Game-Based Learning, Gamification in Education and Serious Games

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2021) | Viewed by 47600

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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
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Guest Editor
FEUP Faculdade de Engenharia, Universidade do Porto, 4200-465 Porto, Portugal
Interests: computer graphics; digital games; gamification; geospatial systems
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Video games have become one of the predominant forms of entertainment but have also impacted many other social and cultural aspects of our society. The new forms of interaction and communication in online multiplayer games, the millions of viewers of e-sports professional competitions, the huge following of gaming streamers through channels like Twitch, and the communities of players that are formed around a specific title, are just some examples of the impact of games in everyday life today.

Serious games try more and more to explore the impact of games and the inherent motivation and immersion of players for other objectives, be they education, marketing, social awareness, health and care, etc. Education is the area with more (successful) examples of use of serious games (therefore leading to the game-based learning term, which focuses on the development of games that are designed over specific learning objectives). Educational contexts can also benefit from the use of game mechanics and principles through gamification processes to reinforce the motivation of learners.

The aim of this Special Issue is to present and discuss new advances in game-based learning and gamification in education and serious games in general that can enhance the effectiveness and outreach of education, advertising, social awareness, health, policies, etc.

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.
Prof. Carlos Vaz de Carvalho
Prof. António Coelho
Guest Editors

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Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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4 pages, 176 KiB  
Editorial
Game-Based Learning, Gamification in Education and Serious Games
by Carlos Vaz de Carvalho and Antonio Coelho
Computers 2022, 11(3), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/computers11030036 - 4 Mar 2022
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 6348
Abstract
Video games have become one of the predominant forms of entertainment in our society, but they have also impacted many other of its social and cultural aspects [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game-Based Learning, Gamification in Education and Serious Games)

