Game-Based Learning, Gamification in Education and Serious Games 2023

A special issue of Computers (ISSN 2073-431X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2024 | Viewed by 21959

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto, Instituto Politécnico do Porto, 4200-072 Porto, Portugal
Interests: learning technologies; game-based learning; serious games; e-learning; multimedia
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Thessaly, 38333 Volos, Greece
Interests: serious games; game-based learning; assessment and evaluation; design thinking
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
INESC TEC – Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores, Tecnologia e Ciência, ISCE Douro – Instituto Superior de Ciências da Educação do Douro, Universidade Aberta, 1269-001 Lisboa, Portugal
Interests: serious games; game-based learning; assessment and evaluation; virtual reality

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Video games are highly immersive applications that keep the players in a state of focused motivation as they are always looking to overcome challenges and reach goals. Video games have a huge impact on many social, cultural, and economic aspects of our society, far beyond their intrinsic entertainment value—new forms of interaction and communication in online multiplayer games, the millions of viewers of professional e-sport competitions, the huge following of gaming streamers on social channels such as Twitch, the communities of players that are formed around a specific title, and the size of the industry itself are just some examples of the impact of games in modern life.

Serious games explore the impact of games and the inherent motivation and immersion of players for other “serious” objectives, such as education, marketing, social awareness, health and care, research, etc. Education and training are the areas with more (successful) examples of the use of serious games (designated more commonly as educational games). The term game-based learning refers precisely to pedagogical processes based on the design, development, and use of games created to accomplish specific learning objectives. Gamification, understood as the application of game principles, elements and mechanics in other non-game contexts has also been extensively used in education to reinforce the motivation of learners.

This Special Issue aims to present and discuss new advances in game-based learning, gamification in education and serious games in general that can enhance the effectiveness and outreach of education, advertising, social awareness, health, policies, etc. We invite publications referring to new scientific approaches, results from experiments, and real-life applications. Topics of interest include but are not limited to the following:

  • Serious games;
  • Game-based learning;
  • Gamification in education;
  • Advergames;
  • Exergames;
  • Pervasive games;
  • Awareness-raising games;
  • Models and practices with serious games;
  • New technologies for serious games:
  • Assessment and evaluation of serious games;
  • The psychology of serious games;
  • Social and collaborative games;
  • Security and confidentiality in serious games;
  • Case studies in serious games.

Dr. Carlos Vaz de Carvalho
Dr. Hariklia Tsalapatas
Prof. Dr. Ricardo Baptista
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Computers is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • game-based learning
  • gamification
  • serious games
  • educational games

