized some experiments involving primary school students aiming at fostering their spatial reasoning abilities through the use of digital games. These abilities have a positive impact on school performance and strongly correlate with success in STEM areas. She is now involved in the definition of a learning path for the introduction of computational thinking in formal primary education through game making activities. The learning path was outlined and tested during the last school year, and is now in use in a longer study involving grades from 3 to 5 of a primary school.

Dr. Sonja Gabriel
Sonja Gabriel has been a senior professor for media literacy at University College for Teacher Education Vienna/Krems (Austria) since 2017. She teaches pre-service and in-service teachers about digital media usage at schools, publishes and does research in the field of digital media for teaching and learning. Her special focus in research is on digital games (and game-design concepts) and their use in schools as well as digital games and human rights education. She studied German and English at the university of Vienna, did two master's degrees on Educational Media and Applied Game Studies. Her dissertation dealt with knowledge management. Until 2011, she was teaching at a secondary business college.

Dr. Greg Garvey
Greg Garvey is the Director of Game Design & Development at Quinnipiac University. He has exhibited his interactive installations at Odetta Gallery, Harvest Works and Pratt Manhattan Gallery in New York; at the Landesmuseum in Linz, Austria; the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; Tech Fest in Mumbai, India and elsewhere. He started in the games industry at Parker Brothers and later Spinnaker Software developing mass market and educational games.

Dr. Marco Gillies
Marco Gillies is Academic Director of Distance Learning for Goldsmiths. His role involves developing and supporting new initiatives in online and distance learning. This includes short courses in a MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) format, working with partners such as Coursera and FutureLearn and also developing full online degrees. This work is in close collaboration with the University of London International Academy. He also does work to support blended and online learning on campus via our VLE, learn.gold. Marco is also a reader in Computing and a pioneer of interdisciplinary computing at Goldsmiths. He was one of the founders of the creative computing degree and has since been instrumental in developing several other interdisciplinary degrees including Digital Arts Computing and Games Programming. He is a co-founder of the Embodied Audio-Visual Interaction (EAVI) group. He has previously been Director of Studies for Computing and Deputy Head of Department.

Mr. Daniel Griffin
Daniel is a web developer and lecturer specializing in rich media elearning applications, learning management systems and the LAMP stack. He is passionate about open source and the benefits it can offer, and he strives to integrate it into his projects whenever appropriate. Daniel is currently a PhD student at Trinity College Dublin.

Mr. Matthias Hütthaler
Matthias Hütthaler has been working in teacher training at the University College for Teacher Education Vienna/Krems (Austria) since 2011. His main areas of teaching and research are media didactics and media education in elementary school. From 2010-2015 he was a teacher in an elementary school in Lower Austria. He studied Information Management and E Learning at the Pedagogical University of the Diocese of Linz.

Dr. Leslie Haas
Dr. Leslie Haas' experiences include teaching in K-12, undergraduate, and graduate settings. She also has experience as an instructional coach, professional development specialist, and department administrator. Her primary area of interest includes digital literacy opportunities and motivation for English language learners through engagement with popular culture, specifically gaming and fan fiction.

Mr. Ruben Hamilius
Ruben Hamilius is Head of Partnerships for Diversity Movement, a training organisation that leverages the power of games to create and deliver powerful learning experiences on diversity and inclusion. As schools and workplaces become more international, creating a cohesive community among people of different backgrounds is crucial to a productive and harmonious environment. Diversity Movement was launched to help shape that community. Through innovative experiential learning activities, it encourages participants to accept and appreciate different cultural behaviors and beliefs, while helping them recognize the value of a diverse team. Born in Belgium, with dual Luxembourgish nationality, Ruben spent the early part of his career working in Brand Management at Procter and Gamble in Switzerland and Singapore before relocating to Ireland with his Malaysian-Chinese partner where he established and managed firstly Businessgames Ireland, and later Diversity Movement. At its core Diversity Movements reflects Ruben's own beliefs in training; that it should be fun, engaging and interactive, with learning that can be applied to the day-to-day workplace. Ruben regularly volunteers with Business in the Community Ireland to support their drive for inclusive work environments. Outside work Ruben is an avid alpinist and adventurer, and has enjoyed exploring the Wicklow Way.

Mr. Sanaul Haque
Sanaul Haque holds a MSc in Telecommunications in the Business Environment from Queen Mary, University of London and a BSc (Hons) in Business Information Systems from University of East London. Since then, S Haque has engaged himself as a Project Researcher and conducting interdisciplinary research activities. He has been involved in several EU funded projects under the FP7 and H2020 programme. He is a member of IEEE and IAENG. His research interests are Behavioural Change, Persuasive Technology, Gamification and Game-based Learning.

Ms. Charly Harbord
I am from a small farming village in North East Scotland; which felt like the smallest place in the world. Games were a gateway to the outer limits of the universe and I was soon hooked. Wanting to explore the world I moved to Fuzhou, China to take up a position as an English teacher in a high school. Whilst living in China I completed an Honours degree in Mandarin and Chinese culture. I returned to Scotland to work in a school whilst completing a Masters in International Education. Once I realised that schoolteacher was not the role for me, I joined Abertay University as a member of staff. It was here that I really found my feet working on the prestigious Masters of Professional Practice Orientation Programme (MPPOP) which takes place in Beijing, China and prepares students to enter the Professional Masters in Games Design (MProf) Masters programme in Dundee. Working so closely with the games department at Abertay has reignited my passion for games and also afforded me the opportunity to undertake a PhD in Games which focuses on the use of RPG to enhance second language acquisition. I am now designing and developing my own RPG.

Mr. John P Healy
John P Healy is a Lecturer in game design teaching on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in the School of Media at TU Dublin. John is currently researching across the fields of game-based learning and human-computer interaction as part of his PhD in Playable Social Interactions. Prior to joining TU Dublin John was Head of the Games and Animation Department at Pulse College and has worked on games for Jagex Game Studios and Jolt Online Gaming which have been played by millions of players worldwide. He continues to act as a game design consultant on a freelance basis.

Dr. Andreas Hellerstedt
Andreas Hellerstedt is a Ph. D. in the History of Ideas (Stockholm University, 2009). His research and teaching has focused primarily on early modern European intellectual history, including political and moral philosophy, the history of universities, theories of education, 'mirrors for princes' and princely education, but also the history of natural law and moral philosophy. He is the editor of the recent volume Virtue Ethics and Education from Late Antiquity to the 18th century (Amsterdam University Press, 2018). With Peter Mozelius, he is also co-author of a recent article on the concept of game/play in the educational theory of 17th century philosopher John Amos Comenius

Mr. Juan Hiriart
Juan Hiriart is a digital designer and full-time lecturer at the University of Salford, in Greater Manchester. He started his professional career as a designer and artist, later specialising in games design and development. He has developed mobile, casual and serious games for a variety of clients, including BBC, United Airlines, Philips, Gorillaz, and Iron Maiden. As a Higher education lecturer, he has taught across a range of programmes in design, information design, and games development. He is in the final stage of completion of a Ph.D. research exploring the intersections between games, history, and education. He is particularly interested in the development and use of games for the meaningful and critical understanding of subjects across disciplines.

Ms. Stella James
Stella James is a mother of two young children and Head Gooseberry of Gooseberry Planet - an award-winning educational software platform developed to educate children, teachers and parents how to be safe online. As one of the Government's top 3 priorities, online safeguarding is hugely important and a 'hot' topic in education. With children now spending increasingly more time online and with more than half of them using social media before the age of the 10, it is vital that the younger generation are taught how to use the internet responsibly and are aware of the dangers found online. In response to this, Stella developed Gooseberry Planet to enable schools to effectively teach pupils about staying safe online. She says, "If Gooseberry Planet can save one child from being groomed or sexually exploited, then it has achieved my goal". Stella is passionate about broadening conversations around online safety and protecting young children online. She regularly delivers presentations and workshops to schools and school associations and runs CPD training courses to organisations in the education sector. Stella's sessions offer an informed and thought-provoking insight into the issues surrounding online safety and safeguarding, discussing how schools can meet statutory requirements and deliver engaging and regular discourses around online safety for pupils.

Ms. Rokaia Jedir
Rokaia Jedir is a postgraduate researcher at the Interactive Systems Research Group (ISRG), Limerick Institute of Technology. In 2018 she graduated with a first-class honours BSc degree in Music Technology and Production, and is currently pursuing a MSc degree with intentions to transfer to PhD in 2020. Her primary research interests include psychoacoustics, working memory, and human-computer interaction in general. Currently, her research is dedicated to developing a computational model of human working memory (WM) as applied to the auditory perceptual system, aimed at contributing to the development of next-generation multimodal interface design. Having an interest in audio standards, she is also a member of TC 02/SC 03/WG 01, a NSAI mirror committee of the international standards working group ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 11.

Dr. John Jessel
Dr. John Jessel is Reader and Director of Research in the Department of Educational Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London. His research activities focus on digital technologies, connectivity, and the social and cognitive processes that underlie learning and development both inside and outside of formal educational settings. These include dialogical processes and the development of ideas in virtual communities and networks as well as in a range of other contexts where individuals or groups are engaged in collaborative activities involving the use of digital technologies.

Dr. Emily K. Johnson
Emily K. Johnson, Ph.D., is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Games and Interactive Media at the University of Central Florida. She leverages her 8 years of experience teaching middle school Language Arts in interdisciplinary research with educational technology of all kinds, including VR, AR, MR, PC, and non-traditional interfaces, as well as simulations, gameful learning, self-regulated learning, learner motivation, and self-efficacy.

Mr. Ville Kankainen
Ville Kankainen (MSc) is a researcher and a PhD student in the Tampere University Game Research Lab with a background in game design. In his dissertation Kankainen studies how the use of digital media changes the board game culture. He has worked as a researcher in Game Research Lab since 2014, and his research interests are focused on game jams, hybrid play, board game culture and game design. He has co-written several research articles and has been teaching game studies part-time for four years. Kankainen is also a board member of Finnish Game Jam organization, and has partaken in organizing several game jam events around Finland.

Dr. Joseph Kehoe
Joseph Kehoe holds a PhD in Computing from Dublin City University and an MSc from University College Dublin. He has worked in education at both secondary and tertiary levels. He has worked as a consultant in industry and ran his own company doing consultancy, training and custom software development for a number of years. He is course director of the BSc in Software Development and has previously been course director of the BSc in Computer Games Development. While acting as head of department of Computing (2002-2004) he completed the first programmatic review of the department, set up the summer school in computing and helped set up the Computer Games Degree. He lectures to all levels and is currently joint leader of the gameCORE research group in IT Carlow.

Dr. Aphra Kerr
Dr. Aphra Kerr is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Sociology at Maynooth University in Ireland, and founder of www.gamedevelopers.ie. Her research focuses on the production, policy and user challenges of games, media and technology. Current projects are focussed on data innovations and inequalities, the role of artificial intelligence in communication, and gender and diversity issues in digital games. She is elected chair of the Communication Policy & Technology section of the International Association for Media and Communications Research (IAMCR) and was a founding member of the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA). In 2016 she was selected as a DiGRA Distinguished Scholar for contributions to the field of game studies. Recent publications include Global Games: Production, Circulation and Policy in the Networked Era, Routledge, 2017.
Homepage - https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/sociology/our-people/aphra-kerr

Mr. Mark Keyes
Mark has been employed at TU Dublin - Blanchardstown Campus since 2009, initially as a lecturer and currently as Work Placement Coordinator. With a background of over 20 years' experience in the construction industry, he has been active in the development and delivery of up-skilling programmes in the fields of energy efficiency, renewable energy and building retrofit. Since 2011, he has managed a number EU funded project activities, including Build UP Skills Ireland (BUSI) and QualiBuild, where he led work packages developing upskilling programmes for construction workers in the field of low energy buildings. Mark is currently responsible for coordinating Learn + Work programmes at TU Dublin, an innovative model of training designed in collaboration with industry. His research interests include active learning and the enhancement of learning via interactive/multimodal digital resources. Mark is a qualified Building Technician and holds a Diploma in Arts Training & Education) from NUI Galway and an MSc in Applied eLearning from DIT.

Dr. Amy Larner-Giroux
Amy Larner Giroux, PhD, is Associate Director of UCF's Center for Humanities and Digital Research, where she assists faculty and graduate students with their digital projects. Dr. Giroux's research involves the contact zone between humans and technology within the intersections of history and learning. By leveraging technologies such as AR/VR, she brings learning to both classroom and field. Dr. Giroux is the author of "Navigating People, Paper, and Pixels: Examining Contact Zones With(in) the Past" in Florida Studies (2018), and co-author of "Evaluating Multi-Criteria Connection Mechanisms: A New Algorithm for Browsing Digital Archives" in Digital Scholarship in the Humanities (2017).

Mr. Basil Lim
As a Game Design lecturer, Basil teaches the core tenets of game design and it's application in modern digital artifacts, both as games and as "serious games". He teaches via practical and theoretical methods with a constant focus on formative feedback and practical learning, with a heavy focus on core mechanics and elegance of design.

Mr. James Lockwood
James Lockwood is an educational researcher and practitioner working with Camara Education Ireland. He is currently project manager of a Maths project for primary school students in formal and informal education settings. Prior to this he worked and studied in Maynooth University in the area of Computer Science and education. This work involved teaching various courses from CoderDojo, summer camps, undergraduate courses and pre-college courses. He recently completed a Research MSc. looking at Computational Thinking in secondary school. Through this he developed a course to teach Computer Science to secondary school students which is being used by teachers across Ireland. His work on this project has been published in a number of academic journals and conferences.

Prof. Hamish MacLeod
Hamish Macleod is a Senior lecturer within the Institute for Education, Community and Society (ECS), and Programme Selector for the MSc. His background is in biology and psychology, and particular interests are in the uses of computer-mediated communications and game-informed approaches in teaching and learning.

Ms. Lauren Maher
Lauren is currently a researcher for TU Dublin, Blanchardstown campus. Her research is focused on creating a 'serious game' to deliver skill based training to construction based learners. She holds a First-class honours degree from the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown. Lauren has always had an interest in using video games as educational and learning tools. In 2018 she created, tested and launched a children's interactive story app to help children understand and cope with bereavement. Her research interests include interactive storytelling, serious games, and interactive media

Ms. Ana Martins
Ana Martins a scientific academic working in the field of learning games. She is currently concluding a PhD in Educational Sciences (Technology Enhanced Learning) at the University of Minho, Portugal. She is researching game-based learning, working with teachers and middle school students to explore and understand how having students as educational game designers impacts their motivation and learning. She has worked on developing a serious game for medical education at the Institute of Molecular Medicine (Lisbon, 2012-2014), have been a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Technology, Education and Development Conference (Valencia, 2014), and have been a judge on the International Business Learning Games Competition (Dublin 2016, Lisbon 2017-2018). She has been the primary author on a number of papers, including "Developing a Prototype of an Oncobiology Serious Game for Medical Education" (IEEE, 2013), "Teaching Fractions to Primary School Students with Videogames - A Comparison between Instructivist and Constructionist Approaches" (INTED, 2016), and "Students as Creators of Educational Games - Learning to Use Simple Frameworks and Tools to Empower Students as Educational Game Designers" (EdMedia, 2018), and has presented her work in several international conferences, including SeGAH, ICERI, INTED, EdMedia, ECGBL, and IBLGC.

Mr. Jamie McCarthy
Jamie McCarthy is a 20 year old Games Design student in TU Dublin. He has always had a passion for storytelling and watching how people tell their own stories. This led to his interest and enrollment in Games Design. He has also been teaching in various forms since the age of 13, starting with a local first aid group before working as an assistant in local schools, and his current job as a swim teacher with the Dublin City Council. While working here he developed an interest in using games to teach swimming, and how children learn differently in groups through the use of games. Jamie took a particular interest in this current project upon hearing about a lack of available games that feature differently abled protagonists. He looks forward to continuing to work to promote inclusion and education through games.

Mr. Richard McCurry
Richard Mc Curry has had a fascination for language learning for the past two decades. He has spent the last 5 years cracking Mandarin Chinese, the 'boogeyman' of Modern Foreign Languages. Which, despite a shockingly low word count and laughably simple grammar has a 94% dropout rate from new learners. He has realised, like everyone else, that a pedagogy based in brute memorization, has no place in the modern digital world. He was the winner of the overall New Frontiers start-up incubator programme, a two time prize winner in Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur competition and was awarded Enterprise Ireland's €50K Competitive start funding prize for this current venture, Newby Chinese.

Mr. Mikko Meriläinen
Mikko Meriläinen is a researcher at Tampere University in Finland, and holds an M. A. degree in Education from the University of Helsinki. He is currently focusing on developing and studying game jamming, a process of rapid, time-constrained game creation, as an educational method. In addition to his game jam work, Mikko is currently finalizing his doctoral dissertation at the University of Helsinki on young gamers and parenting related to digital games, and is one of Finland's leading experts on the subject. Being a life-long gamer and having previously worked in problematic gaming prevention, the complex relationships between gaming and well-being are among his key research interests.

Mr. Peter Mozelius
Peter Mozelius is currently working as a PostDoc researcher at the Department of Computer and Systems Sciences at the Mid Sweden University in östersund, Sweden. Research interests are in the areas of Game-based learning, Blended learning, Programming education and ICT4D. In the field of Game-based learning he has conducted several studies on the use of games and game construction in programming education. Furthermore, Peter has, together with Andreas Hellerstedt, published articles on using games in history education and on the history of Game-based learning.

Mr. David Murphy
Mr. David Murphy joined UCC in 1998 as a lecturer and helped introduce Multimedia as a discipline in to the University. He is currently the Programme Director for the MSc in Interactive Media, and the BA Digital Humanities & Information Technology. His research interests are in the areas of Virtual Reality/Mixed Reality, Serious Games, HCI/Cognitive Ergonomics, and Spatial Sound. In 2005 David established the Interactive Multimedia Lab (IMCLab), which later became the MAVRIC Lab (Mixed Augmented Virtual Reality and Immersive Computing). This lab has undertaken various funded research projects, with international and industry collaborators, resulting in a number of PhD graduates and successfully completed projects. In 2018 David became a member of the INSIGHT Research Centre, leading up research initiatives focused on Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality research. David is also a member of the international organisation VR First, and the NSAI/MPEG WG11 advisory group.

Dr. John Murray
Dr. John Murray is a business consultant and early-stage technology investor in Silicon Valley, California. He holds a Visiting Scientist appointment at San José State University, and recently retired from SRI International, where he was a Program Director in the Computer Science Laboratory. His research interests encompass interactive collaborative systems, computer gaming, mobile communications systems, human cognitive engineering, and global cyber-research ethics. Dr. Murray has led many innovative interdisciplinary systems research and development projects both in academia and in industry. His technical experience includes data fusion and diagnostic modeling in complex networked systems, software architecture, and mobile wearable computer systems. The primary applications of his work have been in smart product design, remote mobile communications, education systems, transportation infrastructure, and software security and reliability. Prior to joining SRI, Dr. Murray held technical leadership and executive management positions at several large international corporations and innovative startup enterprises. He is a Fellow of the UK Institution of Engineering and Technology, holds several patents, and has authored numerous journal publications and papers. Dr. Murray has received advanced engineering degrees from Dublin Institute of Technology in Ireland; Stanford University, California, and the University of Michigan, where he was also an adjunct faculty member.

Mr. Michael Nader
Michael Nader has been working the University College for Teacher Education Vienna/Krems (Austria) since 2002. He teaches technical training, research and practice in primary schools as well as socio-cultural studies. Before, he was a primary school teacher in Lower Austria from 1994 to 2001. Other fields of work are Education for Sustainable Development and doing research in the long-term effects of teacher professionalism in primary schools

Dr. Flaithri Neff
Dr. Flaithri Neff is a lecturer in Audio Technology and Acoustics in the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, LIT. He holds a doctorate in Computer Science (University College Cork) and an MSc degree (University of Limerick) specialising in Audio Technology. His PhD thesis was concerned with utilizing spatial audio technology to convey complex datasets to computer users with visual disabilities. This involved significant integration of auditory perception principles in the design and implementation of spatial auditory interfaces on mobile and desktop platforms. Dr. Neff collaborates closely with industry and academic colleagues on aspects concerning spatial immersive audio environments, auditory and haptic perception evaluation, and VR-based interface design utilising emerging Head Mounted Displays (HMDs). He is a member of the Audio Engineering Society and a Committee Member of the MPEG JTC 1/sc 29/WG 11 for audio standardization. In collaboration with Dr Ian Pitt, he was a researcher on the ENABLE project, an EU-funded initiative with a focus on finding software solutions for third-level learners with disabilities.

Dr. Daire OBroin
Daire O'Broin holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Trinity College Dublin, which focused on approaches to developing the conditions of flow. He has been a lecturer at IT Carlow since 2008, where he teaches on the Computer Games Development programme. His research interests include increasing engagement and intrinsic motivation in games and learning.

Mr. Ronan ODea
Ronan O'Dea is a post-graduate researcher at the Limerick Institute of Technology. He holds a BSc in Music Technology and Production awarded by the Limerick Institute of Technology. He is an active member of the Interactive Systems Research Group (ISRG) with research interests in psychoacoustics and human-computer interaction. He is currently pursuing a PhD focused on developing a computational model of perception pertaining to reverberant auditory cues. His research outputs are aimed at contributing to emerging multimodal interface design. In addition, he has an interest in audio standards and is a member of TC 02/SC 03/WG 01, a NSAI mirror committee of the international standards working group ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 11.

Ms. Lia Oliveira
Lia Oliveira is Assistant Professor with Aggregation at University of Minho, Institute of Education, Portugal. She works in Educational Sciences in the field of Curriculum and Educational Technology. She is the author of two books, editor of thirteen and authored twenty three book chapters. She published several articles in Journals and proceedings, and has received four awards (Educational Video Contest). She has been invited professor in several universities (Brasil, Chile, Mozambique, France, Belgium, Spain). Her interests focus on Educational Technology as a cultural artefact, educational materials and new literacies, tactile surfaces, audio-visual language (video and educational vodcasting), videogames, learning objects and e-portfolios. She was responsible for the POAW project (Production of Learning Objects for the Web (2006/08) and is co-Director of the Portuguese Journal of Education (RPE).

Mr. Billy OMahony
Billy O'Mahony completed a Masters in Computer Science at UCC in 2018 and now works as a researcher at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at UCC. His main research interests are in Virtual Reality and secondary input devices, such as EEG/GSR, for games.

Ms. Eibhlin ORiordan
Eibhlin O'Riordan is a 22 year old game design student. She has always had a passion for playing games and drawing. She attended GTI to study Gaming and Animation with the intentions to focus more on the 3D and 2D animation side of game development. But while studying other aspects of game development at GTI she realised that she loved every part of making video games. She then went on to study game design in TUD. Eibhlin has worked on multiple games and has filled the role of artist, programmer and designer. She hopes to focus her interests in 3D Modelling and 3D and 2D animation but still continues to improve her programming and design skills. Due to an injury Eibhlin plays video games with one hand so she is very passionate about accessible gaming and hopes to create more games that enable and promote accessibility.

Prof. Maja Pivec
FH-Prof DI Dr. Maja Pivec is professor of Applied Game Design and Learning with Multimedia at the Institute of Design & Communication. Her research interests are in the field of affective and emotional aspects of human-computer interaction, with emphasis on game design, game-based learning and innovative learning approaches, and different aspects of e-learning. She is co-ordinator, scientific leader or partner in several EU or national founded projects. Her research work is published and presented at more than 100 international conferences and publications. She teaches also at the degree European Masters for EC Project Management and at the Master de Animacion at UPV in Valencia. She is editor and co-editor of four book publications in the area of innovative learning approaches. She is guest editor of eLearning Papers n43 - Applied Games and Gamification - Drivers for Change, July 2015. She was hosting European Conference on Game-Based Learning in 2009 and will be hosting the European Conference on Game-Based Learning in 2017.

Mr. Daniel Porter
Personally, I've always had a passion for design, art and just creativity in general. I'm a very organised person and enjoy creating art that reflects that through interesting patterns and fine balance. I've always been heavily inspired by abstract art, cubism and also pop art. Artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Piet Mondrian, Andy Warhol and of course, Roy Lichtenstein. Outside of art, I was born in Liverpool and as such am an avid Liverpool supporter. I also have a passion for photography and cinematography, taking pictures and flying my drone as frequently as possible. I've always had a love for games in general, from football, to poker. When I found myself with the opportunity to combine my love for art and creation with my love for games, I barely had to make a decision

Dr. Alan Porter
Alan is a social psychologist with a longstanding interest in learning and teaching. He was a partner in a Fund For the Development of Teaching and Learning Project (FDTL4) which aimed to use on-line resources to enhance student approaches to studying. He has researched how students use feedback and how to deal with student statistics anxiety. His current research focusses on the use of social media to support student engagement with material presented via VLEs.

Dr. Sam Redfern
Sam Redfern has been developing video games since the 1980s, and lecturing computer science and games programming at NUI Galway since the 1990s. He holds an MSc and PhD in computer science, and his academic research includes artificial intelligence for games, game-based learning, multiuser collaboration technologies, and digital image processing. His research projects have been financially supported by Enterprise Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland. His commercial games have amassed more than 7 million downloads in total, and have been published in print magazines as well as on the web, Steam, and the smartphone and games console app stores. He particularly enjoys developing multi-player games, and this has infused both his academic research (which includes a number of projects in distributed collaboration technologies) and his commercial game development (which includes several award-winning multiplayer games including a massively multiplayer online game which has been running for the last 13 years).

Mr. Wen Rei
Wei Ren is a phd student of Trinity College Dublin. His research area is software engineering especially in gamification. He is a graduate (top 10% of class) of Sichuan University of China (ranked as 16th in China by the Shanghai ranking), an MSc graduate (softwareengineering) of the Australian National University (ranked as 20th in the world by the QS World University Rankings), and engaged in research at Renmim University of China(ranked as 28th in China by the Shanghai ranking), in the field of Big Data Management. Wei's background in software engineering coupled with his publication record in Big Data mark him out as very well suited to the proposed research. He is working as a team leader in big science data project which is funded by NSFC(National Nature Science Foundation of China) and responsibility bulit a real-time data processing system and benchmark for this system. He also presented in some international conferences such as XLDB2017. He serves as courses demonstrator for TCD and part-time lecturer in BCFE(Programming course).

Ms Mariana Rocha
Mariana Rocha is a Ph.D. candidate in School of Computer Science at Technological University Dublin. She investigates the potential of video games to improve engagement and academic achievements in Mathematics learning. Prior to beginning the Ph.D. program, Mariana received her master in Education in Biosciences and Health from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazil, where her thesis examined how internet helps kids to learn science concepts. She also worked as a reporter and editor at the Brazilian website "Science Today for Kids", where she developed STEM digital media for kids between 7 and 13 years old. Her research interests include digital game-based learning and STEM education.

Ms. Hanna-Riikka Roine
Hanna-Riikka Roine (PhD, literary studies) works as a Core Fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies and a researcher in the Helsinki team of consortium Instrumental Narratives (Academy of Finland, 2018-2022). Her expertise lies in the thorough understanding of contemporary narrative theory, game and digital media studies, and research on modern fan cultures. So far, Roine's work has engaged with the role of narrative in complex environments that integrate more than one medium, narrative's relationship to other forms of meaning-making, and the ways in which users engage with art and entertainment. She has also contributed to the study of the aesthetic and rhetoric of contemporary speculative fiction across media and worked as one of the editors-in-chief of Fafnir - Nordic Journal for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research 2013-2016. Roine's current research interests include the transformative effect of the digital turn on both art and our society, and developing a more user- and experience-based narratology.

Ms. Brenda Romero
Brenda Romero is an award-winning game designer, artist and Fulbright scholar who entered the video game industry in 1981. As a designer, she has contributed to many seminal titles, including the Wizardry and Jagged Alliance series and titles in the Ghost Recon and Dungeons & Dragons franchises. Away from the machine, her analog series of six games, The Mechanic is the Message, has drawn national and international acclaim, particularly Train and Síochán Leat (The Irish Game) which is presently housed in the National Museum of Play. In 2017, she was awarded the Development Legend award at the Develop conference in the UK. In 2015, she won the coveted Ambassador's Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards. In 2014, she received a Fulbright award to study Ireland's game industry, academic and government policies. In 2013, she was named one of the top 10 game developers by http://Gamasutra.com and Develop magazine listed her among the 25 people who changed games in 2013. Romero co-owns Romero Games.

Dr. Jake Rowan-Byrne
Dr. Jake Rowan Byrne is an Educational Technologist and Assistant Professor in Contemporary Teaching & Learning and Computing and course coordinator for the Postgraduate Certificate in 21st Century Teaching and Learning at the School of Education, Trinity College Dublin. Jake is also the Academic Director of Tangent, Trinity's Ideas Workspace, overseeing undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral programmes which provide training in entrepreneurship and transversal skills, both for Trinity students and the wider community, through upskilling programmes. Jake is a DCU graduate in Mechatronic Engineering and completed both a Masters in Science in Technology and Learning and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Trinity College Dublin, which focused on the development of tools and strategies to support early stage researchers. Through his consulting company he has experience designing innovative solutions for industry and the public sector and is a named co-inventor on a patent. These experiences have provided him with the opportunity to pursue his passions for innovation, technology, design thinking, transdisciplinary, pedagogical research, educational reform and civic engagement.

Dr. Fredrik Rusk
Fredrik Rusk, DEd, Associate Professor at Nord University in Bodo, Norway. His research involves the employment of ethnomethodology, conversation analysis and interactional analysis with the use of video recordings to investigate and better understand diverse classrooms, and the social organization of classrooms. He is also more generally interested in learning in interaction, language learning, language use, multilingualism and social identity in interaction both in- and outside of the classroom/school.

Mr. Connor Ryan
I have always found immense enjoyment from playing games and enjoying the experiences with other people who also share my own passion for games. The most fond memories I have from my childhood are the ones that involved me playing all types with my brothers and friends. Whether they were video games, board games or sports, I was always playing something. Given the opportunity to create something I love, I knew Game Design was a clear path for me. Outside of games I have a huge passion for music and sport, these two pastimes often filling up my free time. My dream is to create a co-op game that is difficult yet sufficiently rewarding for both players, an experience that two or more players may enjoy together.

Mr. Vedant Sansare
Vedant Sansare is a Masters-by-Research student at Abertay University, Scotland. Their primary academic interest includes ambiguous concepts and their application in game design. They graduated with a B.A. in Games Design and Project Management where their undergraduate research was based on the development of paradoxes in games. Their current research focuses on the perception of paradoxes in games and their application as gameplay elements. Additionally, they are also a game jam enthusiast and prefer tinkering with game engines.