Research

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14 pages, 4395 KiB  
Article
Developing Physics Experiments Using Augmented Reality Game-Based Learning Approach: A Pilot Study in Primary School
by Maria Zafeiropoulou, Christina Volioti, Euclid Keramopoulos and Theodosios Sapounidis
Computers 2021, 10(10), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/computers10100126 - 11 Oct 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3679
Abstract
The augmented reality game-based learning (ARGBL) approach is an advantageous pathway for the development and enhancement of teaching and learning processes. To this end, this paper presents the design and development of an ARGBL application for the implementation of physics experiments in the [...] Read more.
The augmented reality game-based learning (ARGBL) approach is an advantageous pathway for the development and enhancement of teaching and learning processes. To this end, this paper presents the design and development of an ARGBL application for the implementation of physics experiments in the fifth grade of a Greek primary school. The purpose of the ARGBL system is twofold: to educate and entertain. For this reason, a treasure hunt game was implemented, which allows students to interact with a digital world and to manipulate virtual objects with the use of an augmented reality (AR) device. Then, according to the instructions, students have to collect all the materials to conduct the AR educational experiment. Overall, the evaluation of the system’s usability by 17 users (both students and teachers) was very promising, indicating that the ARGBL application has the potential to be an easy-to-use educational tool for improving not only the teaching of physics experiments in primary school but also the learning process, by positively affecting the students’ motivation and engagement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game-Based Learning, Gamification in Education and Serious Games)
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11 pages, 2113 KiB  
Article
Developing Emotional Intelligence with a Game: The League of Emotions Learners Approach
by Jaione Santos, Triinu Jesmin, Antonio Martis, Michelle Maunder, Sandra Cruz, Carolina Novo, Hannah Schiff, Pedro Bessa, Ricardo Costa and Carlos Vaz de Carvalho
Computers 2021, 10(8), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/computers10080097 - 10 Aug 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 4001
Abstract
Being able to understand, express, and communicate emotions is widely recognized as a fundamental competence. For the younger generation entering the professional market, this is particularly relevant as, in this context, emotions are managed and communicated in ways (and channels) that are different [...] Read more.
Being able to understand, express, and communicate emotions is widely recognized as a fundamental competence. For the younger generation entering the professional market, this is particularly relevant as, in this context, emotions are managed and communicated in ways (and channels) that are different from what they are used to and that can easily lead to misunderstandings. Therefore, it is important to analyze how young people deal with, understand, and interpret emotions, particularly in the context of a professional career where the ability to dialogue with different people and how to get around problems in a healthy and resilient way is essential. This analysis will allow one to design and create tools that allow the younger generation to improve their emotional intelligence and competence. This article introduces the League of Emotions Learners (LoEL) project, an innovative initiative that, through a game app, develops the emotional competence and intelligence of young people. The article then presents the results obtained in the initial validation that led to the positive understanding of its impact. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game-Based Learning, Gamification in Education and Serious Games)
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12 pages, 5310 KiB  
Article
Processing Analysis of Swift Playgrounds in a Children’s Computational Thinking Course to Learn Programming
by Guo-Ming Cheng and Chia-Pin Chen
Computers 2021, 10(5), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/computers10050068 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3340
Abstract
Computational thinking courses can cultivate students’ ability to apply logic in the fields of mathematics and information science. The new 12-year Basic Education Curriculum Guidelines were implemented in Fall 2019 in Taiwan. Courses on computational thinking, problem solving, and programming are contained in [...] Read more.
Computational thinking courses can cultivate students’ ability to apply logic in the fields of mathematics and information science. The new 12-year Basic Education Curriculum Guidelines were implemented in Fall 2019 in Taiwan. Courses on computational thinking, problem solving, and programming are contained in the technology education field in junior and senior high schools. Swift Playgrounds is an innovative app for the iPad and Mac that makes learning Swift interactive and fun. No programming knowledge is required to use Swift Playgrounds, making it very suitable for beginners. This study was carried out by letting elementary school teachers and students participate in Swift Playgrounds computational thinking courses. By trying this app, teachers of different disciplines attempted to realize more learning situations. Students learned how to cope with functions and loop skills by playing with “Byte”, which is a character in Swift Playgrounds. There were three purposes for this study: first, designing a computational thinking course for the most basic part, “Hello! Byte”, in Swift Playgrounds; second, assigning elementary school teachers to assess the qualitative analysis of tasks in Swift Playgrounds; and third, assigning elementary school students to do the tasks and assign a difficulty index in Swift Playgrounds after learning with this app. The results show that most teachers considered this approach to be able to improve logical thinking and inferential capability after assessing, and most students considered functions and loops quite difficult after using the app. According to the students’ indices, about 86 percent of students considered that adding commands is easy, and about 37 percent of students considered that functions are easy. On the other hand, about 24 percent of students considered that applying the Slotted Stairways is difficult, and about 34 percent of students considered that using loops is hard. It is suggested that more instructions for the course or extendibility for classes is required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game-Based Learning, Gamification in Education and Serious Games)
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21 pages, 1580 KiB  
Article
The Case of a Multiplication Skills Game: Teachers’ Viewpoint on MG’s Dashboard and OSLM Features
by Angeliki Leonardou, Maria Rigou, Aliki Panagiotarou and John Garofalakis
Computers 2021, 10(5), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/computers10050065 - 17 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3867
Abstract
Educational games and digital game-based learning (DGBL) provide pupils interactive, engaging, intelligent, and motivating learning environments. According to research, digital games can support students’ learning and enhance their motivation to learn. Given the central role teachers play in the learning process, their perceptions [...] Read more.
Educational games and digital game-based learning (DGBL) provide pupils interactive, engaging, intelligent, and motivating learning environments. According to research, digital games can support students’ learning and enhance their motivation to learn. Given the central role teachers play in the learning process, their perceptions of DGBL play a significant role in the usage and effectiveness of game-based learning. This paper presents the main findings of an online research on primary school teachers’ attitudes toward DGBL. Furthermore, the research investigates teachers’ opinions about the functionalities provided by the implemented Multiplication Game (MG) and the newly incorporated teacher dashboard. The MG is an assessment and skills improvement tool that integrates an adaptation mechanism that identifies student weaknesses on the multiplication tables and in its latest version also supports a strong social parameter. Students can be informed about their own progress as well as the progress of their peers in an effort to examine if social interaction or competition can increase players’ motivation, which is a subject that raised some concerns in the teaching community. The paper describes the functional options offered by the MG dashboard and documents the outcomes of an online survey conducted with the participation of 182 primary school teachers. The survey indicated the potential usefulness of MG and the benefits it can offer as a learning tool to improve pupil multiplication skills and help teachers identify individual pupil skills and difficulties and adapt their teaching accordingly. The analysis applied has found a correlation between teachers’ perceptions about MG and their view on using digital games in general. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game-Based Learning, Gamification in Education and Serious Games)
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13 pages, 3129 KiB  
Article
A VR-Enhanced Rollover Car Simulator and Edutainment Application for Increasing Seat Belt Use Awareness
by José V. Riera, Sergio Casas, Francisco Alonso and Marcos Fernández
Computers 2021, 10(5), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/computers10050055 - 21 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3297
Abstract