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

34 pages, 18856 KiB  
Article
Creating Location-Based Augmented Reality Games and Immersive Experiences for Touristic Destination Marketing and Education
by Alexandros Kleftodimos, Athanasios Evagelou, Stefanos Gkoutzios, Maria Matsiola, Michalis Vrigkas, Anastasia Yannacopoulou, Amalia Triantafillidou and Georgios Lappas
Computers 2023, 12(11), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/computers12110227 - 7 Nov 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2920
Abstract
The aim of this paper is to present an approach that utilizes several mixed reality technologies for touristic promotion and education. More specifically, mixed reality applications and games were created to promote the mountainous areas of Western Macedonia, Greece, and to educate visitors [...] Read more.
The aim of this paper is to present an approach that utilizes several mixed reality technologies for touristic promotion and education. More specifically, mixed reality applications and games were created to promote the mountainous areas of Western Macedonia, Greece, and to educate visitors on various aspects of these destinations, such as their history and cultural heritage. Location-based augmented reality (AR) games were designed to guide the users to visit and explore the destinations, get informed, gather points and prizes by accomplishing specific tasks, and meet virtual characters that tell stories. Furthermore, an immersive lab was established to inform visitors about the region of interest through mixed reality content designed for entertainment and education. The lab visitors can experience content and games through virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) wearable devices. Likewise, 3D content can be viewed through special stereoscopic monitors. An evaluation of the lab experience was performed with a sample of 82 visitors who positively evaluated features of the immersive experience such as the level of satisfaction, immersion, educational usefulness, the intention to visit the mountainous destinations of Western Macedonia, intention to revisit the lab, and intention to recommend the experience to others. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game-Based Learning, Gamification in Education and Serious Games 2023)
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19 pages, 3321 KiB  
Article
Prospective ICT Teachers’ Perceptions on the Didactic Utility and Player Experience of a Serious Game for Safe Internet Use and Digital Intelligence Competencies
by Aikaterini Georgiadou and Stelios Xinogalos
Computers 2023, 12(10), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/computers12100193 - 26 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1120
Abstract
Nowadays, young students spend a lot of time playing video games and browsing on the Internet. Using the Internet has become even more widespread for young students due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, which resulted in transferring several educational activities online. The Internet [...] Read more.
Nowadays, young students spend a lot of time playing video games and browsing on the Internet. Using the Internet has become even more widespread for young students due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, which resulted in transferring several educational activities online. The Internet and generally the digital world that we live in offers many possibilities in our everyday lives, but it also entails dangers such as cyber threats and unethical use of personal data. It is widely accepted that everyone, especially young students, should be educated on safe Internet use and should be supported on acquiring other Digital Intelligence (DI) competencies as well. Towards this goal, we present the design and evaluation of the game “Follow the Paws” that aims to educate primary school students on safe Internet use and support them in acquiring relevant DI competencies. The game was designed taking into account relevant literature and was evaluated by 213 prospective Information and Communication Technology (ICT) teachers. The participants playtested the game and evaluated it through an online questionnaire that was based on validated instruments proposed in the literature. The participants evaluated positively to the didactic utility of the game and the anticipated player experience, while they highlighted several improvements to be taken into consideration in a future revision of the game. Based on the results, proposals for further research are presented, including DI competencies detection through the game and evaluating its actual effectiveness in the classroom. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game-Based Learning, Gamification in Education and Serious Games 2023)
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20 pages, 2593 KiB  
Article
Evaluating Video Games as Tools for Education on Fake News and Misinformation
by Ruth S. Contreras-Espinosa and Jose Luis Eguia-Gomez
Computers 2023, 12(9), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/computers12090188 - 21 Sep 2023
Viewed by 2269
Abstract
Despite access to reliable information being essential for equal opportunities in our society, current school curricula only include some notions about media literacy in a limited context. Thus, it is necessary to create scenarios for reflection on and a well-founded analysis of misinformation. [...] Read more.
Despite access to reliable information being essential for equal opportunities in our society, current school curricula only include some notions about media literacy in a limited context. Thus, it is necessary to create scenarios for reflection on and a well-founded analysis of misinformation. Video games may be an effective approach to foster these skills and can seamlessly integrate learning content into their design, enabling achieving multiple learning outcomes and building competencies that can transfer to real-life situations. We analyzed 24 video games about media literacy by studying their content, design, and characteristics that may affect their implementation in learning settings. Even though not all learning outcomes considered were equally addressed, the results show that media literacy video games currently on the market could be used as effective tools to achieve critical learning goals and may allow users to understand, practice, and implement skills to fight misinformation, regardless of their complexity in terms of game mechanics. However, we detected that certain characteristics of video games may affect their implementation in learning environments, such as their availability, estimated playing time, approach, or whether they include real or fictional worlds, variables that should be further considered by both developers and educators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game-Based Learning, Gamification in Education and Serious Games 2023)
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22 pages, 1783 KiB  
Article
FGPE+: The Mobile FGPE Environment and the Pareto-Optimized Gamified Programming Exercise Selection Model—An Empirical Evaluation
by Rytis Maskeliūnas, Robertas Damaševičius, Tomas Blažauskas, Jakub Swacha, Ricardo Queirós and José Carlos Paiva
Computers 2023, 12(7), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/computers12070144 - 21 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3026
Abstract
This paper is poised to inform educators, policy makers and software developers about the untapped potential of PWAs in creating engaging, effective, and personalized learning experiences in the field of programming education. We aim to address a significant gap in the current understanding [...] Read more.
This paper is poised to inform educators, policy makers and software developers about the untapped potential of PWAs in creating engaging, effective, and personalized learning experiences in the field of programming education. We aim to address a significant gap in the current understanding of the potential advantages and underutilisation of Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) within the education sector, specifically for programming education. Despite the evident lack of recognition of PWAs in this arena, we present an innovative approach through the Framework for Gamification in Programming Education (FGPE). This framework takes advantage of the ubiquity and ease of use of PWAs, integrating it with a Pareto optimized gamified programming exercise selection model ensuring personalized adaptive learning experiences by dynamically adjusting the complexity, content, and feedback of gamified exercises in response to the learners’ ongoing progress and performance. This study examines the mobile user experience of the FGPE PLE in different countries, namely Poland and Lithuania, providing novel insights into its applicability and efficiency. Our results demonstrate that combining advanced adaptive algorithms with the convenience of mobile technology has the potential to revolutionize programming education. The FGPE+ course group outperformed the Moodle group in terms of the average perceived knowledge (M = 4.11, SD = 0.51). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game-Based Learning, Gamification in Education and Serious Games 2023)