Mr. Joshua D Savage
Joshua D. Savage is an Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholar and John and Pat Hume Scholar undertaking PhD research in the Department of Sociology at Maynooth University. He received the Noma-Reischauer Prize in Japanese Studies from Harvard University in 2003 and has over a decade of teaching experience in Japan, Ireland, and the United States. He is a contributor to the LGBTQ Video Game Archive, a research project at Temple University's Lew Klein College of Media and Communication, and a research assistant on Network in Play, an informal education and outreach initiative promoting diversity in games in Ireland. Alongside his academic career, Joshua is a professional writer, editor, and designer, and has contributed to digital game projects in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Ms. Magdalena Slowinska
Magdalena is an experienced UX/HCI researcher with a particular interest in game-based learning, psychology of creativity, social innovation and assistive technologies. She has a background in Psychology (University of Westminster) and Game Design (TAMK, Tampere University of Applied Sciences). She was part of the research team within the Interactive Work-based Learning Environment project (iWoBLE) looking to enhance workforce development through the design of an innovative model of using virtual learning environments to support work-based learning. In order to further understand the interaction between people and computers, she decided to pursue an MSc in Human-Computer Interaction at the University College London.

Ms. Souad Slyman
Souad Slyman is an experienced educator, external examiner and Lecturer at Roehampton Business School University. She has a multidisciplinary scientific and educational background, starting with 1st class degree in Mathematics and Computing (BSc), continued with Master's of Arts in Mathematics Education (MA) and currently conducting a PhD in Computer Science in game studies, design and development at Goldsmiths, University of London. Souad's research focuses on evaluating the impact of games that is purposefully designed to improve learning, attitudes and skills, in a range of academic areas (Serious Games, Human Computer Interaction, 3D Modelling, Software Engineering, Machine Learning, Business Leadership, Management and Social Change). Her current research focuses on games studies, design and development and ways of improving learning using game-based learning. Her expertise spans teaching (9 years' experience), as FHEA, management, quality assurance, curriculum design, delivery & planning at both undergraduate & postgraduate levels besides research, dissemination and public engagement. Souad has worked collaboratively with both students and colleagues in HE internally and externally across departments, building networks and demonstrating excellent communication and organizational skills.

Mr. Matt Smith
Matt Smith is senior lecturer in the Department of Informatics at TU Dublin. His research in the fields of interactive multimedia, applied games technology and computer support learning. Before joining TU Dublin in 2002, Matt was a lecturer and researcher in the UK at Aberdeen University, Winchester University and Middlesex University. Matt has degrees in business computing and applied artificial intelligence, and his Ph.D. was in the field of computational musicology. He also has an H.Dip. in adult education. Matt Smith is senior lecturer in the Department of Informatics at TU Dublin. His research in the fields of interactive multimedia, applied games technology and computer support learning. Before joining TU Dublin in 2002, Matt was a lecturer and researcher in the UK at Aberdeen University, Winchester University and Middlesex University. Matt has degrees in business computing and applied artificial intelligence, and his Ph.D. was in the field of computational musicology. He also has an H.Dip. in adult education. Matt teaches web server development and games programming. Matt is a documentation author for the Fungus open source interactive storytelling plugin for Unity, author of the Unity 2018 Cookbook, and in 2018 spent a short time at Romero Games in Galway as a visiting programmer. He has been working with the Symfony PHP framework for many years, and maintains a simple ORM library for use by his TU Dublin web programming students.

Ms. Matilda Ståhl
Matilda Ståhl, MEd, is a a doctoral student at Åbo Akademi University, Finland, within the field of educational sciences with a research interest in game culture. She is currently collaborating with Fredrik Rusk, DEd, at Nord University, Norway, on a player centered ethnographic approach to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and will present a study based on that collaboration during iGBL.

Mr. Nicolas Stevenson
I'm Nick Stevenson, your typical trinational, being: French, American, and born in Ireland. Ever since I was very young I had a strong passion for games of all kinds, of the stories they can tell, and the feelings they can affect in their players. I want to create games that reward their players for their time spent, and for the players to feel at home in the game while playing. I believe that the best games are ones that try to innovate and take risks, I want players to experience something new every time they play a game for the first time. No game is perfect, but good games are the ones that can make you think.

Mr. Fernando Tucci
Fernando Tucci is an Italian citizen born in Venezuela and based in Cork, Ireland. His academic background includes a BSc (Honors) in IT, Psychology and Computing with the Open University and MA in E-Learning Design and Development with the Cork Institute of Technology, certified as a QQI Level 6 (Training Delivery and Evaluation) and possessing various industry-recognized computing certifications. With an extensive background in the tech industry, including experience working with networking, data storage, virtualization and cybersecurity across a number of roles, including technical support, management, quality assurance and technical training. Presently employed by Trend Micro in Ireland, as part of the European Technical Training team, in charge of helping partners, external customers as well as internal employees to develop skills and knowledge necessary to understand and be protected against current cybersecurity threats. Follow Fernando Tucci online via: Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/josetucci/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/JFTucci

Dr. Jill Tussey
Dr. Jill Tussey graduated from Buena Vista University with her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education in 2003. In 2008, Jill earned her Master of Education degree in Effective Teaching and Instructional Leadership from Buena Vista University; and in 2015, her Literacy Coaching Certificate from Iowa State University. She earned her EdD in Curriculum and Instruction from Capella University in 2016. Dr. Tussey worked as a second grade teacher for twelve years before transitioning to Assistant Professor of Education in the literacy and early childhood department at Buena Vista University. She had previously worked as an adjunct for Buena Vista for six years. Dr. Tussey has presented at early childhood conferences many times on how to create activities beyond the book. In addition, she serves as a counselor for the Kappa Delta Pi chapter for students who attend Buena Vista at a site rather than on the a main campus. In the summer, she runs a weekly hour-long preschool literacy program. Dr. Tussey enjoys spending time with her family and attending sporting events of her two nieces. When she is not working, another fun pastime for her is to travel and to attend as many NFL games as possible.

Dr. Brian Vaughan
Dr. Vaughan is a Senior Lecturer at Technological University Dublin in the school of media where he runs an applied VR research lab. He has patented and licensed his speech science technology, and founded a TCD campus company. His research work focuses on social signal processing and VR and AR interaction. He lectures across a range of domains: User Interaction Design, Information Modelling, Digital Story Telling, Digital Media Tools, Media Entrepreneurship, Game Audio, and VR and AR development.

Mr. Claudio Visentin
Claudio Visentin is a 21 years old aspiring developer for video games. Born in Italy in 1998, his first exposure to games was through watching his father playing occasional matches with friends when he was about 5 years old. Since then, his interest in games only started to grow as he wondered what it took to make the games he loved playing. This, among other reasons, brought him to move to Ireland at the age of 18 to study game design at Pulse College. Here, he found out a special interest towards programming and tech art. After successfully graduating, he moved into second year in TUD through advanced entry in game design. Some of his major interests are achieving photorealistic graphics, optimizing gameplay and graphics through code and recreating the looks of older games.



Research Abstracts

Application And Function Of Paradoxes In Applied-Games

In recent years, paradoxes have proven to be crucial in the expansion of knowledge of many subjects and are not considered as wordplay limited to literature. By definition a paradox is: "A statement or proposition which, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems logically unacceptable or self-contradictory." (Oxford Dictionary, 2019) They are self-contradicting, cyclic ideas with undefined conclusions. Paradoxes find their roots in Philosophy as observed in Liar Paradox (Epimenides, 6th century B.C.). Paradoxes are often observed as complex ideas due to their inter-looping and inconclusive nature, as a result, they are often deemed as philosophical theories used as a tool to refute academic arguments (Cantini et al., 2017). While paradoxes do find their use in philosophy, Kapur (2011) presents a new theory about paradoxes representing instances where there is a deficiency in current knowledge, causing inconsistencies between theories and actual findings, suggesting that the resolution of paradoxes, through a legitimate process, is directly proportional to the expansion of knowledge. To explain his theory Kapur presents the example of the Russel's Paradox (Russel B., 1901), which suggests that the paradox arising in the naive set theory about 'The set of all sets being not members of themselves', which redefined several postulates about the core structure of the set theory. This suggests that the presence of paradoxes is directly proportional to the expansion of knowledge, but is hindered due to the complexity of the paradox itself. This complexity could be made intelligible if they presented through digital games, as the player would essentially interact and manipulate the paradoxes allowing them a greater understanding of how a paradox is constructed.

Aims and Objectives

This project aspires to develop a playable prototype which would showcase the integration of paradoxes as game elements while also functioning as a learning tool to help individuals understand the nature and application of paradoxes.

Research Questions

  1. How could an implicit idea such as a paradox be integrated into an explicit, rigid framework such as a game?
  2. What challenges and limitations are observed during the development of a paradoxical game and how do they impact the game's development process?
  3. How does a paradoxical game affect an individual's perception of paradoxes? How does the game impact an individual's outlook on the subject of their interest?


The research will utilise two methodologies with the first being 'practice-based' during the development of the artefact while the second one being a survey-based research method utilised for data collection to observe the results of the developed artefact.

Artefact Development

The development of the artefact will be carried primarily by understanding how paradoxes could be perceived as game elements. For this, a preliminary framework is presented below:  
Attributes (right) Inference of Probable Outcome Forced Choice Solvable
Principles (left)
Paradox A N N N
Paradox B Y Y N
Paradox C N Y N
Paradox D Y N N
Table 1 Paradoxes as Game Design Components The above framework breaks down paradoxes into four principles based on the presence/absence of the three attributes. The artefact itself would be developed based on the framework presented above, presenting a series of varying gameplay types, with each type containing a number of puzzle-solving elements built upon the above four principles.

Analysis Procedure and Data Collection

For the purpose of this research, individuals aged between 18 to 34 would be selected who have minimal to non-existent knowledge of paradoxes. These participants will play through the previously mentioned prototype working their way through a series of levels based on self-contradiction and contrary choice, they would also be provided with an option to choose and skip a certain level if they too much of a challenge to progress. For the purpose of data collection during the playthrough, a think-aloud procedure would be utilised where the participants would narrate their thought process as they progress through the game levels. This narration would be based on the following parameter: While at the end of the playthrough, an interview would be conducted, based on:


Serious Games In Corporate Learning

This study evaluates the ability of serious games through the use of a computer-based game called Datacenter Defense as a driver for engagement, and to what extent this enables them to be effective as learning mechanisms. In this instance, the learning scope was to build from product-specific knowledge to solution-driven understanding. This particular scope is the outcome of a training need identified within information security company Trend Micro, where knowledge among support engineers is often kept product-specific due to the compartmentalization of their workload. However, an understanding of the solution rather than the individual products is desirable since Trend Micro customers often deploy more than one product as part of a security strategy. This is progressively accentuated as the integration between these products becomes more prevalent, making broader understanding more critical. Knowledge was measured using multiple selection surveys before and after playing the game, while engagement was measured through the use of multiple selection surveys and focus group discussions. The results after this study showed a significant improvement of knowledge relating to the learning objectives scoped for the game, as well as the majority of the participants reported being engaged by the game. These findings extend previous studies in an area where more literature is needed (Bodnar et al., 2016), showing that games can help enhance learning and the attitude of learners towards the learning subject.


This study employed a computer-based game called Datacenter Defense, created for the purpose of this study, to answer the following question: To what extent can learning be achieved by employing serious games to engage specialized technical professionals to acquire technical knowledge outside their main area of expertise? Games and gamification elements can be used in any educational medium, such as during classroom activities, but this project will specifically focus on implementing this as a form of video game. Zyda defined video games as "a mental contest, played with a computer according to certain rules for amusement, recreation, or winning a stake" (2005, p. 25). The video game in this research project was designed as a serious game. It will be considered a game, fitting the definition coined by Ibrahim et al. (2011) where the game will contain challenges, goals, feedback and a game story. Likewise, it will also fit the definition for a serious game proposed by Ritterfeld et al. (2009), where a game can involve fun, but also present educational benefits while retaining other game elements, like being engaging, impactful, purposeful and meaningful.   This comes from the training needs analysis of technical professionals in the field of digital information security in the company Trend Micro, where there is an almost ubiquitous extrinsic driver to specialize in single products or product silos rather than in the broader solution strategy, since day to day engagements require that in-depth specific knowledge to solve product-specific technical issues. With serious games possessing the ability to be entertaining as well as instructional (Zyda, 2005), and potentially being able to drive higher engagement to play (Apostol et al., 2013), achieving the desired learning outcome is possible if the participants are driven to play the game for intrinsic reasons. Thus, for the purpose of this study, engagement is defined by the desire for players to go through the game because they enjoy playing it (Apostol et al., 2013). Knowledge in this study is measured in a declarative form (ten Berge, T. and van Hezewijk, R., 1999). That is, as the ability to successfully apply the information acquired in the game in practical exercises, as well as showing an understanding of the concepts exposed.   Accordingly, the participants in this study were technical professionals employed by the information security company Trend Micro. The game offered a platform for the participants to understand the relative value, valid use cases and relative protection capacity of different products within the company portfolio.

Precedent and Going Forward

A similar initiative has been tried within Trend Micro before (Trend Micro, 2017), but in a more superficial manner that doesn't explore as many products or as much depth in their technical scope and their place within an information system network. The existing game, offered to an external audience as well rather than being limited only to internal employees, offers an opportunity to test the player's knowledge. However, due to the marketing focus of the application, the game is very limited in what it teaches. It is also very brief and narrow in scope to that of a single particular situation. The lower production costs of the game made for this study, which eschews the use of professional actors and live filming, permits the design of more content to represent more situations where knowledge of the Trend Micro suites can be tested. Likewise, it is easier to broaden the scope or update the game as required, for the same reasons stated. While this rationale may seem grounded in a very specific training need context, serious games have been used effectively in multiple instances and subjects as an educational tool (Wang et al., 2016) and prior studies have observed a connection between game-based learning engagement and affective engagement with games (Ke et al., 2016). Thus, findings from this thesis can be posited to any other situation where there is a requirement of expanding knowledge horizontally onto other related topics with an audience that possesses specialized knowledge. This degree of specialization is very often seen in technology professionals (Malone et al., 2011), where only a few individuals at the top reach a truly holistic understanding of complete integrated systems rather than single solutions in a contextual void. This level of in-depth knowledge required by professionals was found to be a factor for that impacted the drive of technical personnel in Trend Micro to broaden their understanding of the larger portfolio and integration between products.

Rationale and Hypotheses

As the research question implied, this study tried to determine the extent of the success of the game as an educational tool. The European management team in Trend Micro has presently expressed interest in retaining the game as part of their educational curriculum for new staff, so it is the hope that as this study shows a clear and significant improvement in knowledge with high engagement and good feedback from participants, it will justify the continuation of the game's development or the creation of similar applications to teach other similar topics. Further development of the game used in this study could be in the form of more scenarios or products added to the existing program. Other gamification elements could also be integrated into the game, such as leaderboards or achievements, which are often cited as behaviourist motivators that drive engagement (Raczkowski, 2013). Based on this context, there were two hypotheses for this study. The first hypothesis is that it is predicted that the participants will be engaged while playing the game. The second, that it is predicted that the participants will demonstrate having developed knowledge in line with the learning objectives of the game. The findings from this study showed that both hypotheses were met, and a definite positive answer to the research question was found. This paper will explore the background and methodology employed throughout the study, as well as show and analyse the data gathered to support these findings. A way to expand on these findings would be to look into the motivation shift in participants during a similar study, by using artefacts to measure motivation like the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI), which has been used on previous studies to measure this change (Ryan, 1982). While a positive shift in intrinsic motivation could have been used to form a third hypothesis, due to time limitations while conducting this study, only engagement and learning were measured and analysed.

Gameplay Implementation

The game is available to play online using a web browser, and upon beginning it presents the players with an introduction and tutorial on how to play. After that, a Trend Micro security product is introduced, exploring what the software does as well as how to use it in the representation that the game includes. The game allows the players to drag and drop icon representations of these products onto a map that matches a computer network topology, only allowing the product to be deployed in ways that are congruent with how the software is used in reality. There is an economy of resources in the game, in which deploying software uses budget and increases a protection score. The main objective of each level is to achieve a certain protection score using the allocated budget, as well as meet certain secondary goals (protect email traffic, for instance). Meeting these goals determine whether the player was successful. Once a successful solution to the level is provided, another product is introduced and the player is allowed to use it as part of the next level's solution. A version of this game is available in this location: https://datacenterdefense.000webhostapp.com

Research Methods

To see to what extent can learning be achieved by employing serious games to engage specialized technical professionals to acquire technical knowledge outside their main area of expertise three methods were employed to collect data:
  1. Knowledge test (pre-play and post-play)
  2. Participant feedback (Self-report questionnaire)
  3. Focus group discussions
The pre-play knowledge test was done over one week before the participants played the game, and it was done to assess the knowledge of the participants on the topic before they played. The post-play knowledge tests were done over one week after, to assess the knowledge of the participants after playing. The participant feedback questionnaire was done in parallel with the post-play knowledge test (participants received both questionnaires at the same time). The focus group discussions were done over a week after this. Both the participant feedback questionnaire and the focus groups discussions were conducted to assess whether the participants were engaged or not, as well as whether they saw a value for this game to be used as an educational tool. These data points led, after the analysis of results, to draw conclusions and test the study's hypotheses. Knowledge Tests The knowledge test measured the participant's general knowledge of what the purpose was for nine specific products from the Trend Micro portfolio. Since all participants were recruited from the technical staff of the company, they already possessed in-depth knowledge of one or more solutions, but cursory or non-existent knowledge of the rest.   This test was performed twice by the testing group, once before playing the game (pre-play) and again after playing the game (post-play). This allowed for a knowledge baseline to be established, and to compare it against the results from participants after they played the game.   The test presented the participants 10 questions with 4 answers each in a multiple selection format, from which only 1 answer was correct. Each correct answer was worth 1 point. Thus, the best possible score was 10 and the lowest 0. The same questions were asked pre and post-play, which may have impacted the validity of the results. However, this was deemed as the preferable alternative, rather than having a potential offset in difficulty from the pool of questions on both tests. A recommendation for a more reliable data gathering method for this stage would be to have a larger pool of questions from which a smaller subset are assigned randomly to each participant.

Participant Feedback

The self-report questionnaire sought to elicit data on the topics of engagement. For example, it was asked to the participants whether they were satisfied with the game and whether they found it engaging. Both the participant groups were given the same participant feedback questions, but the results were kept separate for analysis. The questions each had statements regarding their enjoyment of the game or how engaged were they with it and could be answered with yes or no, with an option for additional comments in a text field. Some concerns on the validity of data obtained through this method regard to known problems of using self-report mechanisms (Austin et al., 1998). A more accurate measure of engagement would be through observation of actual gameplay. However, due to scheduling and regional constraints, this approach wasn't possible during this study.

Focus Group Discussions

The focus group discussions were conducted after the study in informal conversations in small groups or on occasion as one-to-one, due to scheduling concerns and due to the different regional constraints from different participants. Some were held in person, in the Trend Micro office, while some were held via online chat. They focused on areas of concern and feedback that were raised in the participant feedback form comments. A focus group meeting was held prior to the beginning of the work on the program, to pitch the idea to a group of experts and managers within the company. During this event, the main gameplay elements were introduced and feedback was elicited from the attendees regarding the perceived value of such a product and which products and components would need to be included in the game.

Study Implementation

In the same context, the participants were sought among the Technical Support Department, Professional Services, Escalation Management and the Sales Engineering teams in Trend Micro. These are large groups of specialized professionals, composed of adult males predominantly (25-45 years old), from different cultural backgrounds and nationalities, located across different countries in Europe.   Using games to teach individuals in an Engineering context has been done successfully in other studies (Bodnar et al., 2015), setting some precedent to this study in regard of the knowledge context from the participants involved. This study and the parallel creation of the game that was used was done in seven phases:
  1. Recruitment
  2. Grouping
  3. Pre-game testing
  4. Playing and Learning
  5. Post-game testing and feedback
  6. Focus group discussions
  7. Data analysis
  The pre- and post-game knowledge tests and the participant feedback questionnaires were implemented using the platform provided by SurveyMonkey (https://www.surveymonkey.com). For the focus group discussions, when it wasn't possible to meet in person, the Zoom communicator platform was used (https://zoom.us/).


Knowledge tests conducted after the study confirm that learning was acquired. An increase of 67% to 87% points average out of 100% points maximum (20% improvement) in the results across participants confirm that the core learning objectives of the game were transferred successfully to the players through gameplay. This is reinforced by the participant's perception regarding the educational value of the game. On this, 20 out of 20 participants (100%) found the game informative, and thus able to educate staff on the basics of the products introduced. Likewise, there was a clear perceived value by both participant groups to use the game as an educational tool. Here 20 out of 20 participants (100%) thought it would be worthwhile to publish the game internally to offer it as an option for onboarding and initial learning of new employees. There was also a perceived worth on continuing to develop the game, with 19 out of 20 participants (95%) agreeing that it would be worth to expand the current game. Thus, based on these results, the findings provide a positive answer to the stated research question and expand on the conclusions drawn from previous studies (Bodnar et al., 2015), showing through the feedback provided that to a great extent technical professionals can find serious games for learning to be engaging to play. This drive to play had the extent of offering clear and significant learning, showed in this study by a 20% knowledge score improvement between pre and post-game knowledge test results.  


Game-Based Learning To Engage Students With Applied Statistics Using A Simulation Role-Play Game

In this research study, we developed a novel Multi-Conceptual Game-Based Learning Model and examined how this model could support the learning & teaching of statistics/ mathematics topics covered in the 1st year undergraduate Business Computing/ Computer Science Syllabus. The Multi-Conceptual Game Based Learning (MCGBL) Model is an innovative theoretical framework that was designed with the attempt to fill a gap in the literature of an existing problem within our society, i.e. negative emotion towards mathematics/ statistics, and how we can enhance self-efficacy in STEM (Science, technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects such as mathematics/ statistics that require students to obtain a firm grasp of theoretical knowledge and apply it to real-life context. This is because technology, and the way it is perceived as useful and fun can play a key role in enhancing learners' self-efficacy, changing behaviour, a way of learning and interacting with the game, and therefore producing desired learning outcomes. Data were collected via a series of six focus-group interviews (FGIs), questionnaires and pre & post-test surveys. Results show that SimCity game, as a simulation roleplay game, significantly increases students' self-efficacies in applied statistics. The game was demonstrated as a useful tool for learning applied statistics and as an activity for promoting problem-solving and decision making. The findings also demonstrate that further exploration and integration of game-based approaches to mathematics/ statistics education is necessary as this would facilitate the digestion of complex information more easily and comprehensibly.   Keywords: Mathematics Education, SimCity, Game-Based Learning, Serious Games, Applied Statistics.  


Literature indicates that mathematical learning within STEM subjects is increasingly and universally fundamental in science and technology today (Smith, 2004, 2017). However, many learners perceive mathematics as a complex subject, thus express negative emotions towards it. Research shows that there are many socio-cognitive, socio-cultural and psychological factors behind "blockage about mathematics" (Skemp, 1986:15; Illeris, 2007; Boaler, 2009; Lewis, 2013; Slyman, 2014) exacerbating this 'pressing social problem,' a real problem in society, that operates as a 'stimulus' and drives many researchers & educators such as Slyman (2014) to wonder about issues surrounding learners that hinder learning. However, this 'blockage' about mathematics (Skemp, 1986, 1989) is still present and it is a worrying issue, which has driven many researchers such as Dweck (2006), Illeris (2007) and Lewis (2013) to examine why for many undergraduates mathematics brings fear and anxiety or even pain, "neural pain" (Lyons & Beilock, 2012:1). Furthermore & in a case study conducted at a South London University, Slyman (2014) looked at factors behind negative emotions towards mathematics; She found that there are various psychological, physiological and socio-cognitive aspects behind blockages to learning from poor quality teaching practice, low engagement, fear, anxiety, low self-efficacy and esteem to lack of support that poorly shape learners' experiences (Slyman, 2014). However, these factors could not be helped/ resolved because they still exist within society. Within the psychoanalytic framework, research demonstrates how 'fear' and 'anxiety' as emotional and psychological factors are real contributors to disaffect of mathematics (Early, 1992). This is known as maths anxiety or maths phobia (Maloney et al., 2013). Nevertheless, Jameson & Fusco (2014:309) demonstrate that reasons behind maths anxiety are still indistinguishable and could be related to "self-efficacy and self-concept" i.e., low confidence. Thus, this influences learners' experiences with this critical subject, mathematics. But, how can we make mathematical learning stimulating? Are there any engaging strategies of exploring and experimenting with mathematics in a playful creative way? There is an increasing necessity to discern the effects of game-based learning (Igor et al., 2013; Slyman, 2018). Game-based learning is a significantly noteworthy area of research because they are widely integrated in mathematics, computing and business education as an effective pedagogical tool especially in business management, strategy, marketing and international business (Faria & Wellington, 2004; Vos, 2014; Vlachopoulos & Makri, 2017; Slyman, 2018). Game-based learning is a type of games that have clear learning outcomes where players can experiment with real-life examples in a risk-free environment. It consists of challenge, fantasy, complexity and control, and these according to Malone & Lepper (1987) and Gee (2003) are fundamental tools in game design. Game characteristics are: Fantasy as a crucial element/ characteristics of the game, as it allows the users to experience the beauty of imagination, immersing the players, in an incredible world of fantasy where unbelievable becomes real; Rules/ Goals are some of the components that govern how the games' rules are determined and played (Garris et al., 2002). These game characteristics provide the structure of the game and contains fixed rules, strategies and unpredictable results; Sensory stimuli is the imaginative/ creative sensation of the game that immerses/eludes the perception of the player into accepting the fantasy of the game world using sound effects, graphics and other stimulus (Malone & Lepper, 1987; Garris et al., 2002; Shell, 2015); Challenge: Challenging games and meaningful goals should be made essential ingredients of games. This could be made according to levels, enabling players to track their performance, review feedback and progress further up in levels. Mystery/Curiosity to unlock or solve some of the game mysteries through discovering the unknown or new knowledge (For example, adventure games); Control is where the learner has control over the game s/he is playing. According to Garris et al. (2002:11), games evoke "a sense of personal control when users are allowed to select strategies," this self-control over the game has increasingly engaged and motivated students to learn a great deal of skills. Furthermore, this feeling of personal control/ ownership over learning, according to Cardinot & Fairfield (2019), encourage students to develop relationships/ socialise with other players.

Research Objectives

Game-based learning is a significantly noteworthy area of research because they are widely integrated in mathematics, computing and business education as an effective pedagogical tool. A significant question raised by researchers who explore how to measure learning in games situations is, i.e., "what is (specifically) learned?" (Faria, 2001:104, cited in Cronan & Douglas, 2012). Jagger et al. (2016), Yusoff et al. (2010) and Kraiger et al. (1993) used the Technology Accepted Model (TAM). Building on this model, this research employs an innovative MCGBL Model to assess the usage of IT and measure the usefulness/ impacts on learning, and users' interaction with IT and perception of the usage of new technology, and introduces a new learning within game-based learning. The research questions are:


Shaping Immersive Worlds: Framing Design-based Research As A Methodology For Investigating The Development Of Immersive Virtual Environments For Game-based Learning

Research question:

How can a design-based research (DBR) methodology best inform the development of virtual reality (VR) environments for game-based learning?