Most countries have active road safety policies that seek the objective of reducing deaths in traffic accidents. One of the main factors in this regard is the awareness of the safety measures, one of the most important being the correct usage of the [...] Read more.
Most countries have active road safety policies that seek the objective of reducing deaths in traffic accidents. One of the main factors in this regard is the awareness of the safety measures, one of the most important being the correct usage of the seat belt, a device that is known to save thousands of lives every year. The presented work shows a VR-enhanced edutainment application designed to increase awareness on the use of seat belts. For this goal, a motorized rollover system was developed that, synchronized with a VR application (shown in a head-mounted display for each user inside a real car), rolls over this car with up to four passengers inside. This way, users feel the sensations of a real overturn and therefore they realize the consequences and the results of not wearing a seat belt. The system was tested for a month in the context of a road safety exhibition in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, one of the leading countries in car accidents per capita. More than 500 users tested and assessed the usefulness of the system. We measured, before and after the rollover experience, the perception of risk of not using the seat belt. Results show that awareness regarding the use of seat belts increases very significantly after using the presented edutainment tool. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game-Based Learning, Gamification in Education and Serious Games)
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21 pages, 2571 KiB  
Article
Supporting School Aged Children to Train Their Vision by Using Serious Games
by Ilona Heldal, Carsten Helgesen, Qasim Ali, Daniel Patel, Atle Birger Geitung and Håvard Pettersen
Computers 2021, 10(4), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/computers10040053 - 16 Apr 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3422
Abstract
Several children struggle with vision difficulties caused by problematic coordination between their left and right eye muscles, i.e., oculomotor dysfunction (OMD). Many OMDs can be improved by training the eyes via physical exercises defined and supervised by vision experts. The aim of this [...] Read more.
Several children struggle with vision difficulties caused by problematic coordination between their left and right eye muscles, i.e., oculomotor dysfunction (OMD). Many OMDs can be improved by training the eyes via physical exercises defined and supervised by vision experts. The aim of this paper is to investigate the feasibility of utilizing Serious Games (SGs) and eye-tracking technologies (ETs) for training the eyes of children having OMD. Via these activities, a trainee can, with her eye gaze, follow objects which are moving, change their directions and speed, or pop up on the screen. The results present mapping the current physical training goals to activities for SGs using input from ETs, and illustrate this correspondence for designing and developing six games. The games’ feasibility evaluation is done via semistructured interviews and evaluating user experiences. Three vision teachers (VTs) were involved in design and development, ensuring achievement of training goals, and five VT students in evaluations. The findings demonstrate the potential of using SGs and ETs to train OMD and point to future needs for improvements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game-Based Learning, Gamification in Education and Serious Games)
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15 pages, 4717 KiB  
Article
MyDiabetes—The Gamified Application for Diabetes Self-Management and Care
by Nooralisa Mohd Tuah, Ainnecia Yoag and Fatimah Ahmedy
Computers 2021, 10(4), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/computers10040050 - 13 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4130
Abstract
Gamified applications are regarded as useful for patients in facilitating daily self-care management and the personalization of health monitoring. This paper reports the development of a gamified application by considering a design that had previously been investigated and reported. Numerous game elements were [...] Read more.
Gamified applications are regarded as useful for patients in facilitating daily self-care management and the personalization of health monitoring. This paper reports the development of a gamified application by considering a design that had previously been investigated and reported. Numerous game elements were installed in the application, which covered several tasks aimed at managing diabetes mellitus. The development process utilized the Rapid Application Development (RAD) methodology in terms of system requirements, user design, construction, and cutover; this paper refers to the user design and cutover processes. The developed application was tested through system testing and usability testing. The usability testing adopted the Software Usability Scale (SUS) to assess the usability of the application. Twenty participants were involved in the testing. The result showed that the gamified application is easy and practical to use for an individual with or without diabetes. All the provided functions worked as designed and planned, and the participants accepted their usability. Overall, this study offers a promising result that could lead to real-life implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game-Based Learning, Gamification in Education and Serious Games)
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20 pages, 3354 KiB  
Article
iSTART StairStepper—Using Comprehension Strategy Training to Game the Test
by Tracy Arner, Kathryn S. McCarthy and Danielle S. McNamara
Computers 2021, 10(4), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/computers10040048 - 9 Apr 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3441
Abstract
Literacy skills are critical for future success, yet over 60% of high school seniors lack proficient reading skills according to standardized tests. The focus on high stakes, standardized test performance may lead educators to “teach-to-the-test” rather than supporting transferable comprehension strategies that students [...] Read more.
Literacy skills are critical for future success, yet over 60% of high school seniors lack proficient reading skills according to standardized tests. The focus on high stakes, standardized test performance may lead educators to “teach-to-the-test” rather than supporting transferable comprehension strategies that students need. StairStepper can fill this gap by blending necessary test prep and reading comprehension strategy practice in a fun, game-based environment. StairStepper is an adaptive literacy skill training game within Interactive Strategy Training for Active Reading and Thinking (iSTART) intelligent tutoring system. StairStepper is unique in that it models text passages and multiple-choice questions of high-stakes assessments, iteratively supporting skill acquisition through self-explanation prompts and scaffolded, adaptive feedback based on performance and self-explanations. This paper describes an experimental study employing a delayed-treatment control design to evaluate users’ perceptions of the StairStepper game and its influence on reading comprehension scores. Results indicate that participants enjoyed the visual aspects of the game environment, wanted to perform well, and considered the game feedback helpful. Reading comprehension scores of students in the treatment condition did not increase. However, the comprehension scores of the control group decreased. Collectively, these results indicate that the StairStepper game may fill the intended gap in instruction by providing enjoyable practice of essential reading comprehension skills and test preparation, potentially increasing students’ practice persistence while decreasing teacher workload. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game-Based Learning, Gamification in Education and Serious Games)
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18 pages, 3376 KiB  
Article
An Interactive Serious Mobile Game for Supporting the Learning of Programming in JavaScript in the Context of Eco-Friendly City Management
by Rytis Maskeliūnas, Audrius Kulikajevas, Tomas Blažauskas, Robertas Damaševičius and Jakub Swacha
Computers 2020, 9(4), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/computers9040102 - 17 Dec 2020
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 5243
Abstract
In the pedagogical process, a serious game acts as a method of teaching and upbringing, the transfer of accumulated experience and knowledge. In this paper, we describe an interactive serious programming game based on game-based learning for teaching JavaScript programming in an introductory [...] Read more.
In the pedagogical process, a serious game acts as a method of teaching and upbringing, the transfer of accumulated experience and knowledge. In this paper, we describe an interactive serious programming game based on game-based learning for teaching JavaScript programming in an introductory course at university. The game was developed by adopting the gamification pattern-based approach. The game is based on visualizations of different types of algorithms, which are interpreted in the context of city life. The game encourages interactivity and pursues deeper learning of programming concepts. The results of the evaluation of the game using pre-test and post-test knowledge assessment, the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), and the Technology-Enhanced Training Effectiveness Model (TETEM) are presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game-Based Learning, Gamification in Education and Serious Games)
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Review