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20 pages, 985 KiB  
Article
Adaptive Gamification in Science Education: An Analysis of the Impact of Implementation and Adapted Game Elements on Students’ Motivation
by Alkinoos-Ioannis Zourmpakis, Michail Kalogiannakis and Stamatios Papadakis
Computers 2023, 12(7), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/computers12070143 - 18 Jul 2023
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 6786
Abstract
In recent years, gamification has captured the attention of researchers and educators, particularly in science education, where students often express negative emotions. Gamification methods aim to motivate learners to participate in learning by incorporating intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors. However, the effectiveness of [...] Read more.
In recent years, gamification has captured the attention of researchers and educators, particularly in science education, where students often express negative emotions. Gamification methods aim to motivate learners to participate in learning by incorporating intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors. However, the effectiveness of gamification has yielded varying outcomes, prompting researchers to explore adaptive gamification as an alternative approach. Nevertheless, there needs to be more research on adaptive gamification approaches, particularly concerning motivation, which is the primary objective of gamification. In this study, we developed and tested an adaptive gamification environment based on specific motivational and psychological frameworks. This environment incorporated adaptive criteria, learning strategies, gaming elements, and all crucial aspects of science education for six classes of third-grade students in primary school. We employed a quantitative approach to gain insights into the motivational impact on students and their perception of the adaptive gamification application. We aimed to understand how each game element experienced by students influenced their motivation. Based on our findings, students were more motivated to learn science when using an adaptive gamification environment. Additionally, the adaptation process was largely successful, as students generally liked the game elements integrated into their lessons, indicating the effectiveness of the multidimensional framework employed in enhancing students’ experiences and engagement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game-Based Learning, Gamification in Education and Serious Games 2023)
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22 pages, 3776 KiB  
Article
Preschool Children’s Metaphoric Perceptions of Digital Games: A Comparison between Regions
by Elçin Yazıcı Arıcı, Michail Kalogiannakis and Stamatios Papadakis
Computers 2023, 12(7), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/computers12070138 - 11 Jul 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1746
Abstract
Preschoolers now play digital games on touch screens, e-toys and electronic learning systems. Although digital games have an important place in children’s lives, there needs to be more information about the meanings they attach to games. In this context, the research aims to [...] Read more.
Preschoolers now play digital games on touch screens, e-toys and electronic learning systems. Although digital games have an important place in children’s lives, there needs to be more information about the meanings they attach to games. In this context, the research aims to determine the perceptions of preschool children studying in different regions of Turkey regarding digital games with the help of metaphors. Four hundred twenty-one preschool children studying in seven regions of Turkey participated in the research. The data were collected through the “Digital Game Metaphor Form” to determine children’s perceptions of digital games and through “Drawing and Visualization”, which comprises the symbolic pictures children draw of their feelings and thoughts. Phenomenology, a qualitative research model, was used in this study. The data were analyzed using the content analysis method. When the data were evaluated, the children had produced 421 metaphors collected in the following seven categories: “Nature Images, Technology Images, Fantasy/Supernatural Images, Education Images, Affective/Motivational Images, Struggle Images, and Value Images”. When evaluated based on regions, the Black Sea Region ranked first in the “Fantasy/Supernatural Images and Affective/Motivational Images” categories. In contrast, the Central Anatolia Region ranked first in the “Technology Images and Education Images” categories, and the Marmara Region ranked first in the “Nature Images and Value Images” categories. In addition, it was determined that the Southeast Anatolia Region ranks first in the “Struggle Images” category. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game-Based Learning, Gamification in Education and Serious Games 2023)
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15 pages, 954 KiB  
Article
Stealth Literacy Assessments via Educational Games
by Ying Fang, Tong Li, Linh Huynh, Katerina Christhilf, Rod D. Roscoe and Danielle S. McNamara
Computers 2023, 12(7), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/computers12070130 - 25 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1735
Abstract
Literacy assessment is essential for effective literacy instruction and training. However, traditional paper-based literacy assessments are typically decontextualized and may cause stress and anxiety for test takers. In contrast, serious games and game environments allow for the assessment of literacy in more authentic [...] Read more.
Literacy assessment is essential for effective literacy instruction and training. However, traditional paper-based literacy assessments are typically decontextualized and may cause stress and anxiety for test takers. In contrast, serious games and game environments allow for the assessment of literacy in more authentic and engaging ways, which has some potential to increase the assessment’s validity and reliability. The primary objective of this study is to examine the feasibility of a novel approach for stealthily assessing literacy skills using games in an intelligent tutoring system (ITS) designed for reading comprehension strategy training. We investigated the degree to which learners’ game performance and enjoyment predicted their scores on standardized reading tests. Amazon Mechanical Turk participants (n = 211) played three games in iSTART and self-reported their level of game enjoyment after each game. Participants also completed the Gates–MacGinitie Reading Test (GMRT), which includes vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension measures. The results indicated that participants’ performance in each game as well as the combined performance across all three games predicted their literacy skills. However, the relations between game enjoyment and literacy skills varied across games. These findings suggest the potential of leveraging serious games to assess students’ literacy skills and improve the adaptivity of game-based learning environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game-Based Learning, Gamification in Education and Serious Games 2023)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: mproving the Learning Outcomes of an Engineering Subject through Gamification in Higher Education: A Longitudinal Research Study.
Authors: Josep Petchamé
Affiliation: La Salle - Ramon Llull University, Barcelona
Abstract: The continuous improvement of student learning outcomes is a relevant element to be pursued in all the educational stages, including Higher Education. Various tactics can be followed to achieve the aforementioned goal and among the different mechanisms, gamification has been shown to have positive effects on engagement and also can drive to the improvement of the learning outcomes. The aim of this research work is to analyze the effects on the learning outcomes of students in an engineering subject since the introduction of gamification techniques. Once succinctly presented how the introduction of different gamification tools that were implemented in an engineering subject was carried out, various outcomes are analyzed. The results presented in this study show a remarkably positive evolution in various specific elements, which prompted to con-tinue gamifying these elements throughout the different academic courses analyzed in this work.