Main Issue:

As this paper will demonstrate design-based research (DBR) is an important research methodology for the investigation of the effects of immersive virtual environments on learning. This paper aims to: give an overview of how VR and game-based learning interventions have evolved to date, followed by an explanation of DBR methodology and finally a framework of how DBR has is being utilized in a GaeltechVR: An immersive virtual environment to investigate Irish language learning. Virtual reality is easier to define by its goal rather than by a description of the qualities it can contain. The aim of virtual reality is to evoke a sense of presence in the user using the immersive aspects of the system(Slater and Wilbur, 1997). Presence is a theoretical concept under much debate in the literature with no one unifying description of its definition. There is consensus that it is a subjective experience linked to ''a sense of being there''. (IJsselsteijn et al., 2000; Riva, Waterworth and Waterworth, 2004; Mikropoulos, 2006; Cummings and Bailenson, 2016) The main area the virtual reality (VR) research community has been interested in investigating and analysing is the unique aspects of the technology with some promising results into the nature of immersion and presence (Witmer and Singer, 1998; Slater, 2009). In an academic context, this research stretches back to the early 1960s (Freina and OTT, 2015) with a revival of interest in the 1990s (Slater and Wilbur, 1997). The current generation of VR technology has renewed interest and promise in the field. The VIVE and Oculus Rift along with the Microsoft range of VR headsets have revolutionised the cost and the portability of the technology which has led to a third phase of interest in the field. This phase of activity is particularly promising as the software to develop immersive worlds and contexts has become realisable with the low barrier to entry and high performing 3d game engines such as Unity3d and Unreal. This has led to VR research ongoing in the area of clinical and experimental psychology, for example the investigation into the effects of VR for treating anxiety and phobias (Wrzesien et al., 2015; Wiederhold et al., 2016). Research on the effects of VR for educational purposes is still in its infancy. Coinciding with these developments in VR is the growth of academic interest in game-based learning. Game based learning research has evolved from humble beginnings as drill and practice "edutainment" (Squire, 2003) in the 1990s. The main aim of which was to use games as a tool to motivate the new generation of digital natives (Prensky, 2003) to a wide-ranging field capable of developing and testing new theories and frameworks for how people learn. Long held theories about learning such as social constructivism (Vygotsky, 1962), individual constructivism (Piaget, 1953) or newer theories like legitimate peripheral participation (Lave and Wenger, 1991) are becoming increasingly influential in game-based learning as the open ended nature of games allow these theories to be researched and tested with a new degree of rigor. These complex, multi-faceted games and theories usually include complex systems along with community and societal aspects to learning involving multiple variables that traditional experimental design methodologies struggle to contend with. A lot of the research focus has been on using commercial games such as The Sims (Ranalli, 2008) or Civilisation (Squire, 2004) to illicit learning through carefully tailored lessons in the virtual world with a period of debriefing after the gaming session (Crookall, 2010). This research has been highly influential and necessary to lead our theory development, it's limited however by the capabilities of the virtual worlds being used to test these theories. Commercial games are built with a different focus than that of game-based learning artefacts. Simplistic explanations of complex information and misinformation has been a common complaint among researchers (De Freitas, 2006). Due to the high cost of the development of commercial quality games with complex systems and believable 3d graphics this area of research serves a very useful purpose in helping to provide theory and proofs of the capabilities of games. Open Sims have been another exciting development within the research community, capable of complex modifications and visualising 3d graphics along with the added capability of creating multi-user environments to allow the measurement of social learning in virtual contexts. Second Life in particular has led to a wealth of research on their capabilities (Baker, Wentz and Woods, 2009). The ability to design natural and specific interactions along with the ability to create realistic 3d environments in these applications is limited however, due to these factors' researchers have been limited by the artefacts and tools available to research the potential of games as sites of learning. Once again experimental design methodologies that are positivist in nature are limited by their inability to design and cater for the specific groups the design intervention is trying to target. In the commercial world of games small development teams of 1 to 10 people have emerged with low developmental cost 'indie' games which have hit mainstream wide appeal. "Braid" a 2008 low budget hit game is usually attributed with the creation of the "indie" scene. The game-based learning environment is yet to find a similar breakthrough with a lack of game-based artefacts designed specifically with learning intentions in mind that have hit mainstream appeal. The challenge here is great; game-based learning not only has to satisfy the usability and expectations created by mainstream games, but they also must demonstrate a clear link and evidence to the new learning possibilities of the medium. The most successful work into the field to date has been done by military organisations looking to create realistic training scenarios. "America's Army" was developed and used specifically for this purpose (Susi, Johannesson and Backlund, 2007). Many traditional classroom subject areas such as language learning or the sciences lag far behind these developments. Game researchers designing virtual environments for learning must be equipped with a methodology that allows them to work in consultation with their target users to iterate their designed artefacts, changing their design intentions and developing their theory and knowledge through a multitude of research methods to expand the current state of the art in the field. A design-based research (DBR) methodological paradigm satisfies these ambitious goals. This paper outlines DBR as an emerging methodology for the development of game-based learning environments. While this methodology is relatively new, traced back to the work of Ann Brown (1992) and Alan Collins (1992) it offers a flexible approach to educational research which is required for researchers authoring new environments to fulfil their learning agenda. DBR involves the creation of particular forms of learning and studying those forms of learning within the context defined by the means of supporting them. This designed context is subject to test and revision, and the iterations that result play a role similar to that of variation in an experiment(Barab and Kurt, 2004). The term DBR came into use in 2001, between 2001 and 2010 a total of 1940 papers using the term were published(Orngreen, 2015). While the testing methodologies incorporated under a DBR experiment can vary they have a set of underlying principles behind their utilization:
  1. They are situated in a real educational context (Orngreen, 2015)
  2. They focus on the design and testing of a significant intervention(Anderson and Shattuck, 2012)
  3. They utilize mixed methods as a means of analysing the interventions effects(Zheng, 2015)
  4. They involve multiple iterations: refining their design based off the previous cycle(Abdallah and Wegerif, 2014)
  5. They involve a collaboration between practitioner's, researchers and participants (Koivisto et al., 2018)
  6. They offer comparisons to action research(Randolph, 2008)
  7. They seek to offer a practical impact on practice(Ruschoff and Ritter, 2001)
  8. They introduce newly found design principles from the research process to advance theory and practice (Koivisto et al., 2018)
This focus on an authentic setting, multiple iterations and mixed methods analysis is vital because of the emergent nature of game-based technologies. The emphasis of the design is not on generating truths across all games but to inform specific interventions to help guide theoretical frameworks (Dawley and Dede, 2014). As HCI researchers have discovered "It will never be possible or desirable to establish an ideal, complete theory of interaction design practice" (Goodman, Stolterman and Wakkary, 2011). A DBR paradigm understands this same underlying assumption from an educational perspective. "River City" is one of the best-known games developed using a DBR methodology. It's focus was on examining situated learning in a multi-user environment game environment. Their ability to iterate and change their theory and research methods as the cycle unfolded lead them to discovering learning patterns that were "not well captured in traditional pre/post-test measures" (Ketelhut et al., 2007). GaeltechVR is a VR game being developed by the authors using DBR methodologies. This is the first study of its kind investigating the effects of VR technology for situated Irish language learning. The main aim of virtual reality is for the user to perceive themselves in the virtual environment and draw upon spatial cues in order to suspend belief and accept the imaginary world as reality (Neville, Shelton and McInnis, 2009). This evolves the nature of a DBR experiment as the VR environment becomes the context of the user. The authentic setting of the classroom/the real-world dissolves if the user accepts the VR environment as real. DBR allows us to examine how users interact in this immersive world. Utilizing a mixed methods examination of the context. We seek to create a profile of the language community, examine their in-game experiences and explore their learning outputs after use. Figure 1.1 demonstrates a diagram of the intended methodology which involves:
  1. A profile of the users' attitudes and motivations towards the language are recorded using language questionnaires
  2. Video audio and analytics of their experience is captured to explore how the context is explored by authentic users
  3. Post-test questionnaires are used to explore usability issues in the design along with closed and open-ended questions to explore the learning that took place
  4. This process is iterated upon, with changes made to the environment based on the data
  5. Focus group and interviews are utilized in the second iteration to uncover explorative learning dynamics along with the other research tools from phase 1 to build a holistic view of the intervention and see how the changes to the context are changing the users learning patterns.


As our technologies have evolved over the last 30 years the nature of game-based learning has also been evolving. Games are now capable of becoming fully realised 3d environments. VR technologies are aiding in this sense of immersion removing players from their real-life context to a new virtual context. This offers unique opportunities for the research community to investigate the learning potential of virtual environments. If we seek to provide authentic virtual environments for learning they must offer an experience which is deemed authentic by its users. Design based research is an emerging methodological toolkit which reflects these needs and demands. Iterative design and an investigation of the changes they cause to participants enriches the design of the virtual world and can be used to investigate that the virtual world is having its intended effect. Over the course of this paper we have demonstrated the need for this kind of methodological toolkit followed by a conceptual framework for its usage and finally an example of this methodology in practice with GaeltechVR.

Optimising Gamification With Constructive Competition And Video Games


This paper describes a mobile gamification platform called Unicraft2, designed to increase the engagement and attainment of undergraduate computing students. Gamification often relies on extrinsic motivators to engage users, e.g. financial rewards, prizes and compulsory participation (Deterding et al., 2011). However, these types of motivational tools have potentially negative side effects, such as reducing intrinsic motivation, increasing stress and damaging peer group relationships (Fuchs et al., 2014). Is there a more positive way to motivate students? If real-world reward and compulsory participation are removed, how will students be motivated to engage fully with gamification projects? Video games are ubiquitous in society, with commonly recognisable genres, game mechanics and themes. If gamification could capture the look and feel of a videogame then it might be more attractive to students. If it was delivered via a mobile app then students could use it at a time and place of their choosing. If virtual rewards were used, that had no real world value, then they might be less stress-inducing while still perceived as valuable (Behm-Morawitz, 2013). If competition was the key extrinsic motivator, but it was designed to be constructive, then negative side effects might be eliminated (Fulop, 2009). If the mobile app featured embedded learning activities, then students might be more likely to opt-in. Unicraft2 was designed to resemble a 3D videogame mobile application. It allows students to create anonymous customisable 3D avatars in a fantasy game setting where warriors battle undead monsters. As well as the more commonly used points and leaderboards (Raftopoulos et al., 2015), Unicraft's battle game mode provides a platform for students to express their academic progress in terms of their power in battle (which is proportional to credits earned). Competition between students is visualised by asynchronous multiplayer battles. Unicraft is used to conduct multi-choice quizzes in lectures, log attendance in tutorials, reward in-class participation and completion of exercises. Rewards take the form of virtual credits, which can be used to buy powerful gear for the student's avatar.

Major aim and hypotheses

The major aim of this study has been to develop a new theory for the design and implementation of gamification within a higher education setting. Gamification is cheaper and more flexible than educational games, but it traditionally relied on powerful extrinsic motivators that are linked with reduced intrinsic motivation. If we capture more of what makes games fun and apply that to real world activities, then those activities are also more likely to be fun. Videogames are ubiquitous in society and if our gamification projects look and feel like a modern videogame then participants find it more attractive and are more likely to engage and then stay engaged. Extrinsic motivators are necessary (points, leaderboards, badges, competition), but can be implemented in a far more "light touch" approach. Constructive forms of competition can be compelling without forcing people to engage. Such an approach is more likely to be seen as positive and fun, with resulting higher attendance, satisfaction and grades.


Unicraft2 builds on the success of Unicraft1 (Featherstone, 2017). There were two main areas identified for improvement:


Attending lectures and tutorials regularly, plus completing all the work set, has been shown to produce optimal outcomes for students (Paisey * & Paisey, 2004). Within the author's institution there is primary data supporting this (see Figure 2), the graph shows that students who do not progress from one semester to the next are more likely to have poor attendance. Students who are attending and completing tutorials tend to be using other learning portals on the list too, but students have problems when they aren't motivated by any learning portals or focus on one or two that don't including regular attendance. This gamification project is designed to encourage attendance at lectures and engagement with tutorials, reducing the rate of decline in attendance. Unicraft2's specific enhancements will also combat the decline in use of the app itself.


An Android mobile app that students could download and install on their own smartphones or tablets. Initially, motivational content was restricted to points, leader boards, avatar customisation and achievement badges. After the halfway point in the semester, competitive elements were remotely enabled to attempt to nurture a more constructive form of compulsive competition. Students could also wager some of their credits on the outcome of the quiz answers. Similar battles could be triggered by staff, allowing the entire cohort to see their avatars fight together.


The study was undertaken with a group of first-year undergraduate students studying computing, staff were recruited to administer the study within a programming subject. It took place over one 10-week long semester with 109 students from three different computing courses. Initially, the app had its competitive battle game and wagering system disabled, this was then activated at the halfway point in the semester. Once active, the battle game and wagering system became the main extrinsic motivational levers. To measure student interaction with the app, Unicraft2 logged all student activity to a database. To assess the impact on student motivation a pre-post study questionnaire was used based on the "motivated strategies of learning" (MSFL) survey tool (Artino, 2005). Semi-structured interviews were also conducted after the study to examine student experiences in more depth. Within the cohort, 54 people used the app every week until the study completed, 15 students agreed to act as a control and not use the app at all. The remaining 40 students dropped out towards the end of the study, this level of drop out was in line with falling attendance trends in this and other first year subjects these students attended. The app was only offered on the Android platform, due to costs of development, but Android tablets were offered to students who did not have a compatible device. For the first 5 weeks, the app provided the following gamification functionality:   For the last 5 weeks, the app provided the same functionality, plus more explicit video game mechanics and competition.


Unicraft2 recorded all mobile app activity on a cloud-hosted server (see Figure 6), storing anonymised user activity data.


All university subjects suffer falling attendance over time, with first-year subjects being particularly problematic. Part of Unicraft2's functionality involves recording and rewarding attendance. Attendance trends in FOP (Fundamentals of Programming), the subject using the software, outperformed all other first-year subjects. FOP drew in students from: Computer Science, Computer Science for Games and Software Engineering. These three cohorts attended a number of first year subjects that had their attendance recorded for comparison (See Table 1).
  C.S. C.S.F.G S.E.
Component programming     yes
Fundamentals of programming 2018 yes yes yes
Fundamentals of programming 2017 yes yes yes
Fundamentals of computer architecture yes yes yes
Introduction to game development   yes  
Professional and project development yes yes yes
Algorithms and data structures yes    
Systems modelling   yes yes
All subjects apart from FOP (2017 and 2018) show an accelerating decrease in attendance. FOP (2017 and 2018) is the only module countering this trend and in 2018, when Unicraft2 was used, it had its best year (see Figure 7). Interestingly, FOP 2017 was trialling in-class multi-choice quiz software (Turning technologies, 2015), which shows students are responding positively to more interactive forms of teaching, and this is most noticeable when Unicraft2 was used (an 11% increase).

How usage changed pre and post battle game activation

Just as students lose-interest/tire-of any subject over the semester, they will slowly disengage with gamification if they are not compelled to participate. The constructive competition in Unicraft2 provides extra compulsion. Once the battle game and wagers system activated, app usage rates increased. Only virtual item purchasing was higher initially, due to students customising their avatars at the start of the study with cheap items.

Impact on motivation

The MSFL questionnaire used pre/post study, measured levels of intrinsic motivation and agency. Extrinsic motivators often cause reductions in these measures (Deci et al., 1999), but in this case (see Table 2), none had a p-value below the statistically significant threshold of 0.006 (Bonferroni correction).
Questionnaire section Variance within experimental group Variance within control group Variance between experimental and control group - pre-test Variance between experimental and control group - post-test
Intrinsic goal orientation 2% t(58) = 0.62, p=0.5   0% t(19) = -0.06, p=0.96   1% t(28) = 0.33, p=0.7   4% t(14) = 1.07, p=0.3  
Extrinsic goal orientation 5% t(58) = 1.1, p=0.3 3% t(14) = 0.58, p=0.6   6% t(40) = 1.3, p=0.2   4% t(14) = 0.81, p=0.4  
Task value 0% t(54) = 0.09, p=0.9 1% t(16) = 0.24, p=0.8 1% t(32) = 0.42, p=0.7 3% t(15) = 0.71, p=0.5
Self-efficacy for learning and performance 3% t(57) = 0.68, p=0.5   5% t(17) = 1.22, p=0.2   1% t(32) = 0.14, p=0.9   1% t(31) = 0.43, p=0.7  
Test anxiety 1% t(45) = 0.13, p=0.9 8% t(15) = 0.63, p=0.5 0% t(22) = 0.04, p=0.96 7% t(13) = 0.62, p=0.6
Control of learning beliefs 1% t(50) = 0.38, p=0.7   3% t(15) = 1.04, p=0.3   4% t(39) = 1.25, p=0.2   8% t(22) = 2.27, p=0.033  
Table 2. MSFL questionnaire results, pre and post study


Within FOP, marks were compared with the previous student cohorts from 2016 and 2017. The results show an increase in average marks compared to the previous two-year average (see Figure 10). Where this increase is lowest, they were the group that engaged with the app the least.
Course 2016-7 2017-8 Average 2016-8 2018-9 Change
C.S. 63% 67% 65% 69% 4%
C.S.F.G 61% 63% 62% 69% 7%
S.E. 50% 50% 50% 60% 10%


The interviews confirmed what could be seen in the app metrics, attendance, attainment and questionnaire results. Students generally found using the app a positive experience, which made lectures and tutorials more interactive and fun.    


Unicraft2's constructive competition based video game mechanics, caused engagement with the app to increase significantly and reduced the rate at which student's lost interest (see Figure 8). There is no evidence that this gamification project negatively affected motivation (see Table 2). There is evidence that Unicraft2 increased attendance for the FOP subject compared to other subjects and by 11% compared to the same subject in the previous year (see Figure 7). There is evidence that interactive quizzes increase attendance and that Unicraft2 maximises that increase (see Figure 7). There is evidence that Unicraft2 caused an increase in student attainment of 7% (see Figure 10). These results support the study's three hypotheses: when gamification projects use more game mechanics, look more like videogames and use only constructive extrinsic motivators, participants are more likely to engage and stay engaged without loss of intrinsic motivation.



Digital Games In Primary Classes



Introducing digital game play into primary schools may support the development and consolidation of some transversal skills in a way that is perceived by students as interesting and motivating. Spending a great effort in playing carefully selected games, may provide children with the possibility to acquire and exercise basic skills that are important for their future. A methodology for the organization of game based activities in primary classes to foster basic transversal skills is presented and results from its application aimed at logical thinking and spatial reasoning are reported. Results show a positive effect on students' school performance and on their learning attitudes and behaviour.


The Italian National Guidelines for primary schools lists, among the learning objectives to be reached in mathematics, logical thinking (recognize and solve problems describing the used procedure and keep control of the process and results) and visuospatial abilities (recognize geometric figures when rotated, shifted or mirrored). These are basic transversal skills, closely correlated to students' school achievements in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), and they may have also a positive impact on their future working life. However, these skills develop slowly and supporting actions need to last several years (King and Kitchener, 1994; Edwards, 2013). Even if it was suggested that digital games can be used in schools to foster learning (Vaegs et al., 2010), they are not frequently studied from the point of view of learning outcomes (Facer et al., 2007). The present paper presents a methodology for the organization of game based activities to facilitate the consolidation of basic skills, and results from its application in a primary school context. A wide spectrum of game types is currently available off-the-shelf, including role-plays, adventures, puzzle games, etc. These also feature a range of different strategies such as free exploration/navigation, question and answer routines, artefact making, etc. requiring players to enact different skills in order to be successful in the game. When the games are carefully selected and used in a controlled manner, the great effort spent by children in playing may provide them the possibility to acquire and exercise at an early age transversal skills, which are considered crucial for a fruitful integration into the 21st Century digital world. However, an intensive and uncontrolled use of digital games can have negative impacts. According to Przybylski (2014), low levels of video game playing are associated with many benefits, both at a social and a personal level, but if the time spent on gaming exceeds a certain threshold these positive influences may diminish or disappear. Institute for Educational Technology of the Italian National Research Council established a line of research with the aim of investigating under which conditions playing selected off-the-shelf digital games could positively affect some basic transversal skill and, consequently, students' school success. A methodology was defined and tested, and results support the initial assumption: a positive impact on students' school performance and their learning attitudes and behaviour was found (Bottino et al., 2007; Bottino, Ott, and Tavella, 2011).

Digital entertainment games in formal education

When addressing education, "serious games" or "educational games" are often considered, this refers to games specifically built with an educational purpose. On the other hand, children spend a lot of time entertaining themselves with different games that have no specific educational aim. Nevertheless, playing with these games requires players to exercise specific skills and such skills can have a positive impact also on some school tasks. In our work, we considered the use of digital games that require the enactment of thinking and reasoning skills (i.e. games like puzzles or brainteasers), with the objective of defining, testing and refining a methodology for the selection and use of non-educational digital games in primary school classes aiming at the development of logical thinking and visuospatial abilities. The methodology, starting from a detailed analysis of the cognitive skills to be addressed, gives criteria for the selection of the games to be used and the organization of the intervention with a class. These include suggestions on the organization of the meetings and the needed tutoring support, guidelines on the ideal duration of the whole intervention as well as each play session and their frequency. Supporting materials such as monitoring sheets, management of game feedbacks, final appreciation questionnaires for students, etc. were also included. Moreover, general indications with respect to data that can be collected is given: observation sheets, interviews, game outcomes when available, as well as suggestions with respect to formal tests to measure students' performance.

A first study on reasoning abilities

The first study, involving four primary school classes in close cooperation with the class teachers, addressed the use of digital games to foster the development of logical thinking abilities (Bottino et al., 2014). Results from this study were then used to refine the methodology and devise specific teacher guidelines. Furthermore, the possibility to modify existing games making them more adaptable to the needs of learners was also investigated.
Game Selection
In order to choose the games to be used, a first analysis of the main abilities to be considered was carried out. The following elements were identified:
  • know the rules of the game and apply them in real game plays;
  • make an inference based on the available information in a certain moment of the game and/or on constraints given by the game;
  • evaluate if the available information at a certain time is enough to decide whether a move or a configuration is correct;
  • be able to combine previous reasoning to complete a schema in the game.
In the study, we focused on single player puzzle games, which, according to the game taxonomy presented by Gunn, Craenen, and Hart (2009), are small games that can be completed by using logical and reasoning skills to reach the goals. Games were selected primarily according to the skills they enact for their solutions, as well as other characteristics: the average time needed to complete a game session, the availability of different versions (single vs. multi player, aesthetics, etc.) and difficulty levels, the possibility to keep track of the player moves, the given feedback, etc. Game accessibility and costs, and the needed technological support were also considered. Most of the selected games run on Android tablets, and could be freely downloaded from the web.
Methodology and Results
The study involved four different classes of the last years of primary school. Students played once a week with the selected games for three months with the support of their class teacher and some researchers. All students showed a high interest and participation during game sessions and the experiment had a positive impact on the class climate. Qualitative data was collected both from direct observations, final questionnaires and interviews with the students. Moreover, results from a national assessment test were analysed and the experimental classes scored on average better than the other classes of the same school (Bottino et al., 2007). One of the main outcomes of this study points to the students' need for a close tutoring to help and guide their reasoning, fostering the application of deductive thinking rather than a trial-and-error approach to solve the given problem. In order to maximize the effect, the feedback offered by the games should be considered during game selection, and peer support during game play has proved to be very valuable. The possibility to adapt existing games enhancing their feedbacks to make the players more independent from their tutors is still under investigation. An open source version of the classic Master Mind game was modified to include the possibility to trace the players moves and to give a personalized feedback based on the game play (Bottino, Ott and Benigno, 2009).

A second study on visuospatial abilities

The methodology was then revised, teacher guidelines were created and then tested in a second study focused on fostering visuospatial abilities in students of the last two years of primary school (Freina et al., 2017). Visuospatial abilities include several different skills and there is no unique definition in literature. Nevertheless, all authors agree in including two main elements:
  • the ability to imagine a two or three dimensional object in space and understand how it changes when moved, rotated, reflected or stretched,
  • and the ability to understand positions in space, recognize the relative position of a set of objects, and understand what it would look like from a different point of view.
Several studies demonstrated that there is a close correlation between visuospatial abilities and achievements in STEM related subjects (Newcombe, 2010). Other studies showed that these abilities can be improved with a specific training and such an improvement is transferred to different contexts and lasts in time (Uttal et al., 2013). Consequently, a game-based training of visuospatial abilities in primary students was organized and its impact on school results in mathematics was measured using a standardized math test.
Preliminary Study
As the addressed skills were analysed, the strong embodied characteristics of visuospatial abilities emerged. A preliminary study was thus organized to assess the impact of immersion in a virtual world on the enactment of these abilities. The digital game "In Your Eyes", focused on Visual Perspective Taking: the ability to understand how a given scene would look like from the point of view of another person, was developed. The game takes place in a virtual living room, with a table in the middle and some objects on it. Four screens on the wall show the pictures of the table from the four sides. A virtual non-player character moves to one side of the table, and then asks the player to select the picture showing the table as he (the non-player character) sees it. The player can move in the room but has to go to a defined play position to answer. The game is available in a complete immersive version (which uses a Head Mounted Display), a semi-immersive version where the virtual world is seen through the computer screen, and a non-immersive version in which the player has only a fixed view of the room and cannot move. "In Your Eyes" was tested with a limited number of students to measure the impact of the different levels of immersion on performance in the game. Even though statistics showed a slight difference in scores in favour of the immersive version, such a difference was not significant (Freina et al., 2017). These results, the costs and limited availability of the Head Mounted Display, and some motion sickness experienced by a few students, made us decide not to use immersive games in the study. Thus, all the chosen games were either on tablets or standard computers.
Methodology and Results
Freina, Bottino and Ferlino (2018a) report the outcomes of the application of the methodology in two classes in the last years of an Italian primary school. In the initial analysis of the visuospatial abilities, the following components were selected: visual memory, visuo-motor coordination, the ability to imagine a bi- or three dimensional shape, the ability to understand what three dimensional object results from folding a two dimensional shape, finding strategies for filling an area or a volume, and orienting oneself in space. Based on these, a wide set of games was analysed and selected. Each meeting focused on one of the previously mentioned components, and several games were offered to the students, allowing them to choose freely according to their interests and abilities. A complete set of monitoring tools was defined, including observation sheets, questionnaires and interviews. A standardized math test was chosen to measure the students' mathematical achievements in the most consistent manner across different classes (Cornoldi et al., 2012). The test was given before the start of the training sessions and at the end of the project. Data analysis showed that those classes that followed the game session performed statistically better at the standardized math post-test when compared to control classes that followed the traditional curriculum only (Freina et al., 2017). All the involved students were enthusiastic of the game activities and participated with great commitment, even though with large differences both with respect to the kinds of games they chose and the level of difficulty they could reach. Nevertheless, it was noticed that the involvement and interest were generally higher in those activities that required a more active and creative participation from the children.


Our research studies highlight the pedagogical potential of puzzle games to support and foster problem solving, reasoning skills and visual spatial abilities, showing that their use under certain conditions may have a positive impact on school performance in curricular subjects such as mathematics. The experience gained in such studies, supports the assumption that early and appropriately designed interventions focused on transversal skills carried out through game-based activities can positively affect students' school performance as well as students' learning attitudes and behaviour. Some elements still need a deeper study. For example, results show that students improve better their play strategies when they receive personalized support. This may be achieved through an adaptation of the games to be used, enriching them with specific feedback. Due to the students' high interest for all the activities that allowed them to be more active and creative, the focus of the following experiments was widened to include game making activities. Game making can be a very valuable educational activity, able to trigger students' transversal skills, such as reasoning abilities, creative attitudes and computational thinking skills (Bottino and Chioccariello, 2015). Kafai and Burke (2016) argued that student-designed games can teach not only programming but also academic subjects and transversal basic skills such as collaboration and teamwork. However, they do not suggest a shift to game making from game playing but rather argue for a more comprehensive, inclusive idea of game use in education in which both making and playing should be considered. Specific environments to support game making activities are available and there is an increasing interest in their educational use. Since a long time period, spanning over all the primary grades, is needed to allow students to gain the needed experience and increase their coding abilities, after a first definition of a learning path supporting CT in primary school (Freina et al., 2018b), a long term study is currently being carried out spanning from grades 3 to 5 of a primary school. Data is being collected with respect to every student showing their gradual improvement in coding and will be analysed at the end of every school year.


  • Bottino, R.M., Ferlino, L., Ott, M., & Tavella, M. (2007). Developing strategic and reasoning abilities with computer games at primary school level. Computers & Education, 49(4), 1272-1286.
  • Bottino, R.M., Ott, M., & Benigno, V. (2009, October). Digital mind games: experience-based reflections on design and interface features supporting the development of reasoning skills. In Proc. 3rd European Conference on Game Based Learning (pp. 53-61).
  • Bottino, R.M., Ott, M., & Tavella, M. (2011, September). Children's performance with digital mind games and evidence for learning behaviour. In World Summit on Knowledge Society (pp. 235-243). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-35879-1_28.
  • Bottino, R.M., Ott, M., & Tavella, M. (2014). Serious gaming at school: Reflections on students' performance, engagement and motivation. International Journal of Game-Based Learning (IJGBL), 4(1), 21-36.
  • Bottino, R., & Chioccariello, A. (2015). Computational thinking: videogames, educational robotics, and other powerful ideas to think with. KEYCIT: Key Competencies in Informatics and ICT, 7, 301.
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  • Edwards, S. (2013). Digital play in the early years: a contextual response to the problem of integrating technologies and play-based pedagogies in the early childhood curriculum. European early childhood education research journal, 21(2), 199-212.
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  • Freina, L., Bottino, R., & Ferlino, L. (2018a). Visuospatial Abilities Training with Digital Games in a Primary School. International Journal of Serious Games, 5(3), 23-35.
  • Freina, L., Bottino, R., & Ferlino, L. (2018b, December). A Learning Path in Support of Computational Thinking in the Last Years of Primary School. In International Conference on Games and Learning Alliance (pp. 16-27). Springer, Cham.
  • Freina, L., Bottino, R., Tavella, M., & Chiorri, C. (2017). Evaluation of Spatial Perspective Taking Skills using a Digital Game with Different Levels of Immersion. International Journal of Serious Games, 4(3).
  • Gunn, E.A.A., Craenen, B.G.W., & Hart, E. (2009). A taxonomy of video games and AI. In AI and Games Symposium (pp. 4-14).
  • Kafai, Y.B., & Burke, Q. (2016). Connected gaming: What making video games can teach us about learning and literacy. Mit Press.
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  • Newcombe, N.S. (2010). Picture this: Increasing math and science learning by improving spatial thinking. American Educator, 34(2), 29.
  • Przybylski, A.K. (2014). Electronic gaming and psychosocial adjustment. Pediatrics, 134(3), e716-e722.
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  • Vaegs, T., Dugosija, D., Hackenbracht, S., & Hannemann, A. (2010). Learning by gaming: facts and myths. International Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning, 2(1-2), 21-40.

