Special Issue "Advances in Mobile Gaming and Games-based Leaning"

A special issue of Information (ISSN 2078-2489). This special issue belongs to the section "Information Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Antonio Coelho
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculdade de Engenharia, Universidade do Porto, 4200-465 Porto, Portugal
Interests: computer graphics; serious games; game-based learning; pervasive games
Dr. Carlos Vaz de Carvalho
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto, Instituto Politécnico do Porto, 4200-072 Porto, Portugal
Interests: serious games; game-based learning; educational technologies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Education is evolving to overcome new challenges related to the unique competencies of the professionals of the future and the requirements of a new generation that is immersed in the digital media world from birth. Digital Games is one of the media that have the potential to reach these two objectives.

Game-based learning is the scientific area that focuses on the development of games that are designed over specific learning objectives. From thoroughly crafted educational games to the use of gamification, the new era of the school will be digital. However, we should not forget tangential learning with the use of entertainment games.

Mobile games are also leveraging a large community of gamers that relies on the specifics of mobile technology, such as ubiquity and pervasiveness. The solutions can leverage informal learning, literacy, science communication, and citizenship, among a vast area of applications.

The aim of this Special Issue is to disclose the new advances in game-based learning and mobile games that can enhance the effectiveness and outreach of learning objects. 

Topics of interest include but are not limited to the following:

  • Game-based learning;
  • Serious games;
  • Mobile games;
  • Pervasive games;
  • Learning models and practices with the use of games;
  • New technologies for game-based learning:
    • Virtual and augmented reality;
    • New interaction devices, toys, and playthings;
    • Simulations;
    • 3D rendering technologies;
    • Game engines and development tools;
    • Location-based games;
    • Artificial intelligence;
    • Educational games analytics;
  • Assessment and evaluation of educational games;
  • User experience design;
  • The psychology of educational games;
  • Gender and age issues;
  • Social and collaborative games;
  • Security and confidentiality in educational games;
  • Case studies in educational games;
  • Game development for mobile devices.

Dr. António Coelho
Dr. Carlos Vaz de Carvalho
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. Information 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 1000 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.


  • Game-based learning
  • Mobile games
  • Serious games
  • Pervasive games
  • Game Design and development
  • User experience
  • Assessment and evaluation

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.

Title: Enhancing Augmented Reality Place Experience through Gamification and Design Science Research
Authors: Nikolche Vasilevski, James Birt
Affiliation: Faculty of Society & Design, Bond University, Gold Coast, QLD 4226, Australia
Abstract: Increasing sense of place is important because it provides many benefits, from personal place significance to interest and stewardship activities at the place. Studies suggest that augmented reality, micro-location and game mechanics can lead to increase sense of place. Posing the question on how to integrate, adopt and design with these technologies and optimise for successful place experience outcomes. This study addresses this by following the Design Science Research Methodology guidelines in the construction of a pervasive mobile application solution. The solution integrates augmented reality, micro-location, gamification and testing the usability of the application to optimise for increased sense of place. Specifically, the application replicates a human tour guide and narration experience at an Australian Higher Education Institution exhibition of indigenous artworks by location guidance and service enhancement through gamified elements. We present quantitative, qualitative, and observational data from a two-way questionnaire that explores the usability of the app and sense of place instrument with a sample size of forty (n=40) university student participants. The results show that the usability of the app is very high and provided gameful experiences resulted with engagement and positive place experience and learning outcomes.

Title: Game design as a competency-based learning activity in Higher Education
Authors: Margarida ROMERO 1, and George Kalmpourtzis 2
Affiliation: 1 Laboratoire d'Innovation et Numérique pour l'Education, Université Côte d'Azur, France
             2 Dept. of Early Childhood Education, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Abstract: The Bologna process has lead European universities to consider the quality assurance in Higher Education. Active learning, competency-based education and outcome-based teaching and learning have been encouraged to achieve the quality assurance in Higher Education. In this paper we analyse a type of competency-based oriented project aiming to engage students in game design for learning. We introduce the context of European Higher Education quality assurance challenges, then review the existing initiatives in game design in Higher Education. We analyse the game design process in the Game Based Learning course of the Msc SmartEdTech program in which the international students, in online learning context, engage in a design thinking and game design process. We analyze the process in terms of competency based education in relation to their creativity competency as a process and outcome in the game design learning activity. We discuss the opportunities and limits of game design for learning in Higher Education in the specific context of online education.
Keywords: Game based learning, game design, Higher Education

Title: Web, app and game testing and evaluation on real devices in higher education: An Irish Open Device Lab Case Study
Authors: Raquel Paiva Godinho  1, Ruth S. Contreras Espinosa 2, and Claire Horgan 3
Affiliation: 1 Design Department, Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology - IF Sul-rio-grandense / Pelotas, Brazil
             2 University of Vic | UVIC · Department of Communication, Spain 
             3 Computing Department, Institute of Technology Tralee (IT Tralee), Ireland
Abstract: Testing and evaluation on real devices is requisite for mobile development, but this is still not mainstream practice. This study is part of a comprehensive research, which aims to explain the Open Device Labs (ODLs); a grass-roots community movement from the Web development industry which later reached the game and the academic sector. The movement aims to democratise tests on real devices offering access to mobile devices as a free service to local tech communities. An ODL is a space typically equipped with mobile devices connected to the Internet for testing and evaluation purposes for web, app, and game developers. Currently, there are 150 labs located in 34 countries. Educational institutions have also established these types of laboratories, but there is little and superficial information about these particular laboratories. This study presents an intrinsic qualitative case study about the IT Tralee ODL, one of the few labs hosted by a higher education institution. We conducted an inductive analysis based on
online documents, interviews, direct observation, participant-observation, and field notes. The findings help to understand /how an ODL hosted by an educational institution works/, as well as its main issues and benefit

