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 (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle Using Malone’s Theoretical Model on Gamification for Designing Educational Rubrics
Received: 28 January 2019 / Revised: 19 February 2019 / Accepted: 27 February 2019 / Published: 4 March 2019
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How could a structured proposal for an evaluation rubric benefit from assessing and including the organizational variables used when one of the first definitions of gamification related to game theory was established by Thomas W. Malone in 1980? By studying the importance and [...] Read more.
How could a structured proposal for an evaluation rubric benefit from assessing and including the organizational variables used when one of the first definitions of gamification related to game theory was established by Thomas W. Malone in 1980? By studying the importance and current validity of Malone’s corollaries on his article What makes things fun to Learn? this work covers all different characteristics of the concepts once used to define the term “gamification.” Based on the results of this analysis, we will propose different evaluation concepts that will be assessed and included in a qualitative proposal for an evaluation rubric, with the ultimate goal of including a holistic approach to all different aspects related to evaluation for active methodologies in a secondary education environment. Full article

Figure 1

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.


Authors: Teresa Rojo; Myriam Gonzalez-Limon and Asunción Rodríguez-Ramos

Abstract: Incorporating gamification into training-learning in universities finds the obstacle of the scarcity of adapted and quality educational videogames. Large companies are leading the creation of educational video games for their internal training or to enhance their public image and universities can benefit by collaborating. The objective of this research is to carry out an objective and subjective evaluation of the case of the BugaMAP simulation game on insurance developed by the MAPFRE Foundation. The game and the experience of its application perceived by 110 students of various grades and courses of the University of Seville in the academic year 2017-18 is evaluated. As a methodology, the control list of gamification elements is used for the objective evaluation and the gaming experience questionnaire, for the subjective evaluation. Among the results, it highlights that the game, in addition to achieving progress in training in decision making in insurance companies, trains skills such as teamwork and oral presentation. Also highlights the motivating element of organizing the application as a great tournament with a prize to the highest winners.

6. Title: How Digital Inquiry through Games can promote a positive attitude towards mathematical proof

Authors: Albano, Giovannina1, Arzarello, Ferdinando2, Dello Iacono1, Umberto, Soldano, Carlotta2.

Affiliation: 1University of Saleno; 2University of Torino

Abstract: Proof has been widely recognized as a fundamental issue in mathematics and thus it is a key teaching/learning goal in mathematics education. Research has shown that students face many difficulties with proof and some evidences confirm that such difficulties are intertwined with students’ conceptions on proof. Moreover, the main obstacle seems to be the potential conflict between an empirical and a formal approach to proof. In this regard, the paper concerns a game-based methodological device, named Digital Inquiry Through Games. The device allows to engage students in a digital game where they are asked to win against an antagonist and then they are guided towards the discovery of some mathematical properties underlying the game and to their proof. We will discuss how such device can affect students’ attitude towards proof and how it can help in promoting a continuity between the game (empirical proof) and the mathematical content (formal proof).

7. Title: A Guide for Game-design-based Gamification

Authors: Francisco J. Gallego-Durán, Carlos J. Villagrá-Arnedo, Rosana Satorre-Cuerda, Patricia Compañ-Rosique, Rafael Molina-Carmona and Faraón Llorens-Largo

Abstract: Many researchers consider Gamification as a powerful way to improve education. Many studies show improvements with respect to traditional methodologies. However, there is a barrier preventing researchers from properly understanding Gamification principles. Gamification focuses of engaging trainees in learning as if they were playing games. But only some games achieve this level of engagement. Designing truly entertaining games is difficult and greatly artistic. This need for proper Game Design experience to produce Gamification environments is often overlooked. This work presents a rubric to start working in Gamification without previous experience in Game Design. It helps practitioners focus on Game Design rather than game elements. This is more similar to professional game designers and helps on gaining experience while designing proper Gamification environments.

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