Player Identity Construction And Co-construction In Counter Strike: Global Offensive Within An Educational Context

Within online gaming, individual players need to work together in teams where the game play demands communication and a common goal. Therefore, their construction of situated player identities within the game context is affected by the situated in-game context. These player identities are actively (co)constructed in and through the in-game interaction, which is, therefore, worthy of studying per se. With the growing esports scene, there is also an additional level to consider; that is, professionalisation within a setting that mainly used to be a spare time activity and has now become present in educational contexts, as exemplified in this study.
In order to comprehend the identities construed within these games, we need to better understand their interactions in and through games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, CS:GO (Valve Corporation & Hidden Path Entertainment, 2012). In this ethnographic study, a player centered approach offers a participants perspective on CS:GO. Previous research with a player-centered research approach on online games offers different forms of data collection, from observing LANs (Witkowski, 2013) and Twitch streams (Ruvalbaca et al, 2018) to Bennerstedts (2013) autoethnographic screen recordings of an online game. The overarching aim of the study is to explore local player identity construction and co-construction in the multiplayer video game CS:GO within an educational context. This paper seeks to answer two research questions: What possible tools or arenas for constructing and co-constructing player identity does CS:GO offer? and: What player identities are constructed using these tools?
The ethnographic data used in this study was collected in collaboration with a vocational school with an esports programme in Finland in 2017-2018. Seven of their students (aged 17-18, all male) playing CS:GO took part in the study by sharing screen recordings of their games and by taking part in interviews. The students were part of two teams and the in-game data is analyzed from two students' perspectives, one from each team. The data consists of six hours of screen recordings from both teams (amounting to ten games) and of group interviews with both teams (amounting to seven interviews). The data is analysed abductively with phases of inductive analysis before and after categorisation based upon Burke's pentad (1969; 1989).
The preliminary results indicate that CS:GO offers tools for identity construction and co- construction on three levels: skins (virtual goods with aesthetic properties), game play (player interaction with the game) and team chat. The preliminary results further indicate that the tools are used in diverse ways to (co)construct player identities. Skins appear to be part of both economic and aesthetic aspects, whereas the gameplay offers the tools for displaying one's own (and seeing other's) identities as competent esports players, as well as collective virtually embodied greetings. The voice chat provides affordances for explicit negotiations and orientation towards the external norms of the typical esports player identity. Furthermore, the preliminary results indicate that by analysing how the players orient to the norms of the ideal esports player, we can distinguish their own local, individual, identities.
Keywords: Identity construction, video games, ethnography

We Make Games. Evaluation Of A Game-design Project In Austrian Secondary Schools

The project We Make Games aims at bringing game-design to secondary schools as a means of teaching for subjects others than software engineering and media design. About 50 teachers from 24 Austrian schools (various types of secondary schools from all over Austria) took part in the project which was supported and financed by the Austrian ministry of education. Starting with a train-the-trainer workshop (teaching basics of game-design), the first part of the project concentrated on teacher training and implementing the game-design method in classes. Participating students (taught by the teachers having taken part in the teacher training workshop) were asked to come up with a game design idea for a serious game and present their idea and their team (ideally also a paper prototype) in a short video to be uploaded to the project platform. All entries were evaluated by a jury of game (design) experts. Basically, the students were free to choose their topic as long as it was a serious game. In this context, serious games are defined as being developed for a different purpose than pure entertainment (Michael & Chen, 2005; Bogost, 2007). 78 teams submitted a video and 8 of them were chosen to take part in the second part of the project where students (and teachers) were invited to a two-days kind of game jam where experts supported them in making a playable digital prototype out of their idea. Using game design as a constructionist learning environment (cf. Kafai, 1994) has often been researched from the pupils' and students' point of view and their learning progress. However, there have also been studies looking at pupils and pre-service teachers to find out about the potential of teaching and learning by creating a virtual game learning environment for others (cf. Kafai et al. 1998; Ruggiero & Green, 2017). Compared to digital game-based learning, the creation of games is not as widespread. This is probably due to the fact that designing digital games provides some obstacles as for example the lack of special knowledge in creating games, the high resources regarding hardware and software that are required and finally, the high amount of time that is needed to produce a working digital game. The focus of the project evaluation was put on the teachers participating in the project to show if the game-design approach would be suitable for various subjects and settings in secondary school. Moreover, the research intended to find out if the project could increase teachers' media literacy and their understanding of serious games. Finally, it showed which pre-conditions have to be fulfilled to implement the approach successfully. The following research questions were answered by formative evaluation:
  • Which (media) competencies of teachers increased because of the project?
  • Which (media) competencies should teachers already have to carry out the project successfully?
  • Which general conditions need to be fulfilled?
  • Is the approach suitable for different subjects?
  • Can the project change the attitude towards serious game (design) positively?
  • Which learning processes do students undergo (according to the participating teachers)?
A mixed-methods approach was used to answer these questions. Teachers filled in three online-questionnaires (before the project started and while working with the classes During the unstructured observation took place. After the train-the-trainer workshop in October 2017, paper and pencil questionnaires were used to evaluate the workshop and to find out about participants' knowledge gain. Additionally, some of the teachers were interviewed using semi-structured interviews to gain more insight into expectations, challenges and results of the project. Workshop II basically was a de-briefing workshop in which the teachers talked about their experience and potentials for improving the project setup. Finally, teachers of the student teams that qualified for the second part of the project were invited to a group discussion. Generally, evaluation of the first part of the project has shown that teachers think the approach works in various subject and is best-suited for cross-curricular work. The concept of the project (train-the-trainer workshop at the beginning of the project, possibility of asking questions in between and constant support by experts) was seen very positively. What is more, as the teachers were taught the basics of game-design, many of them are willing to do similar projects with other classes, even if there is no official project. This proves to be a big advantage compared to a project setup where external experts teach learners how to design a game. Sustainability and repeatability are thus better guaranteed. Although such a project is more time-consuming than traditional lessons, teachers appreciated the additional skills their students acquired, like presentation, media-literacy, team-work, problem-solving, thinking out of the box skills and it enhanced their creativity. External motivation because of the game-concept competition was also seen positively, although project set-up should be adapted to include categories for students with different experience levels. All in all, most of the expectations that were ranked rather high before the project were met. Time pressure proved to be a major challenge in the project. Most of the teachers complained about having not enough time for coaching and the students did not have enough time to work on their concepts as the period between start of the project and deadline of the competition was shorter than two months. However, 78 entries show that it is even possible to work well under time constraint. Some teachers would like to have a project like that as an optional subject to avoid having to cut back on the original syllabus. This solution would also prevent teachers from having to invest much unpaid time for supporting their students.  


  • Bogost, I. (2007). Persuasive games: The expressive power of videogames. Cambridge, MA: Mit Press.
  • Kafai, Y. B. (1994). Minds in Play. Computer Game Design as a Context for Children's Learning. New York: Routledge.
  • Kafai, Y. B., Franke, M., Ching, C. & Shih, J.C. (1998). Game Design as an Interactive Learning Environment for Fostering Students' and Teachers' Mathematical Inquiry. International Journal of Computers for Mathematical Learning, 3(2), 149-184.
  • Michael, D., & Chen, S. (2005). Serious games: Games that educate, train, and inform. Mason: Course Technology PTR
  • Ruggiero, D. & Green, L. (2017). Problem Solving Through Digital Game Design: A Quantitative Content Analysis. Computers in Human Behavior, 73, 28-37.

Using Minecraft To Teach Craft, Design And Technology In Primary School

Being able to handle technology and digital media is subsumed as key competence of the 21st century. Therefore, school plays a vital role to teach pupils from a very early age on how to evaluate chances and risks of modern technology as well as using it to solve problems, communicate and collaborate. Austrian primary schools are quite often equipped with PCs or computer labs but teachers do not make frequent use of them. Especially the subject "craft, design and technology" primarily focuses on working with wood or metal and does not integrate modern technology. Therefore, this research wanted to find out what pre-service teachers for primary school think of using Minecraft as part of the subject "craft, design and technology" to teach basics in building and architecture which is part of the curriculum. Instead of traditionally working with wood, stones and clay, students should learn how to create buildings in a virtual environment and printing their result using a 3-D-printer. The project aimed at finding out about attitudes and mindsets of pre-service teachers (third year of studies) about digital game-based learning in the subject "craft, design and technology" by using Minecraft. The potential of digital games (commercial and serious games) has been discussed for more than a decade (Gee 2007, Ritterfeld et al. 2009). However, in order to use digital games, teachers need special training (Van Eck 2006). Minecraft was chosen for the project because it helps to teach collaborative learning, critical thinking and problem solving (Ellison, Evans & Pike 2016) - all of these skills crucial for pupils. Research has already shown that Minecraft can engage and motivate children to deal with architecture (Roberts-Woychesin 2015). The following research questions were dealt with:
  • Which potential (if any) do pre-service see in using Minecraft in primary school (referring to the subject "craft, design and technology")?
  • Which pre-conditions and success-factors can be identified that digital games (especially Minecraft) are used for teaching in the subject "craft, design and technology"?
Data was generated by using lectures for "craft, design and technology" at an Austrian university teacher college in 2017/18. Altogether, 84 students took part in the lectures (winter and summer term). In each lecture, the students were taught using Minecraft for 4-5 lessons (45 minutes each). The students worked in groups, using the Minecraft-mode "creativity". After having gotten familiar with the software, the students worked in their groups to solve a virtual construction task (for example a knight's castle, various buildings, a settlement or a ship). The finished constructions were printed using a 3-D-printer. Each participating student of the summer term 2018 interviewed two students who took part in the lecture in winter term 2017. 58 interviews were conducted using a semi-structured interview guide, recorded and transcribed. The results were categorized in seven deductive categories:
  • Attitude towards using Minecraft
  • Attitude towards using digital games in lessons
  • Advantages of Minecraft
  • Technical equipment of primary schools
  • Assessment of own digital literacy
  • Problems when using Minecraft
  • Needs regarding pre-service training at university
When analyzing the data two groups of students could be identified: those who are not willing to use Minecraft in lessons and those who think more positively about using Minecraft. Generally seen students appreciated about Minecraft that it helps to teach conception of space and architectural planning in a very motivating and creative way. However, students would not use Minecraft in grade 1 or 2. As students were taught themselves in Minecraft and experienced the positive effects of team-work in the seminar, most of them also quoted teamwork as another skill acquired. The majority, however, also stated that using games like Minecraft needs to be carefully thought about as children spend much time with digital media at home anyway and school needs to teach basic skills like reading, writing and calculating and especially in subjects like "craft, design and technology" to work with their hands. Learning games are expected to generate measurable results in curricular topics. Therefore, they need to make sense and should not be used just to play games. Because of being able to connect Minecraft to the curriculum (building and housing) combined with the possibility of printing the virtual object and thus making it tangible and touchable the game fulfils this purpose. Problems, however, are seen when thinking of the technical equipment of primary schools - there are not enough computers available. The second research questions about pre-conditions found out that one part of the students (those who think positively about using Minecraft in lessons) sees the following conditions: If hardware is available for the number of pupils to be taught and the teacher has necessary digital literacy, the chance of using Minecraft is very high. When coming across any problems, this group of studies would try to solve them creatively and on their own. On the other hand, the group who does not think they will ever use Minecraft or similar games, are generally quite skeptical towards digital media. They do not see any advantages in using Minecraft for teaching. The results therefore show that the personal attitude towards digital media and especially digital media partly influences how students see pre-conditions and success factors for using Minecraft in class. What is interesting - it does not necessarily depend on their own digital literacy. Even some students who rate their own digital competences rather high, object the use of digital media in primary school.
  • Ellison, Tisha Lewis, Evans, Jessica N., Pike, Jim (2016): Minecraft, Teachers, Parents, and Learning: What They Need to Know and Understand. In: School Community Journal 26/2. S. 25-43.
  • Gee, James Paul (2007): What Video games?have to?teach us about learning and literacy. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Ritterfeld, Ute et al.?(2009): Serious Games: Mechanisms and Effects. New York: Routledge.
  • Roberts-Woychesin, Jami (2015): Understanding 3-D spaces through game-based learning. A case study of knowledge acquisition through problem-based learning in Minecraft.?University?of?North Texas:?ProQuest?Dissertations?Publishing.
  • Van Eck, Richard (2006): Digital Game-Based?Learning:?It's?Not Just?the?Digital Natives Who Are Restless ...?In: EDUCAUSE Review 41/2. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Richard_Van_Eck/publication/242513283_Digital_Game_Based_LEARNING_It's_Not_Just_the_Digital_Natives_Who_Are_Restless/links/0a85e53cd61cf43e29000000.pdf?(last accessed 29 Nov 2017)

Playing Your Way To Change: The Development Of Serious Games For The Construction Industry

Serious Games and 'game-based learning' is increasing in popularity as a teaching method and is currently being utilised in many primary schools, universities and companies around the world. Serious Games aim to entertain users using non-traditional learning tools to achieve the primary goal of education and training. In recent years, there have been many studies and experiments carried out in order to test whether serious games make it possible to play and learn simultaneously. Models, frameworks and methodologies have been developed by researchers in order to explore the elements that contribute to an engaging and pedagogically sound Serious Game. However, there is a dearth of research into the effectiveness of Serious Games in education and training within the construction sector.
In 2012, the EU funded Build Up Skills Ireland (BUSI) project conducted a skills gap analysis of the construction sector in relation to the capacity of the workforce for delivering low energy buildings. One of the most significant conclusions of the report was an identified need for an introductory course on the principles of low energy buildings for all building construction workers. In line with the findings of the BUSI project in 2012, the FES programme focussed on a pedagogical approach that would best address the identified knowledge gaps and need for attitudinal change amongst construction workers. The overarching aim of this study and the main research question is to explore whether upskilling training can be delivered successfully through the use of Serious Games, particularly in relation to effectiveness for training of construction skills and capacity for effecting attitudinal change. The potential of Serious Games for upskilling construction workers will be explored through comparison with more traditional methods such as training videos, toolbox sessions, classroom, etc. This will also consider the potential of Serious Games to appeal to the characteristics of the typical construction learner and how this might be best deployed to enhance the development of learning resources. The approach will specifically be applied to the upskilling of construction workers on low energy building principles, using Serious Games to simulate scenarios that occur on a live construction site and provide learners with an opportunity to virtually interact with issues they are likely to face.
An important element of this project will be the creation of a framework for the development of digital learning resources for the training of construction workers. This will potentially reduce development time for future upgrades to learning materials. Based on this framework, a 3D interactive Serious Game prototype will be developed. This prototype will be critically evaluated by participants of the QualiBuild Train the Trainers programme in an iterative design process.

Jamming The Assessment: Examining The Viability Of A Game Jam Exercise As An Assessment Tool

While game jams, rapid game co-creation events, have seen increased interest in learning contexts (e.g. Fowler et al. 2016; Meriläinen 2019), their potential is still largely untapped. In this paper, we examine game jams and learning from a different point of view: instead of assessing learning in game jams, we examine game jams as a form of assessment. Earlier research (see Vos 2015) suggests that when combined with assessment elements, games and simulations can enable teachers to assess more complex skills than traditional tests. This potentially allows teachers to have a more comprehensive understanding of what students know. In these instances, assessment can reveal not only what a student knows but also whether they are able to apply their knowledge in a meaningful way. Drawing from the constructionist learning approach (see Kafai & Burke 2015), this study explores how making games, rather than playing them (cf. Vos 2015), can be used as part of student assessment in higher education. Design as a process requires utilizing the acquired knowledge in finding a solution to ill-defined problems (Cross 2007), which requires students to internalize the knowledge and through this supports learning. Further, applying the knowledge in digital game design has potential for empowering students (Kafai & Burke 2015), which can benefit the learning process. As such, using game jams as an assessment method offers twofold benefits - teacher can evaluate how well students have internalized the course contents by evaluating the design outcomes while students get additional learning benefits from the assessment session. The study is built around a university course titled "Analysing Storytelling in Digital Media" which was taught during the autumn term 2018 at the University of Helsinki, Finland. The course was part of the Master studies' programme in English philology, and most of the 21 students attending it were English majors with no previous experience in game studies. The course was designed to provide students with a grasp of tools and methods to study storytelling and narratives in digital media and to enable students to apply them to analyse both the processes of creating and using digital media. The last item on the course was a game jam using Twine, a game creation application for building branching narrative games, with the idea of giving the students a practical insight into designing and telling a story by means of a digital platform. Furthermore, the students were encouraged to make good use of the ideas and concepts discussed during the course. The game jam was organised as a part of the group exercises during the course, and the students worked in four five-person groups. The groups made preliminary plans for the games beforehand (e.g. discussing them via email), while the actual jam with face-to-face participation lasted approximately two hours. After participating in the game jam as a part of their groups, the students were instructed to write an entry into their course journal and reflect on their personal experiences of the jam. The data for our study comprises of these course journal entries (18 entries of the jam participants; 3 entries of independent experiments from students who could not participate - they tried out making a small game on their own).

Methodology and data

In this qualitative study, we examined the use of game jamming as a pragmatic tool for assessing learning processes and goals of the students. The goals of the "Analysing Storytelling in Digital Media" course were as follows: the students should 1) have a good grasp of the characteristics and affordances of digital media, especially in comparison with the so-called print or legacy media, 2) be able to apply relevant theories to the analysis of storytelling in various forms of digital media (e.g., games, social media), and 3) be able to write reflectively on their own interpretations of the works and applications of the methodology. We looked at these goals in relation the course journal entries written by the game jam participants. In our view, game jams potentially complement the existing, more conventional assessment methods as they strongly encourage the jammers - and, in this case, the students - to apply knowledge they have acquired practically. Research questions were formulated as follows:
  • Is game jamming a viable tool for assessing student learning on a university course?
  • What limitations and requirements are there in the use of game jamming in assessment?
We addressed the questions by conducting a thematic analysis as described by Braun & Clarke (2006). Thematic analysis is a qualitative analysis method for identifying themes in a data set. It is useful for its flexibility, as it is compatible with a range of different theoretical and epistemological approaches, but is not limited to any single one (ibid.). This flexibility does not mean, however, that thematic analysis is conducted in a theoretical or epistemological vacuum, as it is conducted following established structure well described by Castleberry & Nolen (2018). As a method it is also closely related to content analysis, and terms are sometimes used interchangeably (Braun et al. 2019). We identified themes mainly on a semantic level, focusing on what the respondents explicitly reported and sought to interpret it, rather than seeking to discern latent themes in the reports. Our method falls into the school of reflexive thematic coding where the coding process is an organic one and themes result as an output of the analysis (Braun et al. 2019). An inductive approach with a focus on description and interpretation was seen useful when conducting exploratory research on a little known topic where coding framework is difficult to formulate before the analysis process. The use of thematic analysis allowed us to identify themes related to student learning and their experience of the game jam in the data. These themes were then examined against the learning goals of the course to discern how students were applying knowledge and concepts obtained during the course when building a narrative game of their own

Preliminary results

Preliminary assessment of the data suggests that the short game jam format encouraged reflection of the course content as well as its application. Results are not uniform, though, with notable individual variation. A short-format game jam as described in this study is therefore likely to work better as supporting other forms of assessment than as an only method. However, results suggest that a more extensive, in-depth game jam could have potential for more a comprehensive assessment. Additionally, based on the student reports, game jamming is able to lend itself to supporting learning in a higher education setting, provided it is instructed and planned well with a clear structure. Especially in the context of non-game development students, it must be carefully considered whether the learning goals should be focused on school subject content or on the participants' personal development and heightened learning motivation (see Meriläinen 2019). For most of the participants, this was their first actual experience of game creation, meaning the jam itself served to bridge the gap from theoretical concepts to practice.


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  • Cross, N. 2007. Designerly Ways of Knowing. Basel: Birkhauser.
  • Fowler, A., Pirker, J., Pollock, I., Paula, B. C., Echeveste, M. E. & Gómez, M. J. 2016. Understanding the benefits of game jams. Exploring the potential for engaging young learners in STEM. In Proceedings of the 2016 ITiCSE Working Group Reports. New York, NY: ACM, 119-135.
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  • Meriläinen, M. 2019. First-Timer Learning Experiences in Global Game Jam. International Journal of Game-Based Learning 9 (1), 30-41.
  • Vos, L. 2015. Simulation games in business and marketing education: How educators assess student learning from simulations. The International Journal of Management Education 13, 57-74.

Re-Staging Design: Queering Informal Game Making Education

Previous research on gamejams have presented them as a useful informal learning space for creativity, innovation and inclusion (Ryan et al. 2015; Kultima, A. 2015). Others have argued that all-female gamejams and incubators are effective interventions for improving diversity in the games industry and games culture (Kennedy, H. 2018; Harvey and Fischer, 2015). However, while these gamejams are often ostensibly open to all, the actual possibilities for participations are often dictated by the dynamics and affordances of the spaces in which gamejams take place. What forms of diversity are encouraged by these gamejams, and what are not? How can these events be leveraged to challenge the dominant global industry 'pipeline' and 'skills' discourses and encourage more diverse participation? This paper seeks to address these questions by presenting the findings of a three-year research project involving mixed-gender informal game making events, exploring the possibilities of refiguring gamejams as sites of queer expression and resistance in the broader sense advocated by Ruberg and Phillips (2018). This project firstly surveyed and observed three gamejams in three different cities in Ireland, which were 'open to everyone'. We found that these events predominantly attracted young male programmers and identified several implicit and explicit barriers to participation. The project then organised six 'beginner friendly and female friendly' game development workshops in two different locations in Ireland, designed to address some of the barriers we had identified. These events were observed by researchers, and both entry and exit surveys were conducted. While our workshops were largely successful in attracting a diverse range of participants, the pre-scripted codes of our locations and tools presented a range of unanticipated challenges. As the attendees diversified, we identified a number of virtual and physical barriers that were influencing our attempts to create an inclusive pedagogy and alternative forms of knowledge. In this paper we explore how what Kitchin and Dodge (2011) define as coded spaces and code/spaces influence creativity, pedagogy, and inclusion, leveraging the specific lens applied by Cockayne and Richardson (2017) in examining code/spaces from the perspective of queer theory. Additionally, we explore the inter-relationship between physical spaces and software, and the influence of pre-scripted social and cultural codes on gendered behaviour and collaboration, particularly their interaction with the cultural tendency to encourage men to master computing technologies while steering women away from them (Wajcman 2004). Further, we reflect on the influence of the pedagogical approach adopted on the educational outcomes (Pelletier and Johnstone, 2018), and how they complicated the 'beginner friendly and female friendly' ethos of the workshops. Many diversity events focus on attracting a diverse or targeted group of people, but our findings would suggest that inclusive educational events need to attend to a highly contextual range of spatial, technical and social factors to be successful. Our findings have implications for both formal and informal educational uses of gamejams, as well as wider forms of public engagement in science and technology which often rely on volunteer tutors and organisers as well as both coded and code/spaces.


  • Cockanye, Daniel G. and Lizzie Richardson. 2017. "Queering Code/Space: The Co-production of Socio-sexual Codes and Digital Technologies. Gender, Place & Culture 24(11):1642-1658. doi: 10.1080/0966369X.2017.1339672.
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  • Kitchin, Rob, and Martin Dodge. 2011. Code/space: Software and everyday life. London: The MIT Press.
  • Kennedy, Helen W. 2018. "Game Jam as Feminist Methodology: The Affective Labors of Intervention in the Ludic Economy." Games and Culture:1555412018764992.
  • Kultima, Annakaisa. 2015. "Defining Game Jam." 10th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, Pacific Grove, CA.
  • Pelletier, Caroline, and Danielle Johnstone. 2018. "Facilitating Diversity-Centred Adult Computing Education." Transactions of the Digital Games Research Association 4 (1).
  • Ruberg, Bonnie and Amanda Phillips. 2018. "Not Gay as in Happy: Queer Resistance and Video Games (Introduction). Game Studies 18(3).
  • Wajcman, Judy. 2014. Techno Feminism. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Effective ELLE-ments: Learner Preferences In Learning Game Features And Mechanics


Prior research suggests that presenting knowledge embedded within videogames can increase learner motivation, engagement, critical thinking, and retention (Eichenbaum, Bavelier, & Green 2014; Fullerton, 2014; Chiappe, Conger, Liao, Caldwell, & Vu, 2013; Strobach, Frensch, & Schubert, 2012; Przybylski, Rigby, & Ryan, 2010; Gee, 2003). This research has expanded along with technology in recent years, and scholars have investigated learning in more widely available console and PC videogames (Fang & Yang, 2017; Charsky & Mims, 2008) as well as embodied mixed-reality (Lindgren & Johnson-Glenberg, 2013) and virtual reality (VR) platforms (Martin-Gutiérrez, Mora, Anorbe-Diaz, & González-Marrero, 2017; Santos et al., 2009). Language learning has also benefited from improving technology and videogames are now utilized in different ways to teach and enhance second language acquisition (SLA) (Peterson, 2010; Chapelle, 2008). This study examines player preferences in an endless-runner style educational videogame called ELLE the EndLess LEarner created for second language acquisition (SLA). Designed by the interdisciplinary team of authors, this innovative game is playable on VR and PC platforms, and it was created to be an engaging way for second language learners to practice foreign vocabulary terms. Because motivation is such an influential facet of learning, it seemed logical to the team that a game that allowed learners to practice vocabulary terms-a traditionally mundane task that learners often avoid-should encourage language students to more readily and more frequently engage in vocabulary practice. The specific mechanics with which players would engage and find beneficial for learning, however, were less obvious to the team. The objective of this study is to assess specific game mechanics and features that are most beneficial for learning foreign vocabulary in an endless-runner game. ELLE the EndLess LEarner is a robust database-driven game that can be easily customized to teach vocabulary words, phrases, and even pictograms from any semiotic domain, regardless of language or subject. Vocabulary retention is often a challenge for language learners and a frequent frustration for their instructors. The "endless" nature of this videogame encourages repeated practice of terms in several formats (text, image, and audio) in a game environment, which the authors believe lessens the learners' fear of failure. The language coed into the game for the study described here was Portuguese, in preparation for a future research study planned in a Portuguese language course at the authors' university. The VR version of ELLE has the player constantly moving forward through a rather sparsely decorated museum. The player is presented with a term (spoken in Portuguese, English text, Portuguese text, or an image) that must be matched with the corresponding image or text translation. The term to be matched is presented beside the door they are running toward, while the 3-5 match selections (3 for the "easy" setting, 4 for medium, and 5 for hard) appear above a door. They must use the handheld game controller to point and click a laser at the corresponding correct match over the door. If their choice is correct, the door will open. If the choice is incorrect, the door will remain closed and the player will simply 'break' through the door, to indicate to the player the inaccuracy of their choice. Additional game elements are included in this version-brick walls that players need to dodge by stepping left or right-intended to increase player engagement. Players earn 10 points for each correct match and 1 point for dodging each obstacle. They lose 10 points for each incorrect match and 1 point for not dodging an obstacle. After the player has made a selection, the correct match is highlighted by a checkmark and the incorrect selections receive X marks over them to help the player understand the answer. The PC over-the-shoulder (OTS) version of ELLE is quite similar, though played on a desktop computer. The game retains a similar point of view as the VR version, but the player's view is just behind the avatar. To control the avatar in this build, players utilize the arrow keys to move left and right to dodge the same brick walls as the VR version, and then navigate their avatar into the doorway directly beneath the correct match. Terms for matching are pulled randomly from the same database as the VR version. The PC side-scroller build (SS) takes a side view of the avatar, which is continually running from left to right. This version has the player use the spacebar to make the avatar jump over logs rather than dodging brick walls and to jump to "hit" the matching term when it appears directly over the avatar's head. Again, the terms are pulled randomly from the same database as the other versions.

Research Questions

  • Which features of the game do players report being the most effective for helping them learn?
  • What game mechanics do players mention as beneficial for learning the experience?


The three different modalities of ELLE were created using different builds from the same Unreal project base and therefore consist of the same graphics and audio. They differ in the way the player controls the game as well as perspective the player sees. A fourth game was included as a control: a digital flashcard game containing the same terms in the form of images, English text, and Portuguese text (there is no audio available for this game). All participants completed a pretest survey that included items assessing their knowledge of the vocabulary terms in the game in addition to their expertise with non-English languages. Participants then played their randomly assigned game for 20 minutes, then completed a post-survey assessing knowledge of the same vocabulary terms as well as their gameplay experience and basic demographic information. Both the pre- and post-surveys were administered using a web-based questionnaire. A total of 37 players volunteered for an interview after completing the study, though the audio recordings for two of them were inaudible, and one participant's data was completely removed from the study because they accidentally took the pretest two times and omitted the posttest. This resulted in a total of 34 participants for this portion of analysis: 15 female 18 male, and one who did not wish to indicate their gender. Of these, 10 had experienced the VR condition, 7 from the OTS version, 10 who played the SS build, and 7 who played the control game, TOT. This paper looks specifically at the answer these participants gave to the interview question, "What features of the game did you find most useful in learning about the language?" Audio recordings of the participants' verbatim responses have been transcribed and will be coded following the thematic analysis process described by Braun and Clarke (2019). The codes will be compared between conditions to reveal specific game features participants indicated as beneficial for learning.


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Investigating The Design Of Educational Video Games By Fifth Graders: Processes And Outcomes

The problem of school failure brings the need for new pedagogical strategies to motivate and teach students, especially in contexts of higher risk. We propose the creation of educational video games as a pedagogical strategy to motivate students to learn, and engage them with their learning processes. Several studies have highlighted the potential of games for learning, motivation and engagement (Connolly, Boyle, MacArthur, Hainey & Boyle, 2012; Perrotta, Featherstone, Aston & Houghton, 2013). Assigning students the role of game designers is one of the possible approaches to game integration in education, supported by Constructionism (Papert & Harel, 1991; Kafai & Burke, 2015) that argues that knowledge building is more effective when combined with the creation of artefacts. In this view, technology must be manipulated by students to express their ideas, which also aligns with the benefits of learning-by-design (Resnick & Cooke, 1998). We suggest the construction of video games to incorporate curricular contents. Thus, students that design a game have to understand a theme in order to integrate it into their artefact, with the added responsibility of knowing that it can be used for the teaching-learning of their colleagues.

Although there is evidence that video game design can have a positive impact on learning and engagement (Earp, 2015; Kafai & Burke, 2015), there is still a lot of work to be done concerning research of educational video game-design by students (Hava & Cakir, 2017), particularly in the context of Portuguese schools (Lopes & Oliveira, 2013). With this study we aim to contribute to the research question: what effects does the creation of educational video games by middle school students, in contexts of risk of school failure, have on their motivation and learnings? The study analyses the creation of video games by fifth grade students to teach Mathematics and Portuguese in a classroom context, with the purpose of understanding its processes and outcomes, with the main goals: 1. Implement the proposed pedagogical strategy in a school context, in a classroom situation; 2. Implement the proposed pedagogical strategy with students at risk of school failure; 3. Understand the processes and effects of the creation of educational video games by 5th grade students; 4. Explore teachers' perceptions regarding the proposed pedagogical strategy.

After having developed a training action with middle school teachers on this subject, the proposed pedagogical strategy (creation of educational video games by students) was implemented at a TEIP (Educational Territory of Priority Intervention) School, with two of the participant teachers and their students, regarding two of the fundamental disciplines of the Portuguese national educational system, Portuguese and Mathematics. The research was carried out in a school located in the district of Braga, in the north of Portugal.

The methodological strategy adopted was a case study. The study was carried out with two groups of eighteen students each, and their respective teachers of Portuguese and Mathematics. Participants worked in teams of three and designed games to teach their peers about curricular content, over four ninety-minute sessions. All work sessions were held during compulsory school time. Students were aged between 11 and 12 years old, and two thirds were male. Besides socioeconomic factors that place the participants in a context of higher risk of school failure, more than one-third of them were identified as having specific problems that affect their learning (most with attention deficit, one student with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, one student with oppositional defiant disorder, and one student with special education needs).

Eighteen students had the challenge of creating a video game about a Geometry theme and eighteen students had the same challenge but with themes related to Word Classes; each team had to plan a game on one of the themes and implement it in a digital format. Within each team students performed different functions, alternating weekly: 1. Organizer, responsible for guiding the team and ensuring everyone worked together; 2. Writer, responsible for completing the necessary documents during work (such as the game design document); 3. Programmer, responsible for developing the game using the chosen software (BlockStudio).

In the first session students were exposed to the main elements of a game, they worked on the curricular contents for which they would be responsible (i.e., that they would have to integrate into their games) and played educational video games previously developed by the researchers using BlockStudio. The second session was devoted to learning to use the software for digital creation, with exercises and video tutorials. In the third session students finished the exercises of the previous sessions and planned on paper the games that they would like to create. In the fourth session participants implemented their ideas in a digital format.

A fifth session was scheduled for students to have time to finish the games, test them and make corrections if necessary but, due to concurrent compulsory school activities, such was not possible, which was then reflected in the completion status of the projects.