Title: Games on Mobiles, via Web or by Virtual Reality Technologies: How to Support Learning for Biomedical Laboratory Science Education?
Authors: Ilona Heldal, Elisabeth Ersvær, Gry Sjøholt, and Tord Frøland (The order has been not decided yet)
Affiliation: Høgskulen på Vestlandet, Postbox 7030, 5020 Bergen, Norway
Abstract: Simulation, serious games, and virtual reality are home in education today. Schools and educators embrace digitalization, new technologies, but they are often struggling with choosing the right technology and supportive methods for achieving better support for students. When one needs to build up a new application from scratch, it is difficult to know how to choose the learning scenario and on which technologies.
This paper examines the influence of the type of new technologies and applications aimed to support undergraduate Biomedical Laboratory Science (BLS) students’ learning. BLS students need to have high proficiency in several practical procedures, as they are required to frequently perform these in their everyday work, and as errors have a significant impact on the diagnostic accuracy of laboratory results. Serious games are promising tools supporting learning for practical proficiency. Through initializing a group with computer scientists and biomedical laboratory scientists, EduGameLab, several games associated with main practical proficiencies were discussed, prototypes were made, and their potential to support teaching and learning were investigated. This paper presents EduGameLab, through examining a basic gamified application for practicing phlebotomy on mobiles, by using web applications and by discussing learning and teaching by using virtual reality. The results are based on observations and interviews with fifteen students and teachers and by using Kolb’s learning cycle [1] to illustrate problems and benefits during the different training. By discussing requirements and roles for providing continuous support via EduGameLab this paper contributes to a better understanding of considering new technical innovations in different educational contexts. 

Title: Serious Game IDO – Towards Better Education in Dementia Care
Authors: Rytis Maskeliūnas 1,2, Robertas Damaševičius 1,2, Connie Lethin 3, Andrius
Paulauskas 2, Anna Esposito 4, Carlos Chiatti 3,5, and Vincenzo Aschettino 5
Affiliation: 1   Institute of Mathematics, Silesian University of Technology, Kaszubska 23, 44-100 Gliwice, Poland; [email protected] (R.R.), [email protected] (R.D.)
2   Faculty of Informatics, Kaunas University of Technology, Studentų 50, Kaunas 51368, Lithuania; [email protected]
3   Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Lund University, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden; [email protected] (C.L.), [email protected] (C.C.)
4   Università Vanvitelli, Dipartimento di Psicologia; Viale Ellittico, 31-81100 Caserta, Italy; [email protected]
5   Tech4Care, Via Guglielmo Marconi, 31, 60015 Falconara Marittima AN, Italy; [email protected]
Correspondence: [email protected]
Abstract: We describe the IDO serious game, developed during the implementation of Innovative Digital Training Opportunities on Dementia for Direct Care Workers (IDO) project, which targets caregivers  working with persons with dementia in order improve their competences skills, and knowledge on care of persons with dementia. The paper describes the steps faced to define the IDO caregiver behavior  improvement model, design of game mechanics, development of game art and game characters, and  implementation of gameplay. The impact of using IDO game was to teach/familiarize caregivers with the  upcoming care processes indirectly, especially in comparison to the traditional sources of training. The  direct impact of the proposed IDO game on the attitudes life of persons with dementia and caregivers was assessed through the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) and Dementia Attitudes Scale (DAS) questionnaires in the Lithuania’s Kaunas region. The survey included 12 social care workers (age 42-71), 36 non- professional caregivers (caring for their family members) (age 26 – 62) and 14 seniors with early signs of dementia (age 68-95). The seniors’ GDS scores showed an increase of positive answers (in percentage)  from 75.1% (SD = 1.7) in the pre-test to 89.1% (SD = 0.9) in the post-test GDS survey. The caregivers’ GDS scores showed an increase of positive answers (in percentage) from 86.6% (SD = 1.0) in the pre-test  to 94.8% (SD = 0.5) in the post-test GDS survey, leading to the positive conclusion that the games aroused a general increase of positive moods for future caregivers of the target persons with dementia. The overall  DAS scores increased from 6.07 (pre-test) to 6.41 (mean = 6.28, SD = 0.08) in the post-test survey, as  the recorded attitudes were generally positive, indicating a more relaxed status and a decreased fear in   accomplishing the caring process. Results between pre-test and post-test were statistically significant both  for seniors (p < 0.001) and caregivers (p < 0.001).

Title: A practical methodology for the design of serious games
Authors: Frutuoso Silva
Affiliation: University of Beira Interior, Instituto de Telecomunicações, 6200-001 Covilhã, PORTUGAL
Abstract: Serious games are primarily intended to teach or train players on a subject. But a serious game must be also a catchy game, for the player to want to play it multiple times and thus learn while playing. But the design process of serious games includes game experts and pedagogical experts, that must be able to communicate efficiently to produce a product that is both educationally efficient and fun to play. Although there are some design frameworks to help this communication, usually they are more conceptual and do not distinguish well the fun factor from the learning contents, making the communication difficult. In this paper is presented a new practical methodology to support the design process of this kind of games. This methodology is more embracing because it identifies all the steps need to define the learning mechanisms in a serious game, from the topic choice to the user experience. Besides, it separates the learning contents of the game from the other mechanics used to keep the game fun to play. Finally, it is shown some practical examples illustrating the use of the methodology.


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