Special Issue "Gamification and Advanced Technology to Enhance Motivation in Education"

A special issue of Informatics (ISSN 2227-9709).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Faraón Llorens-Largo

Department of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence,University of Alicante,03690 Alicante, Spain
Website | E-Mail
Interests: artificial intelligence; video game development; gamification; application of digital technologies to education and IT governance
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Rafael Molina-Carmona

Department of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, University of Alicante,03690 Alicante, Spain
Interests: artificial intelligence applications in different fields: computer-aided design and manufacturing, computer graphics, learning, creativity, information representation and IT governance

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Motivation is the driving force behind many human activities, particularly learning. Motivated students are ready to make a significant mental effort and use deeper and more effective learning strategies. Some of the fundamental attributes of learning strategies that enhance motivation are:

  • Experimentation or learning by doing.
  • Interactivity and immediate feedback.
  • Allow and naturalize the error.
  • Give control to the learner.

Gamification is a means to obtain motivation by incorporating the use of strategies, models, dynamics, mechanics and game elements in a learning context. But it is not the only way. Other technologies can provide users with motivation by introducing the aforementioned learning strategies.

This Special Issue aims to promote innovative ideas, theories, models, approaches, technologies, systems, projects, best practices, case studies, ethical studies and products in the area of advanced technologies to enhance motivation in education. Submissions should present empirical and/or theoretical advances on (but not limited to) the following topics:

  • Gamification
  • Serious games
  • Game design applied to education
  • Smart learning
  • Adaptive learning
  • Advanced interfaces for learning

Prof. Dr. Faraón Llorens-Largo
Prof. Dr. Rafael Molina-Carmona
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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. Informatics is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly 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 350 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.


  • Gamification
  • Serious games
  • Educational games
  • Game design
  • Smart learning
  • Adaptive learning
  • Personalized learning
  • Virtual reality
  • Augmented reality
  • Natural language interfaces
  • Intelligent tutoring
  • Motivation
  • Collaborative learning
  • Social networks
  • Ubiquitous learning
  • E-learning.
  • Smart evaluation
  • Automatic evaluation
  • Automatic feedback
  • Learning style assessment
  • Smart classrooms
  • Smart products for learning

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

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.

1. Tittle: Enhancing fun through gamification to improve engagement in MOOC

Authors: Oriol Borrás Gené, Margarita Martinez-Nuñez

Abstract: MOOCs, regardless of the subject they deal with and from a connectivist point of view, a learning methodology in which a network of connections between user and content is generated, are a perfect space to generate very valuable resources for their participants and anyone interested in their specific subject matter. Generating a flow of contents that will support and grow the MOOC in future editions. This paper presents an experience that has sought to improve collaboration and interaction between MOOC participants and increase the generation of content in form of open educational resources, using a Facebook group. To this end, elements of games, known as gamification, have been used to make the learning process more enjoyable.


2. Title: Virtual Reality and Gamification for Immersive Learning of Lunar Exploration Missions

Author: Chao Peng, Lizhou Cao and Jeffrey Hansberger

Abstract: Virtual reality (VR) technologies have opened new possibilities for creating engaging serious games for educational applications. This paper presents a VR game that immerses players into the activities of lunar exploration missions in a virtual environment. We design and implement the VR game with the goal of not only entertaining but also as a tool helping players to learn the historical facts of space missions. In comparing to the gamification of lunar exploration missions implemented using a traditional display and mouse-based interaction methods, the VR version advances in user engagement and increases the level of immersion to better support the goal of promoting game-based learning. Our VR game features an intuitive player-environment interaction using handheld control devices, and provides a situated experience for players to learn the activities that astronauts performed on the Moon in 1970s. Currently, we are running a usability experiment with voluntary participants. A game experience questionnaire (GEQ) is used in our experiment. We anticipate that the experimental results will evidence the superior of VR-based serious game in enhancing users' motivation to learn historical events and knowledge in space science.

3. Type of paper: research article

Tentative Title: FLIGBY - A Serious Game Tool to Enhance Motivation and Competencies in Entrepreneurship

Authors: Dr. Fernando Almeida (University of Porto & INESC TEC) Dr. Zoltan Buzady (Corvinus University of Budapest)

Abstract: Entrepreneurship is currently one of the most fundamental economic activities in the 21st century. Entrepreneurship encourages young generations to generate their self-employment and develop key soft-skills that will be useful throughout their professional career. This study aims to explore and describe the process of using FLIGBY as a serious game tool in a higher education institution, which will allow students to develop entrepreneurship skills in an immersive way and based in real challenges that can be found in business environments.

4. Type of paper: Review

Tentative Title: The Effects of Gamification in Online Learning Environments. A Systematic Literature Review

Author: Alessandra Antonaci

Abstract: Gamification has recently been presented as a successful strategy to engage users and with potential for online education. However, while the number of publications on gamification has been increasing in recent years, a classification of its empirical effects is still missing. We present a systematic literature review conducted with the purpose of closing this gap by clarifying what effects gamification generates on users’ behaviour in online learning. Based on the studies analysed, we identify and map the game elements most used in the literature. Furthermore, we cluster the empirical effects of gamification into six areas: performance, motivation, engagement, goal commitment, collaborative behaviour and communication, and users’ characteristics. Additionally, we generate a matrix that links these game elements, their effects and the studies that empirically document this relationship. The findings of our systematic literature review point out that gamification and its application in online learning and in particular in Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) are still a young field lacking in empirical experiments and evidence. Based on our results we move towards gamified MOOCs and identify game elements for personal engagement and goal achievement.

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