Participant observation, inquiry, and document analysis were used as data collection techniques. The research instruments consisted of: 1. field diary, 2. knowledge tests, 3. motivation scale, 4. artefacts created, 5. survey with students, and 6. individual interview with teachers. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis.

The results show that, even with unexpected time constraints, most groups were able to design video games that represented their understanding of curriculum contents. In general, the creation of educational video games has led to an increase in motivation for learning and building of knowledge, interaction and collaboration, with positive results in four important categories of learning: curricular contents, game design, technological skills, and soft skills.

Despite the barriers to its implementation, and the limitations and constraints inherent to this study, we consider that the creation of educational video games is a feasible and relevant pedagogical strategy, and that it constitutes a relevant approach in contexts where the risk of school failure is high.

This presentation discusses the different outcomes of using educational video game design by students as a pedagogical strategy, the main issues to consider when using it, and possible failure points and solutions.


Educational video games; student authorship; Constructionism; learning; motivation.


  • Connolly, T. M., Boyle, E. A., MacArthur, E., Hainey, T., & Boyle, J. M. (2012). A systematic literature review of empirical evidence on computer games and serious games. Computers & Education, 59(2), pp. 661-686.
  • Earp, J. (2015). Game making for learning: A systematic review of the research literature. In Proceedings of 8th international conference of education, research and innovation (ICERI2015), pp. 6426-6435.
  • Hava, K., & Cakir, H. (2017). A systematic review of literature on students as educational computer game designers. In EdMedia: World Conference on Educational Media and Technology. Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), pp. 407-419.
  • Kafai, Y. B., & Burke, Q. (2015). Constructionist gaming: Understanding the benefits of making games for learning. Educational psychologist, 50(4), pp. 313-334.
  • Lopes, N., & Oliveira, I. (2013). Videojogos, Serious Games e Simuladores na Educacao: usar, criar e modificar. Educacao, Formacao & Tecnologias-ISSN 1646-933X, 6(1), pp. 4-20.
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Why Won't They Jam? The Reasons For General Upper Secondary School Students For Not Attending A Game Jam.

Main issue or problem addressed

Game jams are accelerated game creation events where a game is created in a limited time frame, usually working in groups, and the results are shared. Game jam events, which were first used in game development education and game industry, have become a rising trend in the past few years, and they are attracting more attention from researchers as well. Existing research shows that game jamming has several beneficial effects that are relevant in learning and education (e.g. Meriläinen et al 2019), but despite of that, game jams have not been widely used in general formal education. Furthermore, adolescent game jammers have not been in the focus of game jam research.
This article is part of a larger research initiative conducting whether game jamming could be introduced in formal education as a new method for learning. We are focusing on the general upper secondary school students, who in Finland are mostly between 16 and 19 years old. In this article, we specifically aim at identifying the possible reasons why a student in general upper secondary education would not attend a game jam event, and discussing what could be done in order to lower their barriers to entry.

Key research questions

  1. What are the reasons (of general upper secondary school students) for not attending a game jam?
  2. Are there different groups of students, with different reasons for not attending a game jam?
  3. Do adolescents have different reasons for not attending than adults?
  4. Do formal education and school system have specific characteristics that might make it more difficult to adopt game jamming as a method of learning?

Objectives of the study

Our goal in this study is twofold: firstly, we want to see if adolescents and adults have similar reasons for not attending a game jam, and second, we hope to recognise things in the school system that might pose difficulties when introducing a new method for learning.
Both objectives connect to our research projects main focus: game jamming in formal education. We aim to discern whether game jamming could be used as a method of learning and teaching in schools, and if its beneficial learning outcomes, especially in the so called 21st century skills (e.g. collaboration and communication) would be transferable to formal education.

Approach envisaged to answer these questions

In November 2018, we arranged an experimental game jam event for Finnish general upper secondary school students. Despite marketing the jam event for 800+ students in three different schools, we only got eight participants. The students got one study credit from attending the jam; the requirement for finishing the school is 75 credits. After the jam event, we sent a survey to the students that could have participated but did not, trying to decipher the reasons why the jam event was not more popular.
We have survey results from 218 students who did not attend the jam event. By analyzing their answers, we are going to discern different groups of people who might have different reasons for not attending a game jam. We are going to compare the results with former research (e.g. Meriläinen 2018) on adult first-time game jam attendees and their barriers to entry.
The preliminary results from the survey show that the main reason for not attending is the lack of information: 46.33% of the students reported they did not even remember receiving the invitation to the game jam event. We still need to interview the principals of the attending schools in order to shed more light on the process of inviting students, as the invitations were sent from the researchers to the principals who then forwarded them to teachers and students of their perspective schools. It is clear, however, that the marketing issue needs to be addressed if the game jams should be further used in education.
Second main reason for not attending a game jam is the lack of interest in games in general (36.2%) and in game making (39.4%). This aspect is strongly gendered, with girls reporting less interest in games and game making than boys. As the skills game jams further the most are more general and not specific to game making culture or game industry, we propose even the students not interested in games in general could benefit from attending game jams.
Third main reason (27%) for not attending a game jam seems to relate to scheduling of the jam event and the time restrictions; the students of general upper secondary schools just do not have extra time on their hands. To spend a whole weekend intensively working to design and create a game is a big sacrifice in the busy life of a student. The school system at the moment has very strict time limitations. The school year in a general upper secondary school in Finland is divided into five periods, each lasting approximately from six to seven weeks. A student usually studies from five to eight different subjects in each period, and normally has from four to six 60-75 minutes long lessons during a school day. The system does not offer time to concentrate on any given subject for a whole day, let alone 24 or 48 hours as is usual in a game jam event.
We still need to look at the survey results more thoroughly to find other significant data. In addition to that, we need to compare these results against the research that focuses on adult game jammers. Our preliminary hypothesis is that the practical reasons for not attending a game jam event (lack of information and time) are more dominant amongst the adolescents than adults.
The article also discusses if and how we should take into consideration various groups of students that can be discerned from the survey: students who are not at all interested in games (36.2%) or game making (39.4%); students who claimed to be interested in game jamming but still did not attend (7.34% of students); and gendered focus groups. There is still work to be done studying the survey results concerning these groups.
In addition to the survey that was sent to the non-attendees, we have a smaller sample of the students who did attend the game jam. They answered two surveys: one before the jam and one after the jam. Especially in the first survey some of the jam participants expressed anxiety about their own skills. All jam participants were interested in games and identified as gamers. We are still discussing amongst ourselves if we should interview the game jam attendees to find out more about the possible reasons for not attending a game jam, both internal reasons and practical reasons, e.g. the limitations of the day to day practices of the school system. If this abstract should get approved, we would be most grateful for comments on this.


  • Fowler, A., Pirker, J., Pollock, I., Paula, B. C., Echeveste, M. E. & Gómez, M. J. (2016). Understanding the benefits of game jams. Exploring the potential for engaging young learners in STEM. In Proceedings of the 2016 ITiCSE Working Group Reports, 119-135.
  • Kafai, Y. B. & Burke, Q. (2015). Constructionist Gaming: Understanding the Benefits of Making Games for Learning. Educational Psychologist, 50(4), 313-334.
  • Meriläinen, M. & Aurava, R. (2018). Internal Barriers to Entry for First-Time Participants in the Global Game Jam. In Proceedings of the 12th European Conference on Games Based Learning, 414-421.
  • Meriläinen, M., Aurava, R., Kultima, A. & Stenros, J. (2019). Game Jams for Learning and Teaching. A Review. In review.
  • Preston, J. A., Chastine, J., O'Donnell, C., Tseng, T. & MacIntyre, B. (2012). Game Jams: Community, Motivations, and Learning among Jammers. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 2(3), 51-70.

Towards The Gamification Of Software Engineering

Our goal is to introduce gamification to real world software engineering practice so as to enhance the performance of the software engineer in the team setting. A key challenge in the introduction of gamification to the professional engineering setting is that it is generally not feasible to introduce explicit gamification strategies that overlay day-to-day processes. As a consequence, strategies must be built over such data as is already collectable from the context, and must provide behavior cues to the software engineer that map to established individual and team oriented engineering goals. In some sense, the game already exists, and the role of the gamification researchers must be to elucidate the engineering process, simplifying its presentation to make it tractable to all stakeholders, in order to focus the engineer on how individual action impacts the common good. By careful use of gamification techniques in this presentation, we may hope to influence behavior positively. The challenge then is to model the complexity of the modern engineering process, monitor it in real time and present individual and team impact in ways that reflect a causal relationship to meaningful performance goals. In this paper we set out our methodology for addressing this question, report on our progress to date and outline our future work.

A Platform Approach to SE Process Monitoring

How then does one approach the gamification of the software engineering process in practice? We base our approach on the software engineering intelligence field, which seeks to measure the performance of software engineering teams in the delivery of the software codebase. As software teams work, they collaborate using a range of engineering tools, both technical and social, that provide detailed and valuable data regarding the process of software construction as it happens. Such measures range from metrics that capture code quality on a commit by commit basis, to measures that record the pace individual and team work, collaboration in problem solving and many other aspects of the complex engineering process. By combining this data with longitudinal measures of changing software codebase quality, we thereby seek to explain and link engineering practice to outcomes in terms of individual and team performance. However, the volume of data to be considered is extensive, and the computational analysis required is resource intensive. A key challenge in delivering this approach therefore, is to deliver an efficient processing of these data sets, so as to achieve the near real-time response required to keep up with engineering teams, as they perform their daily work. Otherwise gamification is all but impossible. We have over the past few years, developed a highly scalable methodology and working platform for the gathering and processing of these data sets. Our systems can presently process and profile tens of thousands of software repositories and their developer teams, yielding fine-grained quantitative and social network data regarding all aspects of the software engineering process. This is important because in practice, most software engineering code metrics have limited value unless considered comparatively against statistically significant numbers of other software engineering team efforts. A further practical challenge to the use of software process monitoring technology has been concerns regarding the unauthorized use and misuse of fine-grained measurements. As monitoring proceeds from coarse-grained data, such as task completion, to fine-grained data, such as keystrokes, concerns regarding data sovereignty and usage quickly arise for software developers. As Phillip Johnson [1] puts it, 'fine-grained data that provides the most compelling analytics about development is also the largest obstacle to industrial adoption. 'Our work with engineering teams and students suggest to us that an equally important concern in practice is the accuracy of analysis performed using such data sets. How then do we persuade engineers to share their data? We believe that gamification offers a possible practical model by which data use and sovereignty concerns can be solved, whilst meaningful assessment data is shared amongst stakeholders. A little considered but nonetheless potentially important benefit of the application of gamification strategy to process monitoring is the fuzzification [2] of the underlying behavioral data sets on which reward models are based. By reducing complex data to that required to support (and only support) a simplified gamification model of the underlying process, the privacy of input data can be conserved. Our work to date with software engineering teams suggest that the processing of fine-grained data sets in this way can be acceptable to engineers in practice, making available crucial data sets that would otherwise remain unacceptable to the majority of working engineers.

Automating SE Appraisal

The key next step in our research agenda is to develop efficient methods for the real-time social analysis and gamification of these data sets in order to deliver actionable insights. We take the mentor relationship between engineer and line manager as the model by which a gamification strategy based on performance appraisal can be built. The game dynamic is to demonstrate how engineer actions contribute to the team performance, seeking to inculcate a matching conceptual model of this relationship in the mind of the supervised. In practice this amounts to the development of an expert system capable of software engineering performance appraisal. Our approach to this is to consider software engineering as a social network process that generates code as the primary artifact. This makes it possible to apply a variety of behavioral and social analysis frameworks such as Pentland's social physics model of influence, social learning, and peer pressure between individuals to understand the development process [3]. Moreover, it allows for the development of an expert systems view of software engineering practice, encoded as evidence based argumentation schemes, that can be used to differentiate the observed behavior of development teams, and thereby trace and attribute the behavioral impact on process efficiency and output quality. By combining an analysis of group dynamics with a fine-grained, code-centric analysis of the individual's behavior and performance, qualitative questions regarding software engineering practice can be addressed in an automated way, grounded in empirical data. Our methodology is broadly inferential, leading to the development of knowledge representations that are executable over the digital footprint of software engineering activity. We begin by systematically and comprehensively gathering all relevant field data regarding the social engineering processes under study, and then analyses the patterns within these data in ex post facto studies. Relevant data sets include: longitudinal measurement of source code change and quality; repository metadata from toolsets such as git and subversion; measures of social network activity within development ecosystem toolsets such as bug tracking systems, chatrooms, private messaging in tools such as "slack", email and so forth; data derived from the instrumentation of software development toolsets [4]; and sociometric data that records the environmental and social context. Informed both by these data sets and by a knowledge representation of software engineering process management, social computing and gamification, we seek to construct a set of models and frameworks that capture the range of relevant and plausible human judgement and reasoning regarding observable software engineering processes and enhance efficiency and performance of software engineering. Broadly, the goal is to capture the reasoning that a skilled software development manager might present, if he or she were in a position to consider the totality of performance evidence. These models are abstract and necessarily non-monotonic [5] in that they capture a network of interacting facts and arguments structured as conditional statements in predicate logic regarding qualitative concepts in the software engineering domain, abstracted from any particular engineering scenario or evidence set. These abstract models are then developed further to instrument them, by a process of context specific argument selection, elaboration and probabilistic grounding in measurable data sets derived from specific engineering scenarios. This work is necessarily situated, and to this end we are engaged in a collaborative research strategy with real-world software engineering teams. In working with such teams we have found strong and encouraging interest in the insights the approach can yield. With an encoding of human judgment built, the resulting instrumented models can then be executed over data gathered, delivering a computational framework for comparative qualitative analysis over quantitative data. We believe that there are universal aspects to software engineering practice that can be better understood by consideration of their application and impact in the large, across a wide set of contexts. To this end, our goal is the incorporate particular insights developed in specific real world contexts into our platform so as to deliver a comparative analytics capability.

Gamification of Performance

With a capacity to perform detailed appraisal of the performance of the software engineer in the context of team development, and based on real-world data that matches behavioral inputs to performance outcomes, we next seek to demonstrate to the engineer how specific action leads to specific impacts. This capacity to relate cause to effect provides us with the basis for gamification of those aspects of the engineering process that are vital to performance enhancement. We do not believe there is one single appropriate strategy for the gamification of software engineering, but we do believe, drawing from the theory and practice of software engineering, that there are collections of behaviors and practices that are more or less appropriate in any particular engineering context. We thus envision a configurable method, by which particular behavior sets can be selected for, with appropriate reward. Such a method will allow for behavior sets which include behaviors that are possibly conflicting, such as the goals of code factoring and while performing functionality additions for example. Conflicts in engineering practice occur when goal sets come up against resource constraints, and the goal of any gamification of software engineering can thus be seen as the selection of optimal behaviors that maximize adherence to goal priorities under resource constraint. This is the subject of our ongoing research.

Related Work

Gamification has been used in different areas such as education, online social community and business. Many researchers try to find a way to increase the efficiency and gamification maybe a good choice as it has positive effect in psychological and behavioral aspects. There are 10 gamification features[6] and researchers always use rewards feature to stimulate users motivation[7]. Also, in business area researchers adapt different gamification frameworks as 6D frameworks, MDA frameworks, octalysis gamification frameworks and frameworks based on user-center design(UCD) and model-driven architecture(MDA) approach[8]. Software engineering one of main task is to enhance software efficiency[8]. Based on previous researches, we wish to increase motivation of developers thus we wish to use gamification in software engineering area. However, researches doomed to failure due to poor understanding of gamification design processing[9] and there is no clear gamification framework for software engineering. The current gamification methods of software engineering based on cognitive principles such as self-determination theory(SDT)[10], flow theory and group flow theory[11]. However, these methods are not detailed and do not have relation between gamification features and gamification frameworks. Therefore, we can synthesize the current gamification design methods of software engineering and detailed method for engineering of gamified and introduce new methods and models to our topic.


  • [1] Philip M. Johnson, "Searching under the Streetlight for Useful Software Analytics", IEEE Software, vol.30, no. 4, pp. 57-63, July-Aug. 2013.
  • [2] Sinha, D. and Edward R. D. Fuzzification of set inclusion: Theory and applications, Fuzzy Sets and Systems, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp. 15-42, 1993.
  • [3] W. Pan, W. Dong, M. Cebrian, T. Kim, J. H. Fowler and A. S. Pentland, (2012) "Modelling Dynamical Influence in Human Interaction: Using data to make better inferences about influence within social systems," in IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 77-86, March 2012.
  • [4] P.M. Johnson, H. Kou, J. Agustin, C. Chan, C. Moore, J. Miglani, S. Zhen and W.E. Doane, (2003) "Beyond the Personal Software Process: Metrics Collection and Analysis for the Differently Disciplined," Proc. 25th Int'l Conf. Software Eng. (ICSE 03), IEEE CS, 2003, pp. 641-646.
  • [5] Li H., Oren N., Norman T.J. (2012) Probabilistic Argumentation Frameworks. In: Modgil S., Oren N., Toni F. (eds) Theorie and Applications of Formal Argumentation. TAFA 2011. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 7132. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
  • [6] Hamari, J., Koivisto, J., & Sarsa, H. (2014). Does Gamification Work? - A Literature Review of Empirical Studies on Gamification. In proceedings of the 47th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Hawaii, USA, January 6-9, 2014.
  • [7] Majuri, J., Koivisto, J. And Hamari, J. (2018). Gamification of education and learning: A review of empirical literature, in Proceedings of the 2nd International GamiFIN Conference (GamiFIN 2018), pp. 11-19.
  • [8] Mora, A., Riera, D., González, C. et al. Gamification: A systematic review of design framework, Journal of Computing High Education (2017) 29: 516.
  • [9] Morschheuser, B., Hassan, L., Werder, K., Hamari,J. How to design gamification? A method for engineering gamified software, Information and Software Technology, Volume 95, 2018, Pages 219-237.
  • [10] Deterding, S. (2011). Situated motivational affordances of game elements: A conceptual model, in Proceedings of the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Vancouver, BC, Canada, May 7-12, 2011.
  • [11] Unkelos-Shpigel, N. And Hadar, I. (2015) Gamifying software Development Environments Using Cognitive Principles, in Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Advanced Information Systems Engineering, Stockholm, Sweden, June 8-12, 2015.

Game-based Learning: A Long History

Several studies on Game-based learning (GBL) start out in the era of Tetris and PacMan and are limited to digital learning games. However, the GBL concept has a long pre-history with board games like Kalaha, Xiangxi, Chess and other forms of game having been used for thousands of years in educational contexts, training strategic and tactical thinking, as well as language skills, mathematics and other subjects. Games and play-based learning were well-known didactic ideas in ancient Greece and during the Roman Empire. The oldest African board games were built more than 5000 years ago. The aim of this study is to analyse and discuss ideas on the role of games in education from a historical perspective. We will survey the literature on the intellectual history of educational theory and focus on discussions of a number of key texts. We have analysed the changing conceptions of 'play' and 'games' in the context of the philosophy of education. Our main research questions are:
  1. How were games understood to contribute to learning in the ancient world, the Renaissance, and in the modern period?
  2. What role did games play in the educational ideas of the thinkers in question?
  3. Did they consider games/play to have a complementary function to learning or did they wish games to be an integral part of the educational process?
  4. What factors prevented the widespread acceptance of games in learning before the modern period?
  5. How did the concept of game/play (ludus, paidiá) in educational contexts develop over time?
The study was carried out as a central and comparative literature study. Central in the aspect of reviewing a body of literature central to the chosen topic, and comparative in the aspect that texts describing GBL concepts from ancient eras have been compared to contemporary ideas. Historical texts were studied using a contextual method, viewing the older works as moves in an argument. Attention was also paid to historical shifts in the meaning of concepts (using methods of Begriffsgeschichte or the 'History of Concepts'). The comparison revealed interesting patterns, themes and similarities, but also important differences and long-term changes. GBL is older than the use of dice in games, and while hazard games and gambling often have been condemned and moralised upon, GBL concepts have had a high status throughout history. There are several examples of how games have been used to educate princes, military officers and politicians. Furthermore, the ancient peripatetic idea of playing in outdoor environments seems to be experiencing a renaissance today, with the popularity of location-based games. Aristotle's Politics (1337b-1338a) presents play (paidiá) as a form of relaxation or rest from more serious study or work. As such, Aristotle considered its value to be instrumental at best. Plato's Laws (643B-C) proposes a more constructive role for play in education. Plato viewed the linguistically related concepts of paidiá and paideía (education, Bildung) as fundamentally distinct, and his view resembles Aristotle's in this respect. However, Plato still considered play to be necessary for education, as he saw it as a first step on a ladder towards true knowledge. In the Renaissance, educators such as Vittorino da Feltre re-introduced the idea that games/play could have a role in education. Vittorino was consciously following Plato, referencing the latter's discussion in the Laws. However, he also specifically attributed the idea of using games in the teaching of mathematics to the ancient Egyptians (Goeing, 2014), probably a reference to a Mancala game. In the 17th century, John Amos Comenius presented a systematic theory of education, in which he viewed the game (ludus) to be the ideal form of learning. He presents his comprehensive theory of ludus in Schola Ludus (Comenius, 1654). This work is a preface to a work on language education through dramatization, but the theory is not specific to that form, but a universal ludology. It was revolutionary in the way it proposed games/play to be fully integrated with the learning process: the "fun and the serious" should go hand in hand. A testament to the Renaissance idea of the dignity and liberty of man, Comenius's work is full of optimism and foreshadows many modern contributions in discussing the relationships between spontaneity and rules, cooperation and competition, and many other issues (Hellerstedt & Mozelius, 2018). In sum: although Aristotle's concept of autotelism seems to anticipate modern ideas of intrinsic motivation, it was Plato who first truly gave games and play a place in education. Aristotle and many other early educators tended to view games and study as opposites. Despite this, Plato explicitly recommended games/play as a teaching tool, and his ideas were taken up by Vittorino da Feltre in the Renaissance. From that foundation they were developed and systematized in the 17th century by Comenius, who in turn inspired Jean Piaget (Piaget, 1968) and many other modern philosophers of education. The idea of intrinsic motivation has later been conceptualised in the well-known taxonomy constructed by Thomas Malone and Frank Lepper (Malone & Lepper, 1987), with the view of games as an important part of the educational process. Keywords: Game-based learning, GBL, Play-based learning, The history of GBL, Location-based games  


  • Goeing, A. S. 2014. Summus Mathematicus et Omnis Humanitatis Pater: The Vitae of Vittorino da Feltre and the Spirit of Humanism. Dordrecht: Springer.
  • Hellerstedt, A. & Mozelius, P. 2018. From Comenius to Counter-Strike: 400 years of Game-based Learning as a didactic Foundation, Proceedings of the 12th European Conference on Game Based Learning. Sophia Antipolis: Academic Conferences and Publishing International.
  • Malone, T. W., & Lepper, M. R. 1987. Making learning fun: A taxonomy of intrinsic motivations for learning, in Aptitude, learning and Instruction III: Cognitive and affective process analysis. Ed. Snow, R. E. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.
  • Piaget, J. 1968. The Significance of John Amos Comenius at the Present Time, in John Amos Comenius on Education, Classics in Education 33. New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Plass, P. 1967. 'Play' and Philosophic Detachment in Plato, Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, vol. 96.

Designing And Using Digital Games As Historical Learning Contexts

Traditionally, history has been conceptualised as the most plausible account of the past that is possible to construct from the pieces of evidence found in the present. The work of the historian, therefore, has been regarded as basically uncovering what essentially happened and presenting the meanings of the past in the form of linear narratives. This notion of history, however, has been challenged in the last decades by new ideas introduced into the discipline and the recognition of the multiple and dissimilar means by which people connect with the past. For most people, "[t]he past is not only present", as Rosenzweig and Thelen (1999) noted, "it is part of the present" (p. 178). History does not just exist in historiographies, but plays an important part in people's lives through books of historical fiction, films, video games, and in the re-enactment of past battles and ways of living. History, thus, encompasses a myriad of dissimilar activities and cultural engagements with a far larger scope and complexity than what has traditionally been believed. In this cultural context, undoubtedly digital games have become one of the most important forms of historical encounters, specially for the new generations of digital natives. Through the agency of their game controller or mouse and keyboard, players can decide to play a decisive role in a historical battle, control an entire civilisation, or simply walk through an ancient city reconstructed with an impressive level of detail. These forms of engagements, as several scholars noted, extend beyond pure entertainment. With their ever-growing ability to immerse players in highly realistic environments, the representational, procedural, and motivational powers of the new medium can be productively used in the heritage and educational sectors. To be used effectively, however, its defining properties and affordances require to be fully understood. Through analysing commercial game titles as forms of historical representation, scholars have criticised the medium for being inherently unhistorical (Ferguson, 2006; Galloway, 2006), or for depicting too narrowly defined and biased versions of past (Fogu, 2009; Schut, 2007). Moreover, despite the evidence-based research showing the educational potential of educational games (Gee, 2004; Squire & Barab, 2004; Ritterfield & Weber, 2006), several scholars have expressed their concerns on bringing these technologies to formal and informal educational settings without a clear understanding of their effects and methods of implementation (Champion, 2006; Van Eck, 2006). Deriving from the aforementioned problems, the research was set to answer three main questions:
  1. Can digital games be considered a suitable medium for historical representation?
  2. Which defining characteristics of digital games are relevant and advantageous for producing a historical representation?
  3. How can historical digital games be designed to foster the meaningful understanding of history in formal educational settings?
Succinctly, this research project was designed to explore, reflect and evaluate, through the establishment of an ongoing dialogue between practice and theory, the effectiveness of video games as educational instruments for learning and teaching history. In a first phase, the research followed a practice-based methodology, relying on the iterative development and critical analysis of a series of game prototypes designed to explore everyday life in early Anglo-Saxon Britain. In a second phase, the project moved to the real context of a primary school classroom (Key stage 2), where the game prototype was implemented as part of the school's history curriculum. In this phase, qualitative and quantitative data was collected following a pre-post test methodology. In the first session, children were asked to communicate their previous ideas about the studied historical period through drawings, and, while they were drawing, semi-structured interviews were conducted with them. In the sessions that followed, the historical game prototype was played by children in a free-form play- testing fashion (Eladhari & Ollila, 2012), and their performance was recorded through the game's inbuilt tracking systems. Finally, the activities and data collection methods used during the pre-playtest session were repeated in a final session, with the aim of analysing the effect of the game in children's historical understanding. The qualitative and quantitative analysis of the obtained data revealed that the majority of the children set into march similar processes of personal identification while drawing an imaginary Anglo-Saxon world and when interacting with the game. In both instances, children did not just create or interact with representations of the past as external observers, but situated themselves as active agents within their imagined worlds. In both forms of narrative engagements, their spontaneous exercises of re-enactment revealed as much about their personal identities, lives and world views in the present as about their conceptions about the past. By inhabiting a historical game-world and experiencing the world through the eyes of an historical avatar, the game became a powerful way to explore the deepest levels of meaning at play when children imagine the past. Through their drawings and comments, children gave evidence of assumptions about the hardships of everyday life ("life was very hard"), violence ("they used to fight a lot and people got hurt a lot") and social life ("sometimes they met on campfires to sing songs and tell stories") in Anglo-Saxon time. This study demonstrated that digital games can be a valid, and in some respect advantageous form of historical engagement, with specific affordances not available by other media. This conclusion stems from a conceptualisation of historical understanding not solely as the mere recalling of factual information about the past, but on the capacity of thinking historically, understanding the components, relationships, and underlying operations that characterise historical processes. Under these terms, this research demonstrated the capacity of the medium to generate meaningful historical experiences, challenging historical preconceptions and driving players to understand key albeit subtle aspects of living in the past,


  • Champion, E. (2006). Playing with a Career in Ruins: game design and virtual heritage. In P. Gonzáles & L. Puhoj (Eds.), Learning in Cyberspace: new media for Heritage didactics and interpretation (pp. 45-61). Barcelona: Centre d'Estudis del Patrimoni Arquelogic de la Prehistoria, and the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona.
  • Eladhari, M. P. & Ollila, E. M. I. (2012). Design for Research Results: Experimental Prototyping and Play Testing. Simulation and Gaming, 43(3), 391-412. doi: 10.1177/1046878111434255.
  • Ferguson, N. (2006). How to Win a War. New York Magazine. Retrieved from http:// nymag.com/news/features/22787/#.
  • Fogu, C. (2009). Digitalizing Historical Consciousness. History and Theory, 47(47), 103-121.
  • Galloway, A.R. (2006). Gaming: Essays on algorithmic culture, Minneapolis, United States: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Gee, J.P. (2004). What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Ritterfeld, U. & Weber, R. (2006). Video Games for Entertainment and Education. In P. Vorderer & J. Bryant (Eds.), Playing Video Games-Motives, Responses, and Consequences (pp. 399-413). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, Inc.
  • Rosenzweig, R. & Thelen, D. (1999). The Presence of the Past: Popular Uses of History in American Life. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Schut, K. (2007). Strategic Simulations and Our Past: The Bias of Computer Games in the Presentation of History. Games and Culture, 2(3), 213-235.
  • Schön, D.A. (1985). The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action. Bury, England: Arena.
  • Squire, K. and Barab, S. (2004) Replaying history: learning world history through playing Civilization III. Indiana University. Available at: http:// website.education.wisc.edu/kdsquire/REPLAYING HISTORY.doc (Accessed: 7 March 2013).
  • Van Eck, R. (2006). Digital Game Based Learning: It's not just the Digital Natives Who are Restless. EDUCAUSE review, 41(2), p.16-30.