Title: Metaphoric Perceptions of Preschool Children on Digital Games: A Comparison between Regions
Authors: Assoc. Prof. Elçin Yazıcı Arıcı; Assoc. Prof. Michail Kalogiannakis; Postdoc. Stamatios Papadakis
Affiliation: Assoc. Prof. Elçin Yazıcı Arıcı Department of Preschool Education, University of Duzce, Duzce, Türkiye, [email protected] ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6679-4793 Assoc. Prof. Michail Kalogiannakis Department of Preschool Education, University of Crete, Rethymnon, Greece, [email protected], ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9124-2245 Postdoc. Stamatios Papadakis Department of Preschool Education, University of Crete, Rethymnon, Greece/[email protected] ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3184-1147
Abstract: Preschoolers now play a wide variety of digital games found on big screens, electronic learning systems, and electronic toys. Although digital games have become an integral part of children's lives, there needs to be more information about what kind of meanings they attach to games. Therefore, there is a need to look at preschool children's perceptions of digital games. In this context, the research aims to determine the perceptions of preschool children studying in different regions of Turkey regarding digital games with the help of metaphors. 421 preschool children studying in 7 regions of Turkey participated in the research. The data were collected through the "Digital Game Metaphor Form" to determine children's perceptions of digital games, and "Drawing and Visualization", the pictures that children draw symbolically of their feelings and thoughts. In this study, which was prepared according to the qualitative research model, phenomenology was used. The analysis of the data was carried out with the content analysis method. When the data were evaluated, it was seen that the children produced a total of 421 metaphors. These produced metaphors were collected in 7 different categories: "Nature Images, Technology Images, Fantasy/Supernatural Images, Education Images, Affective/Motivational Images, Struggle Images, and Value Images". It has been determined that children develop metaphors in the category of "Nature Images" the most and "Value Images" the least. When evaluated based on regions, the Black Sea Region ranked first in the "Fantasy/Supernatural Images and Affective/Motivational Images" categories, while the Central Anatolia Region ranked first in the "Technology Images and Education Images" categories, and the Marmara Region ranked first in the "Nature Images and Value Images" categories. In addition, it has been determined that the Southeast Anatolia Region ranks first in the "Struggle Images" category. As a result, it was determined that the students expressed the digital game from different perspectives through metaphors.