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15 pages, 2590 KiB  
Review
Serious Games and the COVID-19 Pandemic in Dental Education: An Integrative Review of the Literature
by Kawin Sipiyaruk, Stylianos Hatzipanagos, Patricia A. Reynolds and Jennifer E. Gallagher
Computers 2021, 10(4), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/computers10040042 - 1 Apr 2021
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 4843
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced faculties including dental schools into a ‘new normal’, where the adoption of remote or distance learning is required to minimise the risk of infection. Synchronous learning historically was favoured due to the perceived advantage of ‘real time’ interactions [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced faculties including dental schools into a ‘new normal’, where the adoption of remote or distance learning is required to minimise the risk of infection. Synchronous learning historically was favoured due to the perceived advantage of ‘real time’ interactions between instructors and learners; these interactions are not always possible in asynchronous settings. However, serious games can overcome this limitation of asynchronous learning. This integrative review explores the literature on serious games in dental education, to construct a conceptual framework of their strengths in this pandemic. Following consideration of inclusion and exclusion criteria, 15 articles on 11 serious games designed for dental education were included in this review. Our investigation points to an increase in the use of serious games since 2018. The findings of the review support the use of serious games in dental education during the recent crisis. Key strengths include positive educational outcomes, enhanced engagement and motivation, interactive asynchronous distance learning, a safe learning environment, and the advantage of stealth assessment. Consequently, the ‘new normal’ in education appears to support a very promising future for serious games, particularly in dental education. A conceptual framework is proposed to inform further research across all education settings and timeframes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game-Based Learning, Gamification in Education and Serious Games)
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