A Review Of The Impact Of Auditory Content On Reward Systems In Game-Based Learning

This research reviews how achievement-related auditory-visuo interactions might be used as a robust reward system in games that depend on the player achieving certain learning goals. The significant expansion of the game industry in recent years has allowed for more specialist roles within games development companies. The design, mixing and application of sound is now often covered by a team of sound specialists, affording each individual sound designer more time and resources to focus on detailing auditory interactions within games. The effectiveness of even simple Foley or sound effects in games are in part due to a person's instinctive ability to connect visual and auditory stimuli [1,2]. The degree of satisfaction that occurs as a result of this multisensory interaction is dependent on how well they fit together [3, 4]. This is something sound designers are well aware of as they spend time using their own perceptual intuition to fuse auditory events with visual objects. While such sound design is not limited to games development (these roles have long-existed in the film industry), the dynamic human-interaction element of such applications makes the audio-visual interactions more engaging [5], and more importantly, more satisfying. Emphasising satisfaction as a reward system based on these interactions can lead to addictive behaviour [6], and is a small part of why unlocking 'loot boxes' in mainstream games includes such interactions [7]. The effectiveness of these interactions as such suggests that they can also be used in reward-based learning systems and is the core focus of this research.  
  • [1] Shams, L., Kamitani, Y. and Shimojo, S., (2004). Modulations of Visual Perception by Sound. In The Handbook of Multisensory Processes, Ch.2. MIT press.
  • [2] Wada, Y., Kitagawa, N. and Noguchi, K., (2003). Audio-visual integration in temporal perception. In International journal of psychophysiology, 50(1-2), pp.117-124.
  • [3] Spence, C., (2011). Sound Design: using brain science to enhance auditory & multisensory product & brand development. In Audio Branding Academy Yearbook 2010/2011 (pp. 33-51). Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG.
  • [4] Nesbitt, K.V. and Hoskens, I., (2008). Multi-sensory game interface improves player satisfaction but not performance. In Proceedings of the ninth conference on Australasian user interface-Volume 76 (pp. 13-18). Australian Computer Society, Inc.
  • [5] Hunt, A., Hermann, T. and Pauletto, S., (2004) Interacting with sonification systems: closing the loop. In Proceedings. Eighth International Conference on Information Visualisation, 2004. IV 2004. (pp. 879-884). IEEE.
  • [6] Harrigan, K.A., Collins, K., Dixon, M.J. and Fugelsang, J., (2010), May. Addictive gameplay: what casual game designers can learn from slot machine research. In Proceedings of the international academic conference on the future of game design and technology (pp. 127-133). ACM.
  • [7] Drummond, A. and Sauer, J.D., (2018). Video game loot boxes are psychologically akin to gambling. Nature Human Behaviour, 2(8), p.530.

Factors Affecting Tertiary Students' Attitudes Towards Learning And Playing Digital Games With Educational Features.

Despite the trend and popularity of game-based learning (GBL), still very little is known about higher education (HE) students' motivational and attitudinal potential of using digital games in academic setting. Thus, the purpose of this study was to verify existing attitudes of higher education previous and current students towards GBL, and experimentally test what would be an efficient strategy to fit tertiary students' needs by exploring who and how can in fact benefit from the use of educational games. In order to understand these concepts better, the psychological strand of this research drew upon theories of social influence, persuasion, and motivational and orientational potential of using GBL with adult students by looking at previous research in this area and adding conflicting literature regarding perceived source characteristics, metacognition and self-validation in persuasion. In this study, 112 HE students' responses were analysed using Revised two-factor Study Process Questionnaire: R-SPQ-2F, New Computer Game Attitude Scale - NCGAS and an adapted experiment based on a procedure by Clark et al., (2011, 2013). The results of this study indicated that participants' attitudes towards GBL were positive, moreover, there may be a tendency within tertiary students using GBL to have more positive attitudes towards educational games at a particular period of time during their course, and also social influence of either an experienced tutor or a peer learner can have a varied effect on attitudes towards using educational games with peers being perceived as more efficacious regarding promoting and utilising GBL than expert tutors.


Game-based learning, educational games, tertiary students, motivation, peer learning, attitudes, perceptions of source efficacy and persuasion.


Over the last few decades, major advances in technology have occurred, and computer games in particular gained a global audience. Digital culture and the Internet have had a significant impact on communication and the way people interact with the world and each other. Technological breakthroughs and interactive social web-based tools facilitating collaboration have brought new challenges to the field of formal education. Educationalists are trying to utilize the potential of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and enhance their practice, as well as learners' experience, by addressing knowledge society's needs. Innovation and digital educational strategy create new opportunities for integrating learning games into curriculum of formal education. Interestingly, recent research findings in education highlighted specific issues related to motivational and attitudinal differences between adult learners and children - the main target audience of developers and teachers interested in GBL.

Related Work

Some researchers exploring tertiary students' attitudes towards games with educational features have been skeptical of some of the claims regarding over-optimistic aspects of digital games as "a panacea for education's ills", and acknowledged that games can be utilized as learning tools, however cannot replace teachers or traditional learning methods, and that not every student can find them attractive or beneficial (Gee, 2009; Whitton, 2007, 2010). In the context of game-based learning, Whitton (2007), carried out a study exploring whether digital games can be useful learning tools and whether tertiary students find them motivating. Whitton's (2007) study showed that tertiary students, despite not feeling motivated to play educational games, were interested in GBL as long as they perceived such learning method as the most efficient studying tool. Also, it is important to add that despite the prevalence of approaches towards studying and game-based learning (GBL), still very little is known about higher education (HE) students' motivational and attitudinal potential of using digital games in academic setting.   Thus, the goal of this study was to verify existing attitudes of higher education previous and current students towards GBL, and experimentally test what would be an efficient strategy to fit tertiary students' needs by exploring who and how can in fact benefit from the use of educational games. In order to understand these concepts better, the psychological strand of this research drew upon theories of social influence, persuasion, and motivational and orientational potential of using GBL with adult students by looking at previous research in this area and adding conflicting literature regarding perceived source characteristics, metacognition and self-validation in persuasion. We also wanted to test whether attitudes towards using digital games with educational features can be influenced by an exposure to either an expert - tutor, or a peer - student/stereotypical gamer (Kowert et al., 2014). For the purpose of this study we aimed to directly explore tertiary students' issue-related opinions and experimentally test their attitudes towards using digital games in Higher Education, regardless of generational discourse (Wang et al., 2014). A strategy applied to test tertiary students' views on GBL and issue-related affairs was based on social psychology findings in the area of persuasion. Some of the theories and models that proved to be useful in the current research were: social influence, social comparison theory, expectancy-value, self-validation of cognitive responses, and Elaboration Likelihood Model, ELM, and its source characteristics (Clark and Wegener, 2013). Source characteristics investigated in the current study were related to perceived efficacy and credibility. The research was linked to a realistic scenario; therefore, an effect of the perceived similarity was emphasized to test whether there would be any differences between expert and peer sources and other factors such as message arguments, and influence these can yield on attitudes towards GBL. Source efficacy was employed as an additional characteristic. Prior research has shown that cognitive responses can influence attitudes and that all changes caused by that influence depend on the amount and direction of issue-related thoughts that individuals generate. These processes are related to metacognition which has more elaborative dimensions i.e. confidence in one own's thoughts which can also influence attitude change. Source efficacy received very little research attention, however, it was found to be effective in influencing message-related elaboration, when message arguments were moderate in terms of issue involvement or when message arguments tended to be in contrary to recipients' pre-message attitudes. Also, motivation and ability to process persuasive information was found highly relevant in the context of interaction with source characteristics in different ways depending on i.e. timing, when source information precedes or follows an interventional message. Furthermore, prior research found perceived similarity as an important factor that can shed light on specific characteristic related to message and source effectiveness. Perceived similarity can affect individuals' perception and make someone think that other people's experiences are similar to his or her own experiences, and these factors can be related to demographics, context etc. Interestingly, findings in previous research within the field of consumer psychology and advertising suggest that peers exposed to a low credibility sources such as peers, were prone to stronger persuasion, in other words, people presented more positive attitudes towards specific suggestions and communications of their peers. Thus, in the light of the current study, it was expected that low source credibility, a tertiary education student, will yield more persuasion on post-message attitudes towards GBL but only in the high efficacy source condition, and will also be perceived as more successful in strong message arguments condition.


Quantitative methodology was used in this study: 2 (source efficacy: low vs high) x 2 (argument quality: weak vs strong) x 2 (source credibility: low - peer vs high - expert) between-participants factorial design Analysis of Variance (three-way ANOVA). One hundred and twelve previous and current international tertiary education students participated in the current research, and all participants were either formerly or currently enrolled as "regular" or "part time" students on an eligible programme at an eligible Higher Education institution (above secondary school level). Two validated 5 and 4 point Likert type scales were employed to measure participants' baseline attitudes towards studying (a 20 item Revised two-factor Study Process Questionnaire: R-SPQ-2F) and using digital games (New Computer Game Attitude Scale - NCGAS - a 22-item instrument).


The main findings of the current study were twofold. First part of the current study explored participants' pre-existing attitudes towards game-based learning and traditional studying. Second part of the study explored whether the current study population will react to persuasive source characteristics, metacognition and self-validation, and whether in consequence of these interactions participants' attitudes will either increase or decrease. There were consistencies found in relation to previous research in persuasion. Moreover, as hypothesized, low source associated with a strong message condition was perceived as more efficacious.


The current and previous research has highlighted how important it is for the educational institutions, game industry and government to motivate peer learners, rather than experts and teachers, to actively engage in their education and potentially help co-design their positive learning experiences. Implications of this study can be used to help create better student engagement strategies and explore how tertiary students form attitudes and potential behavior in relation to GBL. Moreover, it can provide theoretical and practical implications for consumer and social psychologists, educationalists, student organisations, researchers, marketing specialists, issue advocates, policymakers, game and instructional designers and the game industry. It is important to understand tertiary students and design efficient GBL strategies to better fit their educational and motivational needs.


  • [1] Biggs, J. B., Kember, D., & Leung, D. (2001). The revised two-factor study process questionnaire: R-SPQ-2F. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 71(1), 133-149.
  • [2] Clark, J. K., & Wegener, D. T. (2013). Message position, information processing, and persuasion: The Discrepancy Motives Model. In P. Devine & A. Plant (Eds.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 47, pp. 189-232). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
  • [3] Clark, J. K., Evans, A. T., & Wegener, D. T. (2011). Perceptions of source efficacy and persuasion: Multiple mechanisms for source effects on attitudes. European Journal of Social Psychology, 41(5), 596-607.
  • [4] Clark, J. K., Wegener, D. T., Sawicki, V., Petty, R. E., & Briñol, P. (2013). Evaluating the message or the messenger? Implications for self-validation in persuasion. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39, 1571-1584.
  • [5] Gee, J. P. (2009). Deep learning properties of good digital games: How far can they go? In U. Ritterfeld, M. Cody, & P. Vorderer (Eds.) Serious games: Mechanisms and effects. (pp. 67-82). New York, NY: Routledge

A Framework For The Effective Design Of Auditory Notifications In Game-Based Learning Environments

Notifications have a ubiquitous presence within modern HCI environments. Users are frequently subjected to notifications across multiple-device platforms that employ the use of numerous modalities (visual, auditory, and tactile). Notifications can serve as an effective method for delivering contextually-important information, if implemented with consideration to the end-user present cognitive state and concurrent tasks (Garzonis et al., 2009). Within the context of game-based learning environments (GBLEs), notifications allow for the instantaneous delivery of information, such as letting players know of the availability of in-game team members or personal contacts, game-changing events; and information relevant to third-party applications. To this end, the authors question if auditory notifications within complex GBLEs are suitably designed and executed. Based on literature centred on perceptual interactions between sensory modalities, and given that GBLEs typically embrace multimodal conditions, the likelihood of negative consequences emanating from inappropriately-designed auditory notifications is plausible. Therefore, the authors propose a design framework that emphasises cross-modal interactions and interrelated cognitive processes during the presentation of auditory events. Before such a framework can be developed, the most fundamental question must first be answered - what constitutes an effective auditory notification? Notifications are designed to elicit user attention and to convey contextual information. Understanding the cognitive factors involved during the process of evoking a user's attention is central in the design of an auditory notification. These factors span several cognitive systems, such as working memory capacity; higher-level semantic processing; and user-expectations and pattern recognition as expressed by schema theory (Baddeley, 2015; Bey & McAdams, 2002). Recent research suggests that some notifications, designed to elicit a strong attentional response, have the potential to negatively disrupt a user's engagement with their primary activity or task (Kushlev et al., 2016). The chief side-effect of such notifications is the inhibition of information retention, which may subsequently lead to user-frustration attributable to the obstruction of their sense of 'flow' (Harmat et al., 2015). Therefore, in the context of pedagogy and GBLEs, consideration must be given to their design. While there may be a basis to simply exclude notifications from GBLEs to limit potential interruptions to a user's learning engagement, there are benefits to be inferred from their inclusion, both from a pedagogical and a user experience (UX) point-of-view. For example, auditory notifications can be of benefit when integrated with social interaction features during game-based activities, which enhances the learning experience of the end-user. Social interactions allow users to gain encouragement from peer communities, or help to stimulate healthy competition during tasks (Burguillo, 2010). Notifications offer a convenient mechanism to convey relevant information related to these social features. Arbitrarily-designed auditory notifications may unintentionally and excessively disrupt the end-user, which the authors wish to address through their proposed framework. To aid in the development of the framework the following research roadmap is proposed:
  • A meta-analysis of auditory perceptual research related to user-distraction.
  • Identification of commonly re-occurring disruptive auditory dimensions.
  • Grading the disruptive severity of identified auditory dimensions requires:
    • A series of user-studies evaluating disruptive severity of dimensions in isolation during serial recall based tasks (pitch, harmonicity, inharmonicity, reverberation etc.).
    • A series of user-studies evaluating the disruptive severity of complex sound objects consisting of multiple varying auditory dimensions.
  • Extrapolation of relevant auditory notification design guidelines from the results of conducted research.
  • The evaluation the effectiveness of auditory notifications designed following proposed guidelines within a GBLE based user-study, pertaining to the delivery of relevant information whilst avoiding excessive distraction.


  • Baddeley, A. D. (2015). "Working Memory" in A. Baddeley, Michael W. Eysenck & Mickael C. Anderson (Eds.), Memory, Ch. 3, pp. 67-98.
  • Bey, C. and McAdams, S. (2002). "Schema-Based Processing in Auditory Scene Analysis." in Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, Vol. 64(5). pp. 844-854.
  • Burguillo, J.C., 2010. Using game theory and competition-based learning to stimulate student motivation and performance. Computers & Education, 55(2), pp.566-575.
  • Garzonis, S., Jones, S., Jay, T. and O'Neill, E., 2009, April. Auditory icon and earcon mobile service notifications: intuitiveness, learnability, memorability and preference. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems pp. 1513-1522.
  • Harmat, L., de Manzano, Ö., Theorell, T., Högman, L., Fischer, H. and Ullén, F., 2015. Physiological correlates of the flow experience during computer game playing. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 97(1), pp.1-7.
  • Kushlev, K., Proulx, J. and Dunn, E.W., 2016, May. Silence your phones: Smartphone notifications increase inattention and hyperactivity symptoms. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems pp. 1011-1020.

Leveraging The Gap: Using SDT-Driven Gamified System To Guide The Journey Of The Postgraduate Research Students

Self-Determination Theory (SDT) seeks to highlight how, why, and in what contexts an individual's behaviour is self-motivated (Deci and Ryan, 2002). SDT hypothesizes that there are three basic psychological needs: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Though SDT was proposed in 1985 (Deci and Ryan, 1985a; Deci and Ryan, 1985b), there is now a wide range of research into SDT in the area of healthcare, sport, work, and parenting (Deci and Ryan, 2008). Most SDT-oriented research has been conducted on learning (Spittle et al. 2009) principally in motivating students (Trenshaw et al. 2016). Little is known about using SDT needs (autonomy, competence, and relatedness) in the area of postgraduate research particularly students' motivation (Hegarty, 2011) to foster study progression and social connection with their colleagues. One major issue is that the level of autonomy competence and relatedness are often low within research students. Research students are frequently confused on how they are going on with their research work which is causing the feeling of not being progressed in accomplishing their research goal and the feeling isolation. Furthermore, research students are more likely to feel less connected with their colleagues and supervisors. These bring adverse effects on them, e.g., health problems (Kurtz-Costes et al. 2006), disruption in their research work, and dropping out of research programs (Vekkaila et al. 2013). There are many technology-enhanced solutions readily available to help motivate students to progress in their research programs. Though, these solutions are not grounded explicitly in student motivation theories and are not designed, developed for students to help them with their daily tasks and support social interaction. Little empirical evidence has been collected on the types of support valued by students. To the best of our knowledge, none of these systems considers the effect on the SDT needs of autonomy, and competence and relatedness. This project is aimed to design and develop SDT theory-driven gamified system applying the User-Centered Design (UCD) process as a possible solution to the problem of low level of autonomy, competence, and relatedness within research students. This gamified system will enable students to set goals, upload their research work and enable their supervisors and colleagues to review their research work. This study seeks to answer the research question:
  • What is the effect of using a gamified system on research students' feeling of i) autonomy, ii) competence and iii) relatedness on their postgraduate journey?
We hypothesized that utilizing the gamified system will increase students' SDT three needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness. We developed a gamified system using three UCD iterations. A one-week pilot study of the system informed that game element did not increase the effort among the students to complete their weekly goal and did not increase social interaction. Future study needs to be run over four weeks using a between-subjects technique with a quantitative and qualitative method. Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI) measurement (Ryan, 1982) using 7-Likert scale will be used to generate users' data output. This will demonstrate the effect of a gamified system on SDT needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness compared with the non-gamified system.


  • Deci, E.L., and Ryan, R.M. (1985a). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York: Plenum.
  • Deci, E.L. and Ryan, R.M. (1985b). Toward an Organismic Integration Theory. In Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination in Human Behavior, Springer US, 113-148.
  • Deci, E.L. and Ryan, R.M. (2002). Handbook of self-determination research. Rochester, NY.
  • Deci, E.L. and Ryan, R.M. (2008). Self-Determination Theory: A Macrotheory of Human Motivation, Development, and Health, Canadian Psychology, 49(3), 182-185.
  • Hegarty, B. (2011). A framework to guide professional learning and reflective practice. Doctor of Education thesis, Faculty of Education, University of Wollongong, NSW.
  • Kurtz-Costes, B., Helmke, L. A. and Ulkusteiner, B. (2006). Gender and doctoral studies: the perceptions of Ph.D. students in an American university, Gender, and Education, 18(2), 137-155.
  • Ryan, R.M. (1982). Control and information in the intrapersonal sphere: An extension of cognitive evaluation theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 450-461.
  • Spittle, M., Jackson, K. and Casey, M.M. (2009). Applying Self-Determination Theory to understand the motivation for becoming a physical education teacher, Teaching and Teacher Education, 25(1), 190-197.
  • Trenshaw, K.F., Revelo, R.A., Earl, K.A., and Herman, G.L. (2016). Using Self Determination Theory Principles to Promote Engineering Students' Intrinsic Motivation to Learn. International Journal of Engineering Education, 32(3), 1194-1207.
  • Vekkaila,, J., K. Pyhältö, and K. Lonka. (2013). Experiences of Disengagement - A Study of Doctoral Students in the Behavioral Sciences. International Journal of Doctoral Studies. 8, 61-81.

Integrating Pedagogical And HCI Principles In The Design Of Game-based Learning Environments.


In this position paper, we propose a framework that consolidates constructivist pedagogical principles of learning with HCI design-principles that account for perceptual traits intrinsic to the presentation of multimodal information. The framework is purposed towards environments that utilise a combination of sensory modalities (such as games) during the course of teaching and learning. Indeed, game-based learning is increasingly becoming an integral part of many classroom environments, along with other educational technologies such as virtual learning environments (VLEs), interactive whiteboards (IWBs), and educational web apps; all of which utilise multiple sensory stimuli within the scaffold of education. As the Irish primary and post-primary education systems move to align with the Digital Learning Framework as envisaged under the Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020; technology-focused teaching and learning will require effective, efficient, and pedagogically-sound methods and applications. The authors therefore submit this framework as a possible foundation in underpinning the design of educational games and human-computer interaction within robust pedagogical principles.


The concept of integrating primitive perceptual stages with higher cognitive processes in learning is recognised as a useful approach for underpinning our understanding of the complexities involved in learning through a variety of technological media - for example, Moreno's (2006) cognitive theory of learning with media (CTLM) framework. Pedagogical principles tend to rely heavily on more abstract concepts derived from higher-cognitive processes, but lower-cognitive influences feed these processes and are therefore key elements in any pedagogical framework. Indeed, Gevins (2000) allocates working memory as a key factor in higher cognitive processing, which acts as a realtime bridge between incoming sensory information and higher-level contextualisation and organisation. The constraints (and therefore the upward filtering of information) that is tied to working memory has been regularly quantified in various modalities (Cowan 2010; Baddeley 2004). In addition, destructive interference at the working-memory stage (irrelevant background noise, for example), has a profound effect on attention mechanisms during primary tasks, such as that described by the Changing-State Hypothesis (Jones and Macken, 1993). That said, the underlying mechanisms of working memory as modelled by Baddelely and Hitch (1974), and as expanded upon by Cowan (1999), are still debated (Chein & Fiez, 2010), revealing that even at the more primitive levels of cognition that more research is necessary before fully robust learning technologies can be implemented.

Framework Description

The basis of the framework is informed by a dual-model approach, encapsulated as a macro-model with embedded micro-models. The macro-model depicts larger-scale cognitive factors that are influential on processes of learning, such as learning styles, cultural nuances, personal experiences, and personal motivations. Such personalised, and inherently complex characteristics, require advanced software implementations in its application, and would likely be dependent on robust machine learning (ML) approaches. The embedded micro-models exhibits more generic, quantifiable traits of interaction associated with lower-level perceptual processes. However, these too would require a degree of plasticity during applied implementation so as to adjust to subtle variations in how learners in-take and process sensory information. At this micro-level of interaction, the primary concern is to be 'compatible' with inherent perceptual constraints. These micro-models incorporate primitive, but universal, perceptual traits associated with:
  • Working memory constraints;
  • Auditory stream segregation;
  • Cross-modal interactions between visual and auditory perception;
  • Attention mechanisms;
  • The formation of perceptual objects and scenes.
The following summarises the 'flow of information' depicted in the framework:
  1. A virtual scene is presented to the learner, incorporating several modalities and modes of interaction. The primary presentation and interaction modes most commonly include visual/graphic, text, speech, non-speech audio, and occasionally tactile. An additional consideration in game-based learning environments (and related technologies such as VR/AR/MR) is the spatialisation of virtual scenes. This feature has both advantages and disadvantages. For example, spatialisation allows designers to utilise additional dimensions to present extra information cues (such as context), and also allows designers to segregate information streams in order to dissuade perceptual disruption. However, without appropriately-informed implementation, the spatialisation of information streams can magnify distraction from primary task engagement or promote information-stream disjoint.
  2. Peripheral sensory systems parse and organise the dimensional features of the presented scene. This is modelled by incorporating established theories and proofs, such as Auditory Scene Analysis (Bregman, 1996).
  3. The resultant segregated streams are then readied for further sensory filtering along the perceptual system, whereby influencers such as working memory constraints (Baddeley, 2004) and attention mechanisms play key roles. Initially, the framework still isolates the sensory modalities, given the specific within-modality criteria that must first be catered for. This is what constitutes the need for several micro-models at the outset. However, it must be acknowledged that cross-modal interaction does occur at these points, and the framework signifies this through marking the top-down process of schema-theory influences, which involve full-scene predictors based on user experiences of prior holistic scenes (all sensory experiences accumulated to form a sense of the entire scene).
  4. The various micro-models at this point transition to the macro-model, as the schema databases involving prior-learning experiences interface with larger, higher-cognitive learning influences. Incorporated in the macro-model, to which all micro-models feed, are pedagogical concepts such as pedagogical beliefs; perspectives around technology and learning spaces; pedagogical vision around using technology-rich spaces; curriculum; and assessment agendas.
  5. Drilling further down, pedagogical principles can be extrapolated from more defined criteria such as learner adaptiveness; language/subject dominance; and learning attitudes.
  6. All of these elements are shown in the framework as influencers of measurable pedagogical constraints, specifically self-efficacy; valence; and goal salience (Tremblay & Gardiner, 1995; Steel & Andrews, 2012).
  7. Finally, the macro-model depicts the functional aspects of knowledge acquisition (motivational intensity; persistence; attention), which culminates in an overall metric of achievement.
Although the macro- and embedded micro-models are modularised in the authors' proposed framework to allow for phased empirical testing; they are not mutually exclusive. User-testing strategies would need to incorporate evaluation methodologies that cross-reference between the micro-model under examination and overall macro-model implications.

Proposed Evaluations:

A series of evaluations will need to be performed on the proposed model. These will be numerous in order to cover the many elements encompassing the larger-scale model. The following summarises a number of the projected user-studies:
  • An examination of behavioural responses to the concurrent presentation of simple auditory and visual stimuli (some of which will need to be evaluated at a sonic dimension level - e.g. isolating timbre, meter, pitch, loudness). On a broader level, the design of stimulus material will be based on auditory scene analysis and stream-segregation principles (including spatialised auditory stimuli);
  • An analysis of working-memory constraints and attention mechanisms based on responses to tasks that incorporate stimulus distractors. A system of analysis would comprise a quantitative evaluation of task performance under various loads and under various degrees of cross-modality, and will also be evaluated for perceived performance using the NASA-TLX;
  • Higher-cognitive evaluations will require the collaboration of applied psychology colleagues to establish appropriate experimental design, tools, and processes for evaluation;
  • A series of qualitative studies will be required to evaluate the larger macro-model Valid quantitative analysis is in terms of establishing the influence of various temperaments on learning processes will be conducted, as well as a series of evaluations based on interview and case-study formats to inform methodological triangulation;
  • Other qualitative evaluations focused on factors such as attitudinal and adaptiveness traits on the process of learning will also need to be established, some of which has been done by one of the authors of this paper within the context of initial-teacher training.


The framework proposed in this paper is based on the argument that compatibility with human perceptual and cognitive processes, both at primitive and higher-cognitive levels, is central to designing any learning system. This is especially the case when it comes to educational technologies that incorporate several modalities when presenting dynamically-changing information. It becomes more pertinent when considering that learners are increasingly exposed to abstracted digital environments. While technological advancement often outpaces the establishment of fundamental design frameworks, pedagogy and technology researchers each have at their disposal the required tools and understanding in their disparate disciplines. Therefore, it is possible to merge the principles embodied in both pedagogy and HCI into robust frameworks that inform education-technology developers. Through these frameworks, developers are able to encode for effective learning opportunities that allow for the efficient attainment of learning objectives through reducing design bottlenecks that impinge on basic perceptual and cognitive information flow. Adapting core constructivist pedagogical theories into a software design framework requires the employment of modularised, controlled test scenarios that map the technological environment with learner motivations, expectations and achievement goals. An interesting parallel is the work of Shin and Kim (2008), who link extrinsic and intrinsic motivations to learners' attitudes and intentions within the context of social online technologies. Through an adaptation of the Technology Acceptance Model (Davis, 1989; Venkatesh and Davis, 2000), Shin and Kim concluded that perceived synchronicity, perceived involvement, and the user's 'flow experience' as key metrics for encouraging user-engagement with new technology. Similarly, these are important factors when it comes to learning processes, especially when engaging with technology as the primary educational vehicle. Therefore, it is the authors' opinion that frameworks, such as the one proposed in this paper, will play a defining role in how game-based learning environments will be designed, measured and mediated in a modernising educational system.


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  • Moreno, R. (2006). Learning in High-Tech and Multimedia Environments. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15(2), pp.63-67.
  • Shin, DH & Kim, WY (2008) "Applying the Technology Acceptance Model and Flow Theory to Cyworld User Behavior: Implications of the Web2.0 User Acceptance," CyberPsychology & Behavior. 11(3), 378-382. NY: Mary Ann Leibert Inc.
  • Steel, C. & Andrews, T. (2012) ReImagining Teaching for Technology Enriched Learning Spaces. In M. Keppell, K. Souter & M. Riddle (Eds.), P?hysical and Virtual Learning Spaces in Higher Education: Concepts for the Modern Learning Environment. H?ershey: IGI Global
  • Tremblay P. F. & Gardner, R. C. (1995). Expanding the motivation construct in language learning. M?odern Language Journal, 79,50520.
  • Venkatesh, V. and Davis, F. (2000). A Theoretical Extension of the Technology Acceptance Model: Four Longitudinal Field Studies. Management Science, 46(2), pp.186-204

An Immersive VR Game To Ascertain Pattern Recall In Virtual Reality

The incorporation of biosensors and physiological signals into a Virtual Reality (VR) experience opens up the possibility of creating adaptive, dynamic and personalised experiences for the user by generating a real-time feedback loop which tailors the player's experience, ensuring it maintains the user's engagement. This abstract describes the first of two stages in achieving this. This project is a part of a larger study which looks at the use of biosensors in VR.

To explore the possibility of creating a feedback loop using biosignals, a VR game has been developed using Unreal Engine 4 for the Oculus Rift. This game is a simple pattern replication game where a player has to memorise a pattern displayed on a screen in one room, move to a second room via two conjoined corridors and replicate the pattern on the screen in that room. The player will perform this task a number of times, each time the player will have to remember a longer pattern.

Two biosensors were incorporated into the game; the Empatica E4 and Myndplay's Myndband. The E4 looks, and can be worn like a wrist watch, it connects to the application via Bluetooth. The Myndband takes the form of a headband and also connects to the application via Bluetooth. The E4 measures Blood Volume Pulse (BVP) and Galvanic Skin Response (GSR), and the Myndband measures Electroencephalography (EEG). BVP gives a reading for a user's heart rate. The changes in a person's heart rate can help to infer a user's emotional state. GSR measures the changes in sweat gland activity that are reflective of the intensity of a person's emotional arousal. EEG is the recording of the electrical activity in the brain using electrodes placed on the scalp. The Myndband is a single probe EEG device which is placed on the forehead above the eye. The raw EEG signal can be broken down into a number of frequency bands, each representing a particular emotional state, furthermore the Myndband calculates values for attention and meditation, known as eSense values. These values could be useful in a feedback loop.

The purpose of the biosensors is to provide objective measures of the player's performance in the game. The physiological recordings taken from the biosensors can be graphed against events in the Virtual Reality game in order to determine the players emotional reactions to a particular event, such as success or failure replicating the pattern. In order to do this the VR application outputs a number of csv files corresponding to different data types; events, EEG, GSR and Heart Rate. The data in these files is timestamped so that the physiological signals can be synchronized with events in the game. This stage of the project focuses on gathering data which will be analysed in order to help create the feedback loop in the second stage of this project.

It is hoped that a feedback loop can be implemented which can adjust the difficulty of the pattern replication task in real-time, in order to keep the user engaged. If the player is frustrated or stressed by a particularly hard pattern, then the next pattern will be simpler. Similarly, if the player is bored or inattentive then the next pattern will be more difficult. It is believed that this will constantly keep the player on their toes, while not overwhelming them with difficult tasks.

The games virtual environment is modelled on a section of UCC's Western Gateway Building. It was essential that the environment have a high graphical and audio fidelity in order to ensure good ecological validity and immersion. To this end the games exact measurements of the rooms and corridors were taken. These measurements were used during the production of the 3D models, ensuring the virtual building faithfully represented the real building.