Title: Creating Location-Based AR Games and Immersive Experiences for touristic destination marketing and Education
Authors: Alexandros Kleftodimos; Michalis Vrigkas; Stefanos Goutsios; Anastasia Giannakopoulou; Maria Matsiola; Amalia Triantafyllidou; Georgios Lappas; Athanasios Evagelou
Affiliation: Department of Communication and Digital Media, University of Western Macedonia, Greece Center for Education for the Environment and Sustainability Kastoria, Greece
Abstract: Augmented reality is being increasingly used in many fields for research as well as commercial purposes. Amongst these fields is tourism, where augmented reality is used to enhance the touristic experience and educate visitors through applications that combine the promotion of destinations with education and entertainment. This study aims to present an approach for touristic promotion and education through location-based AR games and other immersive technologies. The initiative concerns mountainous areas in the region of Western Macedonia, Greece, that could benefit from visitor increase as well as from citizens that are educated about the history and the cultural heritage of the places. For this initiative, location-based AR games have been developed. The applications guide the users to visit and explore places of interest in the region, receive educational information about these places, and gather points and virtual objects by accomplishing tasks. The price of these scavenger hunt games is to win a visit to an immersive lab where the winners get the chance to experience immersive content through 3D, Virtual, and Augmented Reality devices related to the region’s destinations.

Title: Instructional Design of a Gamification System: A Design-based Research
Authors: ALBERTO GONZÁLEZ FERNÁNDEZ; MARÍA ROSA FERNÁNDEZ SÁNCHEZ; Francisco Ignacio Revuelta Domínguez
Affiliation: Universidad de Extremadura, Spain
Abstract: This manuscript describes the process of developing a gamification system, based on the instructional design model of the Pyramid of Gamification Elements or the DMC Pyramid (Dynamics, Mechanics and Components), for its implementation in the Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education, from the Faculty of Teacher Training of the University of Extremadura. For this purpose, a Design-Based Research (DBR) was carried out, establishing four iterations of research during four consecutive academic years (2017/2018, 2018/2019, 2019/2020, 2020/2021), in order to determine which gamification elements have an impact on student’s motivation and educational engagement. As a result, it has been possible to determine the suitability of the introduction of gamified systems in the context of Higher Education through motivational and attentional indicators derived from the students' perception. A total of 241 students, from the Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education, participated in the research process.

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