Testing has been carried out informally throughout the development process by colleagues with technical experience. There were two main aspects tested; testing of the VR experience and control scheme, and testing of the biosensors. Testing of the VR experience involved ensuring the effects of motion sickness were minimal, to ensure the control scheme was simple and easy to use and to establish that the instructions in the tutorial and experiment were easy to follow. The biosensors were tested to ensure the quality and consistency of the retrieved data.

It is planned to carry out experiments with between 20 and 40 people. Each participant will wear both biosensors for the duration of the experiment. They will first be presented with a tutorial which will help adjust the player to Virtual Reality and the control scheme. Following the tutorial is a free exploration section, this will help establish a baseline which can be compared to later on during the experiment. When the player is ready to proceed, they are teleported to the experiment section. The player will be presented with a set of instructions on a whiteboard upon arrival in the experiment section. The player is instructed to enter Room One, where they will be required to memorise a flashing pattern on a screen. They are then to move down two adjoining corridors into the second room. In this second room the player must replicate the pattern on an identical screen. If the player successfully replicates the pattern, they must then return to the first room where a new pattern will be presented to them. If they fail to replicate the pattern, then there may have to return to the previous room where the pattern will still be displayed. Several events are recorded in the events csv file; these include success and failure of entering patterns as well as events related to the tutorial section. Following the experiment, the subject will be asked to fill out a NASA Test Load Index survey which will access the pattern replication task.

Early anecdotal feedback from testers of the game indicate that the experience is immersive and enjoyable, with some reporting that the memorisation of patterns in VR is varyingly challenging. Following an analysis of the data produced in the first round of experiments it is planned to attempt to implement an algorithm which will determine a player's emotional state in order to provide a feedback loop which can adjust the difficulty of the pattern task.

User-Centred Game Based Learning: The Role Of Working Memory Performance During Multimodal Interaction

  • Ms. Rokaia Jedir, Limerick Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Flaithri Neff, Limerick Institute of Technology

The study of education and instructional design within Game-Based Learning Environments (GBLEs) is an effective means in observing the impacts of learning motivation and cognitive performance on learning processes (Ang et al., 2007; Wen-Hao Huang, 2011). From such observations, GBLE guidelines aiming to reduce overall cognitive load and to mitigate potential constraints on learning processes continue to be developed (Reeves et al., 2004; Kiili, 2005; Turk, 2014). In this presentation, the authors will propose guidelines specifically focused on the influences of working memory (WM) within a multimodal context when delivering game-based educational content. Of particular interest is cross-modal interaction in WM between concurrent auditory stimuli and visual-based tasks. From this, the primary research question is concerned with assessing the value of 'WM-aware' guidelines in determining the design of auditory cues, and if such cues can be minimally disruptive to visual-based learning tasks in GBLE contexts. Working memory (WM) is a brain system that is crucial to cognitive processing and learning mechanisms, and is largely reliant on multisensory integration (Baddeley, 1974; 2015). WM plays an integral role in learning processes, and is reliant on the use of multiple sensory modalities simultaneously. To facilitate learning, modern GBLEs therefore inherently employ multimodal content. In such contexts, the WM system enables end-users to perform various cognitive tasks, by providing a platform for the temporary storage and manipulation of auditory and visual content. Pre-attentive information processing occurs continuously within WM, both during banal, every-day activities, and during complex cognitive tasks. However, the WM system is put to work at full capacity during certain tasks that are fundamental to learning processes. Examples of these tasks include reading, writing or simple algebraic and visuo-spatial problem solving. The effectiveness of the GBLE is therefore reliant, in part, on the end-user's WM performance and capacity. WM constraints, therefore, are a primary determining factor in the user's/learner's ability to interpret multiple streams of information simultaneously, or even one stream of information that is being handled by several modalities. In this presentation, the authors highlight the importance of WM within the context of GBLEs, and put forward design guidelines based on a systematic review of WM research literature Game-based learning employs a number of interactive, multimodal techniques for delivering information, accepting input from users, and for notifying users about errors. Research in multimodal interaction and cognitive processing therefore have significant roles to play in the design of GBLEs. Effective human communication is often the central theme in multimodal interface design, with a focus on how concurrent multisensory perceptual systems function and interact. The goals of such research are often aimed at improving accuracy in digital systems through refining information presentation so that it is more reliably compatible with the human perceptual system. Early research in human communication and learning often focussed on speech intelligibility and language processing, (Sumby and Pollack, 1954), while more recent trends have highlighted multimodal interaction (Warschauer, 2007). Furthermore, Huang (2011), highlights the importance of learning motivation within modern GBLEs that integrate multimodal interaction and feedback systems. In that paper, Huang suggests that excessive motivational support within GBLEs could potentially overwhelm a learner's cognitive processing capacity, due to overly complex and highly interactive multimodal interfaces. A comprehensive review by Angadi and Reddy (2019) outlines analysis techniques for evaluating the user-experience (UX) in modern online multimodal applications, and details approaches in user-sentiment analysis during the presentation of multimodal content. In line with these approaches, the authors suggest integrating a mechanism for testing WM-aware guidelines facilitated through a form of user-feedback analysis during multimodal interaction. Such a mechanism would emphasise a personalised UX of a given GBLE - a feature that correlates with the highly individualised characteristics of WM itself.


  • Angadi, S. and Reddy, R.V.S., 2019. Survey on Sentiment Analysis from Affective Multimodal Content. In Smart Intelligent Computing and Applications (pp. 599-607). Springer, Singapore.
  • Ang, C.S., Zaphiris, P. and Mahmood, S., 2007. A model of cognitive loads in massively multiplayer online role playing games. Interacting with computers, 19(2), pp.167-179.
  • Baddeley, A.D. and Hitch, G., 1974. Working memory. In Psychology of learning and motivation (Vol. 8, pp. 47-89). Academic press.
  • Baddeley, A. D. (2015). "Working Memory" in A. Baddeley, Michael W. Eysenck & Mickael C. Anderson (Eds.), Memory, Ch. 3. Psychology Press, NY.
  • Huang, W.H., 2011. Evaluating learners' motivational and cognitive processing in an online game-based learning environment. Computers in Human Behavior, 27(2), pp.694-704.
  • Kiili, K., 2005. Digital game-based learning: Towards an experiential gaming model. The Internet and higher education, 8(1), pp.13-24.
  • Reeves, L.M., Lai, J., Larson, J.A., Oviatt, S., Balaji, T.S., Buisine, S., Collings, P., Cohen, P., Kraal, B., Martin, J.C. and McTear, M., 2004. Guidelines for multimodal user interface design. Communications of the ACM, 47(1), pp.57-59.
  • Sumby, W.H. and Pollack, I., 1954. Visual contribution to speech intelligibility in noise. The journal of the acoustical society of america, 26(2), pp.212-215.
  • Turk, M., 2014. Multimodal interaction: A review. Pattern Recognition Letters, 36, pp.189-195.
  • Warschauer, M., 2007. The paradoxical future of digital learning. Learning Inquiry, 1(1), pp.41-49.

Student Research Abstracts

Mixed Reality (XR) Tools For Distributed Teamwork

  • Mr. Daniel Griffin, Trinity College Dublin
  • Dr. Jake Rowan-Byrne, Trinity College Dublin


In recent years, two seemingly conflicting trends have emerged in software development, namely the rising popularity of the Agile software development methodology and the rise of distributed teamwork. Both trends have brought unquestionable benefits. Agile software practices have helped to reduce time to market and to optimize the production of software. Remote working has enabled round-the clock support for customers and given previously unimagined flexibility to individual team members. Nevertheless, despite their successes, these trends are at odds with each other. Agile software development actively promotes the co-location of teammates in daily "stand-up" team meetings, pair-programming sessions and numerous other familiar Agile practices. The current standard modes of ICT that professional teams employ in their communications, i.e. email, audio and video conferencing, can help to enable remote Agile teamwork, but they may not replicate the practices as they were originally envisioned. Remote workers frequently report that they feel less connected to their teammates than members of co-located teams do. This sense of social isolation is a considerable hurdle to effective distributed teamwork. Mixed reality environments are claimed to promote a sense of shared presence and social "closeness" due to the virtual co-location of users (Whitmer & Singer, 1998; Gee, 2004; Castranova, 2007). The geographical distance is in effect, mitigated thanks to the illusion of being in the same physical space. Similarly, research on virtual worlds and online games have shown that the Game Based Learning techniques, which are employed in these environments, contribute greatly to team bonding and cohesion (Castranova, 2007). This paper will argue that Mixed Reality (XR) approaches promise to be more useful than traditional ICT in supporting distributed professional teamwork, by helping to tackle the sense of social isolation. Can we draw on experience from game design and game based learning to enhance team bonding and increase the sense of social closeness within a team? Answering such questions may enable us to help distributed teams preform optimally and inform the design of future XR interfaces.  


Affordances of multi-user Mixed Reality environments to support distributed Agile software development teams, leading to improved team bonding, greater team performance and reduced sentiments of social-isolation in team members.  


Agile purists will argue that in order to be effective, an Agile software team must be physically co-located. While it is true that Agile was originally designed for co-located teams, remote work is gaining popularity and in recent years we have seen the rise of remote work as a culture/lifestyle with millions of people choosing to live a Digital Nomad lifestyle1. We therefore need to develop solutions that will support remote Agile practices. Video conferencing is one obvious alternative to co-location that has been touted as an ideal solution to long distance communication, going as far back as 1879 with the promise of "telephonoscope" in the Punch magazine2. While it is clear that video conferencing is a useful tool, it fulfils a different role than traditional face-to-face meetings in the modern workplace (Denstadli et al, 2012). Interactions via video conferencing tend to be more formal and allow for less spontaneity of conversation than face-to-face sessions (O'Conaill, Whittaker, & Wilbur, 1993; Sellen, 1995). Virtual co-location can overcome these limitations since it aims to simulate face-to-face interaction in order to create a more natural experience for users. Prior to the emergence of the Web, we would have considered the concept of a web-site to be highly unusual. Indeed, Sir Tim Berners-Lee's initial proposal paper for the web was rejected for being too vague3. Nowadays we take the web for granted and the same will become true of XR in time. The demographic associated with gamers and gaming are now maturing and increasingly entering management roles within organisations. This will break down resistance to the idea of XR in the workplace. Many gamers will already be aware of the benefits of virtual environments for teamwork and indeed the theme is well supported in the literature, particularly in Gee (2002). Gee recognises an application of Erikson's (1950) Psychosocial-Moratorium Principle at play (pun intended) within collaborative video games where players are more likely to engage with each other due to their shared virtual experiences. Arguments in favour of XR for teamwork are gaining traction and many new companies are beginning to offer related services4, but further research in this area is required. In order to understand this trend we should examine why XR is so well suited to support teamwork. The first point to address is an issue that has been understood by the Game Based Learning community since the earliest days of the movement. Games and gaming are intrinsically motivating. They are known to promote player (user) engagement and to hold players attention, often for extended periods. Users report entering a flow state (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990) in which time seems to disappear and the user develops an intense focus on the task at hand. Specific game mechanics are more likely to be the major influencing factor here, but the sense of immersion (i.e. the perception of being physically located in the game world) that is felt by players, is also worth noting for its contribution to player engagement (Gee, 2002). The level of immersion felt by a user of VR is a function of the graphical fidelity, spatial audio and tracking capabilities of the hardware and software used. This implies that VR immersion for non-gaming VR experiences should also be effective. Indeed, companies such as Immersive VR Education5 have staked their business on such assertions. Poor team bonding and a lack of social closeness are important factors that prevent distributed teams from preforming optimally and virtual environments can be useful here. As stated in the introduction, VR is claimed to promote a sense of shared presence and social "closeness" resulting from the virtual co-location of users (Whitmer & Singer, 1998; Gee, 2004; Castranova, 2007). Gee has shown (2002) that Erikson's Psychosocial Moratorium Principle (1950) comes into play when students engage in virtual Game Based Scenarios. Learners work towards building their identity in a particular role and are more likely to dive into an activity to try it out. This may be less useful in ongoing teamwork, but it has obvious implications for team-building, orientation and ice-breaking sessions within newly formed teams. Turning to the question of the fidelity of the experience, one is reminded of McLuhan's (1967) famous phrase that "the medium is the message". The tools used by contemporary professional distributed teams range from simple emails to video conferencing. Each has its benefits and yet each suffers from the issues that McLuhan predicted. Our experiences communicating via our tools, shapes our understanding of the communication and this can have both positive and negative impacts. Psychologists Justin Kruger and Nicholas Epley (2005) have conducted studies on email communication and find that we are not nearly so good at communicating over email as we would like to believe. Video conferencing makes online communication synchronous and adds the modalities of audio and vision, yet this too can suffer from problems with interpretation due to the manner in which it functions and the demands on users. Communication must take place in a prescribed place (e.g. conference room) and hence at a calendared or scheduled time. Poor cameras or screens can reduce the quality of the experience considerably. Remote workers (who are displayed on screen) sometimes become the focus of the meeting; indeed one might say that they become the presentation itself. This can be distracting and uncomfortable for attendees. Less formal video conferencing systems such as Google Hangouts suffer from varying quality due to different methods of access to the session (mobile, desktop, dedicated conference space). Mixed reality can help here by making meetings feel more natural. Immersive environments that offer free head movement mean that one is not required to stare face-to-face with a colleague for extended periods of time. When face-to-face communication is required, emerging technologies such as Cloud Imperium Games, Face Over Internet Protocol (FOIP)6 are making astounding strides to capture and replicate facial movement and gestures, adding a further modality to enhance communication and understanding.

Proposed Path

This position paper outlines a work in progress study. The study plans to recruit participants, through opportunistic sampling, from alumni of the BSc in Digital Design, Technology and Innovation with Digital Skill Global. Participants on this programme undertake a capstone Agile project in which they experience the full software development lifecycle of a product. Student teams are distributed globally and encounter many of the same challenges that any distributed professional Agile team might face. Following the literature review, participants will be surveyed in order to better understand the challenges of distributed Agile teams. This will inform the design of a quasi-experiment for use in the next stage of the study. It is hoped that aspects of Action Research will also allow input from current participants to help guide an iterative design process.


The increasing sophistication of mixed reality tools and environments offers potential benefits to distributed knowledge worker teams, especially where teams must follow particular professional practices or methodologies that are designed for co-location. The use of Collaborative Virtual Environments (CVE) mediated though XR can support distributed teams in new and engaging ways. The future of mixed reality teamwork may open the door to closer, happier and more effective distributed teams.


  • Castronova, E. (2007). Exodus to the virtual world: how online fun is changing reality. St. Martin's Press, Macmillian, New York
  • Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (1990). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: Harper and Row.
  • Denstadli, J. M., Julsrud, T. E. and Hjorthol, R. J. (2012) 'Videoconferencing as a Mode of Communication: A Comparative Study of the Use of Videoconferencing and Face-to-Face Meetings', Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 26(1), pp. 65-91. doi:10.1177/1050651911421125.
  • Erikson, E. (1950). Childhood and society (1st ed.). New York: Norton
  • Gee, J. P. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Kruger, J., Epley, N., Parker, J and Ng, Z. (2005). Egocentrism over e-mail: can we communicate as well as we think? Journal of personality and social psychology 89 6: 925-36.
  • Kurland, Nancy & Cooper, Cecily. (2002). Manager Control and Employee Isolation in Telecommuting Environments. The Journal of High Technology Management Research. 13. 107-126. 10.1016/S1047-8310(01)00051-7.
  • McLuhan, M. (1967). The Medium is the Massage. Random House, New York.
  • O'Conaill, B., Whittaker, S., & Wilbur, S. (1993). Conversations over video conferences: An evaluation of the spoken aspects of video-mediated communication. Human-Computer Interaction, 8, 389-428.
  • Sellen, A. J. (1995). Remote conversations: The effects of mediating talk with technology. Human-Computer Interaction, 10, 401-444.
  • Witmer, B. G., & Singer, M. J. (1998). Measuring presence in virtual environments: A presence questionnaire. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments.


  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/elainepofeldt/2018/08/30/digital-nomadism-goes-mainstream/
  2. https://publicdomainreview.org/collections/the-telephonoscope-1879/
  3. http://info.cern.ch/Proposal.html
  4. http://www.virtualrealityrental.co/blog-post/top-ten-virtual-reality-team-building-experiences
  5. https://immersivevreducation.com/
  6. https://support.robertsspaceindustries.com/hc/en-us/articles/360009579674-FOIP-VOIP-and-Free-Look-Guide

Practitioner Abstracts

Half Professional, Half Classroom

  • Mr. Basil Lim, Dublin Institute of Technology
  • Mr. John P Healy, Technical University Dublin

This presentation details the history and practicalities of delivering a module in Stage 3 of a four-year undergraduate Bachelors in Game Design programme. The module has entered its third year of running, and receives constant student feedback as one of the most highly rated modules, in terms of learning, experience and engagement. The module contains elements of kinesthetic, flipped-classroom, inquiry and expedition-based learning. In essence, the module is a "serious-games" module that links students with project holders in both private and public institutions. Project holders are generally chosen by lecturers on the basis of potential for social change, both at a community level and at a higher level. Previous clients have included applications for improvement of literacy, and applications for social change through creative collaboration.
The presentation will be given from a practitioner standpoint, detailing the history and difficulties of running such a module, including practicalities such as need for garda vetting, balancing academic obligations with product holder expectations, IP assignation and interacting with non-technical persons. The module involves multiple meetings between a product holder and student groups, as well as a onsite testing carried out by students with test audiences, often of a younger age group. The requirements for such testing are stringent and go further than vetting requirements, including social training for students before feedback sessions.
Module participants are also required to produce a working prototype to the specifications of a product holder, in consultation with said product holder. This allows module participants the ability to obtain professional, client-based feedback and introduces them to an industry of client-facing game design and development as a service.
Since its beginning, the module's external product holders have expanded to include other departments within the institute, who are interested in collaborating with students to create applications for use within their classroom or laboratories.
The presentation will further point to examples of student feedback on the module, especially that of alumni or students in later years, and focus on what skills were obtained in the attendance of this module.

Changing Player One: Using Games To Change Mental Models In Adult Learners

  • Ms. Alexandra Carter, Independent

This presentation will address the design and use of games for adult learners on the Fuller Leadership Platform (FLP). Topics will include: underlying, content-specific game design principles; the challenges and possibilities of using games in this context and for and adult audience; the design of a game for the platform (using simulation/RPG models, along with more "abstract" strategy games); and the research methods that will be employed to analyze efficacy. The presentation discusses the process used to create and analyze a game for adult learners. As the project is just starting, the goal is to get feedback on design and research methodologies. Creating these games is challenging, both from a programming and design standpoint, but also because of a lack of funding and time. Sharing the experience will help inform future teams about the promise and challenge of the possibilities of designing games for adult learners.
FLP offers continuing education resources and professional development certificates online. One of the challenges FLP faces is a lack of dynamic activities that require active participation. Games offer one possible solution, as they can create rich learning experiences. Because they encourage active participation, decision making, and reflection, they can transform learners' mental models, crucial for learning. Mental models are "deeply ingrained assumptions, generalizations, or even pictures and images that influence how we understand the world and how we take action." These models are not static, however. Models evolve and transform as learners take in new information or are confronted with challenging situations. Learning happens when individuals either assimilate new information into an existing model or create a new mental model. Well designed games encourage players to test assumptions, apply new knowledge, and respond to situations using both old and new mental models. In so doing, games create the disequilibrium necessary to effect change. Using role-playing and simulation games give learners a chance to demonstrate their current problem-solving strategies and employ newly learned information to similar and new situations. Supported by learning resources, mental model pre- and post-assessment, and formative and summative reflections, games offer a unique opportunity to help learners reflect and revise their thinking.

Teaching Maths To Primary School Students Through A Gamified Program

  • Mr. James Lockwood, Camara Education Ireland

One of the main barriers to equal opportunities in education is availability and accessibility to resources. Camara Education Ireland seeks to allow all children and young people in Ireland to have equal access to education in both formal and informal education settings. One project currently running is a partner project with the Irish Youth Foundation, funded by Linesight, which focuses on maths.
Using an online system called 'Math-Whizz' developed by Whizz Education, the hope is to provide primary school aged students with an opportunity to improve and grow their mathematical ability. Maths is a vital subject for any student and by focusing on improving this core skill, we hope to give these students an opportunity to reach their full potential. Math-Whizz works on an AI tutor system which, based on an initial and continuous assessment system, tailors lessons and exercises to suit each student's ability and needs. The digital, gamified nature of the program can be used alongside traditional teaching lessons to both inform and supplement the maths curriculum in primary schools. The ability to improve digital literacy skills and engage students in maths in a fun and interactive format could be of benefit in many classrooms. It can also be used in after-school or homework clubs as an intervention both for students who are struggling and those who are excelling.
The project, currently in its first year, runs in one primary school and two after-school clubs in the Dublin area. These institutions have been identified as working with children from disadvantaged background and many don't have the access to technology and education support that is needed. Through this project we have been able to provide infrastructure (e.g. laptops.) as well training and ongoing support in delivering Maths-Whizz sessions over the school year. The hope is that this project continues for at least the next year to continue the development in those centres as well as expand into other schools and learning centres.
This presentation will give an overview of the Maths-Whizz platform and how it works for both teachers and students. The focus of the presentation will then be on this project itself including how it has been implemented in both informal and formal educational institutions. The learnings and outcomes of the project will be presented including looking at students maths knowledge and perceptions, analysis of student learning and digital literacy, practical lessons learned and challenges faced.
Those interested in teaching Maths, engaging students in a different way of learning through gamification or those interested in some of the challenges faced with both formal and informal education in disadvantaged areas will find this presentation helpful.

The Bad Times Or An Droch Shaol

  • Dr. Greg Garvey, Quinnipiac University

This practitioner-based submission addresses the challenges of adapting a linear graphic novel as an interactive experience. The Bad Times is historical fiction told by means of illustrations that engages the reader through characters, dialogue, plot, conflict, and a vivid recreation of the world and setting of the tragedy of the Irish Great Hunger in the mid 19th century. On one level it has a simple theme of survival. But as the story unfolds the moral and ethical choices that confront the characters, point to a broader theme: individuals caught in a human-caused disaster not of their own making. This resonates today as we witness similar contemporary tragedies: e.g. the Rohingya in Myanmar or the famine and starvation due to the civil war in Yemen.
This presentation discusses strategies for adapting the 'Bad Times' into an interactive visual novel where the player follows the stories of Dan, Brigit, and Liam as they try to survive the Famine. The game focuses on the choices the characters and player will make, the story changing based on what they pick. These choices ultimately decide the characters' fate-the replayability of the game coming from the different endings that the player may encounter in the game. Additionally, there may be a context sensitive menu with a button that the players can click to learn more about the real-life context of a scene.
This game and the graphic novel which it is based on is enlivened by the author's research into first-hand eye-witness accounts found in primary and secondary sources made available in the collection of Ireland's Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University as well as other libraries and collections. However, the key inspiration was visual. Author Christine Kinealy explains her motivation for writing 'The Bad Times':?
"The Bad Times" (or, An Droch Shaol) was inspired by a painting by Daniel MacDonald, entitled 'Irish Peasant Children', which was created around 1846 - just as the tragedy of the Great Hunger was unfolding in Ireland. The three children in it are beautiful and haunting."
The painting is owned by Quinnipiac University and every time I saw it, I wondered, 'What happened to these children during the Famine?', and, more broadly, 'How did children - the most vulnerable group in any society, survive this catastrophe?' As we know, in any famine, children are the most group that experience the highest levels of mortality.""
Around the same time, I met Boston based artist, John Walsh, and a collaboration was born when we decided to collaborate on a graphic novel. John captures with his art work a sadness and a desperation that thousands of written words could not convey. The three children in 'The Bad Times', are loosely based on those in MacDonald's painting, but with the addition of a loyal collie dog called Cú. And Cú is based on my own dog of the same name."
Take-aways include a novel re-telling of the famine; a model for translating a linear narrative into an interactive game; a 'persuasive' game allowing players to literally walk in the shoes of the characters, confronting the same ethical and moral decisions.

Games With Movement To Increase Classroom Learning

  • Dr. Jill Tussey, Buena Vista University

Student learning and student engagement are always a high level of focus for educators. Keeping instruction and the learning environment engaging can be a struggle if educators still use the more traditional approaches of teaching while using games and movement acts as a natural form of engagement for students. Additionally, movement in the classroom offers many benefits in connection to increasing student levels of learning. Cox (n.d.) shared that "studies have also found that children that move about when learning are better able to understand more difficult concepts, as well as pay attention more in school" (para. 1). When educators bring games with movement into the classroom setting, they are providing the students with an environment that promotes deeper learning. Shapiro (2014) shared information that Ed Dieterle, Senior Program Officer for Research, Measurement, and Evaluation for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation outlined stating "for a student sitting in the median who doesn't have a game, his or her learning achievement would have increased by 12 percent if he or she had that game" (para. 6). Games with physical activity can be added into any subject content area with ease. "Classroom games add flair and student engagement to more tedious, yet necessary tasks like teaching math facts, grammar rules and vocabulary, reviewing for tests or even completing lab experiments. Adding an element of competition motivates and energizes students" (Pak, 2019, para. 3). Classroom teachers can post numbers, site words, or vocabulary terms around the room and challenge students to swat the correct cards in a timed race with a classmate. Whoever is able to swat the most cards correctly wins the game for the team. During this activity, students will be motivated by the quick game atmosphere as well as interact with the information in a different way. Charades can require students to act out a vocabulary term or even recreate a section of a story to demonstrate their understanding of what they have read. Physical games can extend learning beyond the indoor classroom. Scavenger hunts to find objects that rhyme or start with the same letter can help kindergarten learners while older learners can apply math concepts to items they see on a scavenger hunt. Hopscotch can be turned into a spelling practice game. Traditional games with movement components can be combined with educational concepts to help students practice or even master academic skills. Jensen (2005) shared additional ways to turn a game of tug-of-war into a learning experience by having student debate topics. After each side has shared its information, classmates select a side to support. Participants will leave this presentation with a broad knowledge about how embedding games with components of movement can increase student learning. Abdelbary (2017) restated that "studies show that children who are more active exhibit better focus, faster cognitive processing, and more successful memory retention than kids who spend the day sitting still" (para. 2). Twelve years of experience in an elementary classroom by the practitioner has provided a strong background of methods to increase the implementation of games with elements of movement into learning environment. Examples of ways to incorporate various ways of embedding games into classroom activities will be shared with attendees.  


Games, Greek Mythology, & Pop Culture

  • Dr. Leslie Haas, Buena Vista University
  • Ms. Mary Donato, Buena Vista University

Game-based learning is engaging for students of all ages! This presentation will provide in-depth, procedural planning and implementation of game-based learning, as formative assessment, embedded within an undergraduate travel preparation course designed to explore connections between Greek Mythology and popular culture. Students developed understandings of Greek mythology and popular culture through a variety of engaging pedagogical methods and procedures throughout the course. Each mythological story explored was connected to specific sites students were scheduled to visit during their travel experience. These sites included Athens, Delphi, Olympia, Mycenae, Epidaurus, and Corinth. Popular culture explored included advertising, cinema, comics, gaming, and television. In order to assess student knowledge of Greek mythology and cultural connections, instructors created a process in which students participated in digital games through web-based applications, interacted with game elements via choice boards, and collaborated with peers through collaborative game development. Each peer group had a set of non-negotiables, which included a clear set of rules and objectives. They were also limited to a minimum of three game elements collaboratively chosen. Game element choices consisted of game board, character cards, charades, drawing, currency, dice, word play, and playing cards. Students were also provided with activity resources as part of the game design. These resources consisted of scissors, paper clips, note cards, chart paper, construction paper, and markers. Once student groups developed objectives and rules, chose game elements, and utilized resources they were able to develop truly creative and fun games. Throughout the process, tangential learning was paramount, as students became fully engaged in researching obscure mythological facts and pop culture references to increase the level of difficulty within their games. Once each group completed their game, they were asked to play the game, and make adjustments as needed. After the opportunity to critique and edit their games, student groups played games developed by other peer groups. Additional feedback was provided and groups continued to develop and edit their assessment product.

Research And Experiences Using A Strategy Simulation Game With Third Level Business Students.

  • Ms. Anne Crowley, Cork Institute of Technology

Relevance to the conference

In support of the overall theme of the IGBL conference as a forum to exchange ideas and best practice on the use of game-based approaches to support learning, this presentation will include key research and experiences from multiple cycles of action research into GBL with business students at third level. The presentation contents will include research findings as well as the researchers experience and reflections. The aim of the presentation is to offer some key findings and advice that could guide other lecturers considering implementing simulation software in their classroom.

Relevant issue or challenge addressed

One method of introducing real world scenarios into the class room is via software simulations. This presentation outlines some key points that would aid lecturers considering implementing simulation software. Experiences and learning presented will span the process from software selection to implementation.  

Settings where GBL was used

A strategy simulation software was used at final year undergraduate level in the school of business at Cork Institute of Technology. The simulation software selected for this research was Pearson's "MyStrategyExperience" and it has now been in use for three years.

Key Information from Presentation

Research has been conducted into the students' view of simulation software as well as several cycles of action research using a strategy simulation software with business undergraduates. The results presented to participants will include the key learning or key challenges overcome across this research period. The aim of the presentation would be to deliver useful information for any lecturer considering implementing a software simulation in their classroom.

Information will be categorised into four areas:

  1. The student perspective on simulation software Students were found to approve of simulations while still listing reservations regarding their use as assessment, knowing these reservations can lead to a more successful outcome.
  2. Narrowing the field of prospective simulation games Identification of the appropriate simulation software can be challenging as the market presents an array of choices. Some key selection considerations will be identified to assist in this process.
  3. Software Simulations Implementation Issues After a number of years using simulation software the researcher has identified some implementation issues that should be considered to ease adoption of an often unfamiliar environment for students.
  4. Selection of supporting references and research.
Some information presented is the output of structured research into the use of simulation software at third level, but further information or learning will include the researcher experiences and reflection on this process. The aim of the presentation would be to give participants some key research outputs including a suggested reading list as well as pointers or lessons learnt following a number of years using a strategy simulation software at third level.

Selection of Supporting References

  • Anderson, P. H. and Lawton, L. (2009) 'Business Simulations and Cognitive Learning', Simulation & Gaming, 40(2), pp. 193-216. doi: 10.1177/1046878108321624.
  • Arias-Aranda, D. (2007) 'Simulating reality for teaching strategic management', Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 44(3), pp. 273-286. doi: 10.1080/14703290701486662.
  • Bloxham, S. and Boyd, P. (2007) Developing Effective Assessment in Higher Education: A Practical Guide. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
  • Brown, S. (2004) 'Assessment for learning', Learning and teaching in higher education, (1), pp. 81-89. doi: 10.1187/cbe.11-03-0025.
  • Crowley, A., Farren, M. and OSúilleabháin, G. (2017) 'Strategy Simulation Games: The Student Perspective and an Investigation of Employability Competencies Gained Through the Use of Strategy Simulations in Higher Education', in Vincenti, G. et al. (eds) eLEOT2016. Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-49625-2_25.
  • Entwistle, N. and Tait, H. (1990) 'Approaches to Learning , Evaluations of Teaching , and Preferences for Contrasting Academic Environments Author ( s ): Noel Entwistle and Hilary Tait Published by?: Springer Stable URL?: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3447162 Accessed?: 15-04-2016 16?: 42 UT', Higher Education, 19(2), pp. 169-194.
  • De Freitas, S. and Liarokapis, F. (2011) 'Serious Games: A New Paradigm for Education?', Serious Games and Edutainment Applications, pp. 9-23. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4471-2161-9.
  • Gredler, M. E. (2004) 'Games and simulations and their relationships to learning.', Handbook of research on educational communications and technology, 2, pp. 571-581. Available at: http://www.coulthard.com/library/Files/gredler_2004_gamesandsimsandrelationtolearning.pdf (Accessed: 8 June 2017).
  • Keys, B. and Wolfe, J. (1990) 'The role of managment games and simulation in education research.pdf', Journal of Management, pp. 307-336. doi: 10.1177/014920639001600205.
  • Knotts Jr., U. S. and Keys, J. B. (1997) 'Teaching Strategic Management with a Business Game', Simulation & Gaming, 28(4), pp. 377-394.
  • Summers, G. J. (2004) 'Today's Business Simulation Industry', Simulation & Gaming , 35(2), pp. 208-241. doi: 10.1177/1046878104263546.
  • Wolfe, J. (1985) 'The Teaching Effectiveness of Games in Collegiate Business Courses - A 1973-1983 Update', Simulation and Games, 16(3), pp. 251-288

Cyber Squad

  • Ms. Brenda Romero, Romero Games

Cyber Squad is a digital game developed and designed by Brenda Romero and Maezza Brathwaite-Romero of Romero Games in conjunction with HPE and the Girl Scouts. The goal of the game is to teach girls about cyber security so that they are better prepared for the nuanced, challenging issues they may face as their interaction with technology and social media grows. While the possibilities for teaching and game play for the project were fairly straightforward, we wanted to create something that avoided the pedantic, didactic pitfalls of educational games while creating genuinely engaging content that appealed to demographic. This required a unique mother-daughter collaboration to create the systems that would work and the content that would hold the audience. Launching on mobile and PC, Cyber Squad also has its own board game for kids who may not have access to PCs at home or through their school. This talk will examine the challenge, the core design and content decisions, the resulting reception and key takeaways for others working in the space.

Poster Abstracts

The Use Of Interactive Multi-player Games To Enhance Second Language Acquisition Of Both Mandarin And English

  • Ms. Charly Harbord, Abertay University

Research Question: "To what degree can it be evidenced that interactive role playing games enhance the mutual second language acquisition of both Mandarin and English?" MMORPG have become a popular area of language acquisition research (Lee and Pass, 2014; Jabbari and Eslami, 2018; Yasar, 2018). Raising the question of whether games and education can be effectively combined; to create a game based on research that has education within its core yet still presents as an engaging gaming experience and provides a mutual learning platform for two languages. Serious games genre of game focuses on an educational agenda first and entertainment second (Sorensen and Meyer, 2007). One aspect that requires consideration when designing serious games is the balance between formal and informal learning. Furthermore, by the inclusion of both individual and social learning environments learning will be more effective. The current study is longitudinal and focuses on the question: Can interactive multi-player games enhance second language acquisition? For the purposes of the study, the main focus will be on producing and comprehending written language as the HSK exam is primarily reading and writing focused. These will be drawn from the level 1 Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK; Chinese equivalency exam) and from the corresponding words in English (Common European Framework Reference for languages A1). The reasoning for this is that within my role as a Mandarin teacher at Abertay University I will have a pool of beginner students who can be invited to participate in the research. The pilot study will apply psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic research knowledge to a game which has been designed and developed by myself according to my specifications. The benefit of this is that the game exactly corresponds to the target language needs and negates the need to mod a quest system of another RPG. Additionally, I have designed the game in both English and Mandarin with the aim of players cooperating in both target languages via a text chat system. Target language will be taught and then recall tested. Two control groups will also have the target language primed and tested. In order to keep exposure to language, one control group will use an app for learning target language through rote-repetition. The secondary control group will not be expected to do any further revision, unless they wish to and that will be recorded. The game is an RPG where the player completes various tasks which are similar for each language. These tasks start with simply getting dressed, eating breakfast and meeting people building up to more complex puzzles using colours, logic and recall. After exposure to the game recall will be retested in the playing group and the control groups. The hypothesis is that the students who played the game will show a significant increase in word recall and target language in use. Two aspects are predicted to become apparent in the result data.
  • Firstly, the Proteus effect of using Avatars, can help negate the anxiety that a learner may feel within face-to-face conversation in the target language ((Hooi and Cho, 2014).).
  • Secondly, that the target language learners who are involved in the game based supplementary learning are hypothesized to experience higher levels of motivation for learning the language (Cornillie et al., 2012).


  • Cornillie, F., Thorne, S. and Desmet, P. (2012). ReCALL special issue: Digital games for language learning: challenges and opportunities. ReCALL, [online] 24(03), pp.243-256. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s0958344012000134
  • Hooi, R. and Cho, H. (2014). Avatar-driven self-disclosure: The virtual me is the actual me. Computers in Human Behavior, [online] 39, pp.20-28. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2014.06.019
  • Jabbari, N. and Eslami, Z. (2018). Second language learning in the context of massively multiplayer online games: A scoping review. ReCALL, [online] 31(01), pp.92-113. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s0958344018000058
  • Lee, J. and Pass, C. (2014). Massively multiplayer online gaming and English language learning. In: H. Gerber and S. Schamroth Abrams, ed., Bridging Literacies with Videogames, 1st ed. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, pp.91-101.
  • Yasar, S. (2018). The Role of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games in Extramural Second Language Learning: A Literature Review. Journal of Educational Technology and Online Learning. [online] Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.31681/jetol.436100

Game Demo Abstracts


  • Mr. Max Drazewski, Technological University Dublin
  • Mr. Nicolas Stevenson, Technological University Dublin
  • Ms, Amber Coen Collins, Technological University Dublin
  • Mr. Daniel Porter, Technological University Dublin
  • Mr. Connor Ryan, Technological University Dublin

Relevance to Conference:

AnimaVenture is primarily a meditation app, but with Game Elements incorporated into its design. We faced many unconventional challenges during the creation of this app and feel as though our experience has been incredibly valuable, and that sharing what we have learned would benefit many other developers and in particular other students.

Key Objectives:

  • Gamify an app designed for meditation
  • Create seamless user experiences
  • Teach meditation practices through the app

Format: .exe/.apk

Platform Used for Development: Unity

The Project

As part of a module on Game-Based Learning our role in this project was to develop a refined prototype of how the experience could be gamified. This app, being primarily a meditation app, differs drastically from our previous experiences as game design students and so posed many enjoyable challenges that had to be overcome. The outcome of this project was a harmonic memory game that was positively received by our client.


Developing for mobile brought several design issues, but developing for a meditative experience, especially one aimed at children brought a whole host of other difficulties to overcome. The goal of the game is to be a meditative, flow-inducing, relaxing experience, along the way we gained experience in terms of design for relaxation and hope to share that knowledge with people at the IGBL conference.


As Game Designers, we faced our biggest challenge in trying to "Gamify" this app. Meditation and Games are two genres that usually wouldn't intersect, this led to a large amount of exciting opportunities to approach the challenge in a unique manner. We focused on trying to create more of an interactive experience, where users could fidget, make music, and get into a flow state by interacting with our menus. We also decided to create specific mini-games, that would help to introduce all types of players into a flow state.

Next Steps

When we were developing this app we learned that we may have the opportunity to take the project further, hopefully getting more funding and gaining a full time role creating this app alongside the AnimaVenture team. Following the end of the project we successfully secured an innovation voucher to develop the project further and have been working on this since February of 2019.

Guth Eile (Another Voice)

  • Mr. Claudio Visentin, Technological University Dublin
  • Ms. Eibhlin ORiordan, Technological University Dublin
  • Mr. Jamie McCarthy, Technological University Dublin

Title of the game: Guth Eile (Another Voice)

Genre: Single player puzzle game with minor platforming that teaches the Irish sign language.


Target audience:

The target audience for the game would be deaf children, children with deaf siblings (target age of 7 to 13) or relatives and people interested in the Irish sign language or culture.  

Game Design in Short:

Guth Eile is structured as a puzzle game with minor platforming (similar to Limbo and Inside). The short demo illustrates how puzzles would work in the game as well as how the platforming fits the game. At the moment our game focuses on teaching the letters F, I, R, E by using two puzzles that require the player to sign the words 'Fire' and 'Free' in order to progress through the game. We chose these words because they were relevant to the puzzles in the game. Because we are focusing solely on teaching the alphabet and not specific words we thought it would be more important to teach words that made sense in the game. This hopefully creates a more immersive experience while still reinforcing the learning of the ISL alphabet. The first level requires the player to sign letters of the word FIRE, when they do this correctly at each fire pit the fire is lit, and the player can progress further in the game. At the end of the first level the player must sign F-I-R-E and light their torch which is used to get through the cave in the next level. The second level teaches the word FREE; this level is made to reinforce the letters F-R-E that the player has learned before. This is to ensure that the player really knows these letters before the introduction of new letters. When the player signs F-R-E-E they open a gate that frees them from the cave, and they move onto the next level. In the next iteration of the game we will add more levels. The next level that will be added will teach the word WATER. This word has two letters that have been taught before: E-R and will teach three new letters: W-A-T. We will continue to add new words in the game and slowly introduce new letters of the alphabet while continuously reinforcing letters learned in previous levels.


  • Move: WASD or Arrow Keys
  • Jump: Space bar
  • Choose Signs: Mouse Click

Relevance to the conference:

This game was created by students from Technological University Dublin. Our main goal for the game is to promote the learning of Irish sign language to young children between the ages of 7-13. While researching the study of sign language we found that people begin by first learning the alphabet, this is why we chose to focus on teaching of the alphabet in our game. From our games market research, no other majorly popular games are designed with this subject in mind, especially for the Irish sign language. There are some ways in which ISL is taught to children, such as videos and apps but there are no games that are similar to ours on the market. We have talked with people from the deaf and hard of hearing community in Ireland and found that there is a market for a game like Guth Eile. We found that while video games are very popular among children, many children do not enjoy the idea of playing 'educational games'. We hope to create a game that does not feel like you are sitting down to study sign language, but rather sitting down to play a really fun game that just happens to teach sign language as well.

Key objectives for the game:

This game was created for young children who want to learn the basic alphabet of ISL. For example, siblings of children with hearing difficulties, or children who know someone with hearing difficulties. By playing this game children would learn the ISL alphabet which would enable them to communicate with people with hearing difficulties. We also hope that the game will spark an interest in going on to learn more ISL. We wanted to create a game that was fun but still taught children something valuable. Although the game is aimed at children who know members of the deaf and hard of hearing community, we hope that other children with no previous interest in learning ISL would learn by playing this game and therefore make communication more accessible for people with hearing difficulties.

Future Goals:

In the future, we plan to have a full game about 6-8 hours long that teaches the full alphabet following the same formula or platforming and puzzle type presented in the demo. In time we would be able to add in different sign languages such as British Sign Language, American Sign Language and more to make this game accessible to multiple different sign languages. We hope to add an accessibility menu with the ability to change the controls to suit the player, the ability to use normal controllers and modified controllers as well as colour-blind modes, different difficulty levels and other accessibility features. We also would like to port the game to mobile so that it is more easily accessible to play to those without PCs.

Educative Board Game About Economics - 96

  • Mr. Zoran Bogdanović, Secondary School of Economics

96 is an educative board game which simulates economic life. There are eight players in the game: four households, four companies, which alternately trade with each other. Players for its operations receive the same amount of money and different assortment of goods whose quantity is equivalent. There are eight product groups (eggs, water, bread, fruits & vegetables, drinks, meat, milk, coffee). Allowed prices are from 1 to 9 dinars. At the beginning of the game, each player also becomes the owner of two economics entities which they manage - buy required goods and decide about the prices of their services. There are sixteen entities (three hotels, three restaurants, three cafés, three fast-food restaurants, two bakeries, two butchers). The game simulates one business year that contains 96 games, in which every one of eight players, twelve times decides of happenings on the market by drawing the card from the set of 96 cards. Each card brings into play some new requirement. The first set of 48 cards contains a request for use of additional economics entity's service (twelve cards for each economics entity, except bakeries and butchers). Each card specifies the content of the service (combination of nine goods). Allowed prices are up to 99 dinars. The second set of 48 cards with economics requirements is a small guidebook about economics. Each card explains the most important economics fundamentals (money, price, market, demand, supply, inflation...) with their reflection on price changes of goods that are in that game. Market competition between players and their economics entities and their reactions on different economics situations caused by laws and economic policy will result in profit, whose maximization is the ultimate goal of the game, as well as the goal of the real market competition.

Relevance to the conference

The relevance of this game is to show board game-based approach to support motivation, learning, and change in studying economics subjects. It is designed as a fun way of entering the world of economics and business. The game will be developed through new sets of cards to different economics topics - entrepreneurship, marketing, finance.

Target audience:

Elementary schools final classes students and their teachers who could use the game to make lessons more interesting and fun. This game is a way to acquire elementary knowledge about economics which may be missed in elementary school programmes. High school teachers get a different way to motivate students in an educational setting through the use of meaningful, educational game rather than limiting their strategies to being a "talking heads". Anyone looking to have fun with a larger company at different places - home, picnic. There is also the opportunity to refresh economics information and knowledge through the set of cards which will be regularly actualized. The Key goal of the game demo is to introduce the game to relevant conference visitors and to check the potential of the game for learning and motivation and obtain feedback on work. List of the skills that the participants will have acquired after completing the game demo:
  • Teachers and other practitioners will have the opportunity to discover a new idea
  • They will have the opportunity to learn new board game-based skills that they can integrate with their teaching of economics
  • A different, fun way of learning will enable better motivation for students.
  • They could improve their understanding of economic fundamentals throughout the game

Narrative Design For Sustainable Leadership Development In Online Gaming

  • Mr. Sean Carton, Kybolt Ltd.

Causeway is a commercial video game currently in development which explores the potential for online team games to nurture players' leadership skills in an accelerated and sustainable way. The potential for online gaming, and particularly the genre of "lane-pushing games" to contribute to leadership development is huge. A typical lane-pushing game is multiplayer, played online in short sessions (20-60 minutes), and involves two teams with five players each wrestling for victory in a fantasy-themed battle. Rich strategic depth presents unending novel challenges, ensuring players cannot rely too easily on passive shared understanding of the game to guide them to victory. They need to adapt and learn. Players are typically assigned into teams by a matchmaking algorithm based on their percieved skill level, and consequently have continual exposure to new team-mates. Many players compete to earn higher skill ratings, and will invest heavy amounts of time into the game to do so. This can lead to development in many skill areas, such as resource management, situational awareness, learning to take a loss, etc. Despite being team-based games, lane-pushing game players tend not leverage or learn leadership skills in their pursuit of victory. The opportunity exists, but in practice establishing leadership is highly inefficient. This can be due to time constraints, limited communication tools, language barriers, differing "expert opinions" from players, poor methods of conflict resolution, and having none of the team-building exercises, motivational speaking, or coaching that would be available in a professional environment. In fact, lane-pushing games (which are played exclusively online, and have a young, male-leaning player base) are notorious for poor player behaviour. Most players learn to stick to playing with friends, or only engage minimally with their team lest they provoke trouble. Our objective with Causeway is to take the highly successful formula that drives this genre, and:
  1. Design in-game incentives and mechanics that encourage and reward actively taking up leadership roles.
  2. Develop an ecosystem around and outside of the game which promotes positivity and everyone's growth and leaders and team players.
  3. Provide narrative structure which improve receptiveness to and comprehension of leadership, as applicable in-game and beyond.
Combined, we believe these strands can produce a rich environment where players can test and develop their leadership ability on a continual basis, informed by the real metric of wins and losses, and supported by a community that recognises the value of peer learning and personal growth. At iGBL 2018, we described our approach to game design and how incentives can create leadership-positive team dynamics. This year we will discuss elements of the game's narrative design, and how we approach the constraints of being a live-service game in a genre where narrative delivery is not typically considered as being endemic to gameplay. Furthermore, we will detail how the narrative design is directed to improve receptiveness to concepts like leadership among players who can be distant from the idea of skill development or engaging positively with other players. We look forward to sharing and advancing these ideas with you!

Maths Duel

  • Dr Pierpaolo Dondio, Technological University Dublin
  • Ms Mariana Rocha, Technological University Dublin

Maths Duel is a card game (both digital and non-digital) stimulating numerical, strategical and problem-solving skills, including basic maths operations, tables, multiplies, inequalities, ordering, measures, rounding, currencies, algebra, conversions and fractions. It is an educational game designed for pupils aged 7 -13, and it is aligned with the Maths curriculum of 2nd to 6th class primary school and 1st year secondary school. Besides its educational purpose, Maths Duel has been proved to be a highly enjoyable game that can be played by a broader audience of young and adults. Currently, the game has been tested by 20 beta users that played about 800 games.

The core idea of the game is that players have a deck of cards containing number cards and spell cards, which are special cards modifying the value and abilities of number cards. Aim of the game is to capture the other player's number cards using their maths abilities and be the first to reach a target amount of points. The basic rule of the game is that a number captures a number with the same value. Some number cards have special abilities that allow them to capture a group of numbers in one move, or capture numbers with a value different from their own. Spell cards can also modify the value of number cards, and also capture, create or give extra abilities to them. There are more than 100 spells for millions of different combinations, tricks and strategies! Each card is mapped to a maths concept. For instance, the card "capture all numbers in the table of" helps the player applying the notion of multiples. By introducing different number and spell cards in the deck, it is possible to map different maths curriculum components. For instance, to practice fractions, number cards representing fractions or decimal numbers can be used. A player could use a card "1.5" to capture the fraction card "1 ½". Units of measurement can be added to cards to teach conversions, length, capacity or currencies. For instance, a player can multiply by two its "50 cents" card to obtain "100 cents" and capture an opponent's "1 euro" card. The above card-based mechanism represents an advantage of Maths Duel over current games since it makes the game flexible and able to cover a large set of curriculum content. This flexibility makes the game a valuable tool for classroom learning as well, as the teacher can adapt it to the content required. Players have also the possibility to build their own deck of cards and implement their personal strategies.

Maths Duel addresses some of the limitations of today's educational games, namely the lack of proper pedagogical design, limited lifespan and difficulty in implementing it in the classroom. Maths Duel has been designed to stimulate strategic thinking, collaboration and creativity rather than repetition. It is fast to be deployed for classroom usage, it can cover much more curriculum content than other games due to its flexible game mechanic. The electronic version of the game logs every move players are doing, data that could be used to support, monitor, adapt and personalize the game experience. A match of Maths Duel is about 5 to 10 minutes long, depending on the game mode and rules, and it can be played versus a computer player or another human player. In the tournament mode, a single tournament can accommodate up to 128 players.

Learning Chinese With Classroom-based Multiplayer Minigames

  • Dr. Sam Redfern, NUI Galway
  • Mr. Richard McCurry, Independent

Newby Chinese is a web-based classroom tool which teaches beginner's Mandarin Chinese through use of interactive multimedia and a number of competitive single- and multi-player minigames. Learning sessions can vary in length from 10-60+ minutes and are led by a facilitator who is ideally (but not necessarily) competent in Chinese. The system works well with anything from 2 to 30+ students. In this session the audience will log in on their phones and play the game together. Within 5 minutes they will be constructing their first Chinese sentences and competing in multiplayer minigames. To participate, it is recommended that audience members have Firefox or Chrome on their phone or tablet. The core content of our system teaches students to read and write Chinese words which are provided in logical groupings. Words are introduced through short, memorable, humorous mini-stories in which the Chinese words are depicted as creatures interacting with each other, and in which the sound and intonation of the Chinese words are incorporated into the stories. The mini-story is further condensed into a micro- animation, and then whenever the word is used in the various mini-games described below, the animation and sound are repeated. The simultaneous use of story, animation and sound support each other and provides a very powerful system for memorization/recognition of word shapes and sounds. A number of elements of the system incorporate single-player and multi-player gamification techniques, in order to maximise the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation of students:
  • Word finding/tracing and sentence finding/building games, in which good performance causes a student's avatar to run faster in a race against his/her classmates.
  • Translations (English to Chinese and Chinese to English) - each student's work is displayed on the facilitator's main screen, for class discussion. The teacher assigns grades to the best student work, and these best students compete in a multiplayer 'throw the ball' game to earn extra points.
  • Chinese handwriting - each student's handwritten words and sentences are displayed on the facilitator's main screen, for class discussion. The teacher assigns grades to the best student work.
  • Multiplayer 'maze search' game (which could be described as a mix between Pacman and musical chairs) in which students race to collect Chinese letters.

Once Upon A Maths: Situated Learning Game For Mathematics Education

  • Ms Mariana Rocha, Technological University Dublin
  • Dr Pierpaolo Dondio, Technological University Dublin

This abstract describes "Once Upon of Maths", a point-and-click adventure game developed for Mathematics education. The game follows the design principles of the situated learning environments, focusing on the development of activities that show how knowledge can solve real-life problems. In our game, this is achieved through a narrative based on the history of Mathematics. When used as a teaching tool, Maths history allows kids to experience the fact that Mathematics is in constant development, and that they are part of this evolution. Once Upon a Maths is an interactive story about a protagonist character (the player) that wants to become a master explorer of Mathematics. To do that, the player has to use Maths knowledge to solve problems from different times in the human history. Storytelling and exploration are essential elements of this type of game, and it involves a lot of puzzle solving and conceptual challenges. The game is divided in phases. In each one, the player meets a character that tells how Mathematics was used on his/her time to overcome daily life problems. Then, the character invites the player to solve a challenge using the concepts learned. For instance, the player can visit Nebamun, a sculptor from the Ancient Egyptian, and learn how his people used parts of the human body as units of measurement. Later, Nebamun invites the player to use the Ancient Egyptian measurement system and check the height of a number of decorative vases. After measuring the vases and registering the results, the player is invited to order the vases by size. If the player succeeds, Nebamun promises to give one of the vases as a reward, besides an amount of coins. Both vase and coins can be used by the player in future game activities. Both problem and solution are integrated to the narrative provided by the character, and the student must reflect about it instead of delivering a memorized answer. The novelty of Once Upon of Maths is to show the player that mathematics concepts are used to solve everyday life problems since Ancient societies. This strategy is an attempt to overcome the massive amount of drill and practice videogames that leads the player to memorize Maths content without reflecting about them. The game development is based on stakeholders needs emerged from our previous researches, besides situated learning guidelines suggested in the literature. Once Upon of Maths is a web-based game, designed using tools such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP and MySQL. The prototype of the game involves 12 activities and we estimate it takes around 60 minutes to play the whole game. Students at the end of primary school (11-12 years old) are the target audience of this game. The game is single player but we plan to implement a collaborative playing system in the future. A gameplay video can be accessed through the following link: http://bit.ly/onceuponamaths

Aliens And Astronauts - A Diversity Movement Game

  • Mr. Ruben Hamilius, Partnerships for Diversity Movement

Target Audience

Any organisation/individual who wants to (further) develop understanding around cultural difference, understanding and sensitivity.


Card-based, role-playing game (non-digital).

Key Objectives

  • To teach that when in doubt or ignorant, don't assume or avoid. Ask the difficult question!
  • To understand that customs can differ with every culture, and we don't always need to understand. We can just accept these.
  • To show that different people have diverse strengths. When we treat people with respect and don't exclude them, we can benefit from this.
  • To show that people like to contribute and help but they need to feel included and accepted for who they are. For them to feel this way, we don't always need to get it right.

Relevance to the Conference: Cultural Diversity


The Irish workforce today reflects a diversity of cultures. We, at Diversity Movement, believe that diversity without inclusion is not enough and a genuine behaviour of true inclusion is crucial to make diversity work. Our experiential game Aliens and Astronauts is a card-based, role-playing activity set in an alternative reality, which means participants can discuss diversity & inclusion in a safe, non-bias, and immersive situation. The year is 2050. Panic on board the spaceship! A meteorite has struck and the damage is devastating. Astronauts must split into teams to gather repair parts. However, these parts must be obtained from the aliens, an intergalactic race equipped with advanced technology. The astronauts must get to know the different customs, cultures and habits of the aliens. Only in this way will they be able to treat the aliens with the needed respect in order to convince them to help fix the spaceship in time. This simple and fun game consists of three parts:

1) Roles and Instructions

  • Participants are divided into either astronauts or aliens.
  • Every alien team has a secret object they would like to receive from the astronauts in exchange for their technology. (Green card)
  • Every alien team will assume a certain culture with specific customs and a specific way they look. (Purple Card)
  • Every alien team will only answer questions about the secret object if the questions are asked in a respectful way. (Blue Card)
  • Astronauts are equipped with an overview of all possible "Cultures" and "Objects".

2) Game Rounds

  • Astronauts will visit every alien team to explore and discover different alien customs and cultures. There is a fixed amount of time (which the facilitator oversees) with each alien team.
  • Astronauts will have to ask for the aliens for help respectfully in order to enlist their help and save the spaceship.

3) Questions and Debrief.

  • After the activity, there is time dedicated to feedback and learning.
  • Through questions, sharing of experiences, and conversation, participants discuss insights, key learning points and next steps.

Video Link from the Game


How the game has been received

Aliens and Astronauts has been well received by clients ranging from corporations, public institutions to secondary schools because it creates a shared vocabulary to talk about cultural diversity within a safe space. In the case of MSD Belgium for example, there are over 15 nationalities and 24 ethnicities, so diversity is built into the very fabric of their workforce. In keeping with the organization's commitment to fostering an inclusive environment, the MSD Belgium team spearheaded the diversity recruitment program, and Aliens and Astronauts became a standard part of the onboarding process. Participants praised the program for it's memorable and creative approach to diversity and inclusion. Operator Kevin Kerkhofs said 'It was a nice way to talk about diversity. The use of the masks and the space creatures ensures that the session stays in our memories', whilst Operations Coach Andy Nordnes said "It was a very interactive activity that made the vision of the company very clear. It also gives us a framework for future issues."


Tangential Learning Through Game-based Exercises

  • Mr. Basil Lim, Dublin Institute of Technology
  • Mr. John P Healy, Technical University Dublin

The tangential learning workshop is aimed at participants who have or will teach design skills, including social awareness, critical thinking, comparative assessments and systems analysis. The workshop examines how tangential skills and analyses can be performed upon undertaking an exercise in the form of a game, and comparing the exercise with a separate game design process.
This workshop is practitioner focused, and is intended to provide learning through the use of incidental skills used throughout the exercise. So called Megagames, or large-number party games are often used as an icebreaker tool to introduce a large group of people. By modifying some of the rules, it is possible to introduce the element of tangential learning of alternate concepts. It has been posited that learners often display deeper understanding and appreciation of subject matter when they perceive an exercise to be entertaining. (Mozelius, Fagerstrom and Soderquist 2017)
This exercise is designed to be run alongside traditional game-based learning exercises. In current incarnation, it involves a modified game of "Assassin", a game for which rules were written by Steve Jackson in 1982. The modification for this exercise introduces team-based factions, with powers. While initially seeming to be a simple modification, the powers added to the game are designed to simulate Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games. MOBA games have a large playerbase, with the top games attracting tens of millions of concurrent players daily. A core tenet of MOBA games are a large stable of playable characters, each with unique powers and abilities. Designing for such a game can be a challenge, in no large part due to player-led exploitation of rules or imbalances, that are not immediately apparent when utilising traditional spreadsheet balancing, as well as a large number of interacting mechanics. This exercise simulates various MOBA characters, with each team member representing a traditional HP or health point, and the team as a whole representing a character. It has been run successfully in the past, making apparent to learners the difficulty of mechanical balancing and its often unpredictable effect on player dynamics. Additionally, it has highlighted the difficulty of designing mechanics that involve interaction between multiple entities. Further, it has had an added social awareness and critical thinking benefit in terms of learner understanding. This is due to the necessity in the game to communicate and devise strategies and alliances. When followed by a reflective learning session, the exercise has been previously successful in highlighting MOBA-specific design requirements.
The exercise material requirements are simple: Flipboard paper and marker, a presentation laptop for the workshop leader. This exercise has previously been deployed in the classroom, among third level undergraduate students.

A Whole School Approach To Online Safety

  • Ms. Stella James, Gooseberry Planet

Target audience

Primary, Secondary Prep and SEN schools Headteachers, Safeguarding leads and ICT Leads

Workshop Description

Gooseberry Planet is passionate about raising the profile of E-Safety in schools and about engaging and educating the whole school community. Parents and teachers have a combined responsibility to protect and prepare children for a life online. During the workshop, we will explore:
  • How schools should approach online safety
  • What are the requirements that a school should meet? Best Practices within schools and current issues
  • How to you manage staff use of Social Media
  • Positive behaviour starts with me
  • Is what your school delivering meaningful lessons

Creating 3D Games With Unity

  • Dr. Patrick Felicia, Waterford Institute of Technology

Description In this workshop, the attendees will be introduced to Unity and will learn how to simply create 3D environments with this software; along the way, they will learn to:

  • Create indoors environments from scratch (e.g., walls, ceiling).
  • Use primitive shapes and apply color and textures.
  • Create outdoors environments from scratch (i.e., hills, water, grass, etc).
  • Add and control 3D characters.
  • Add Non-Player Characters with artificial intelligence.
  • No coding knowledge is required.
  • Hands-on session with step-by-step instructions.
  • Attendees may install Unity (unity3d.com/download) on their computer prior to attending the workshop.
  • Duration of the workshop: 1.5 hours.