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Special Issue "Games and Learning: Actions for Quality Education as a Sustainable Development Goal"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Education and Approaches".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 November 2021) | Viewed by 8481

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Víctor Abella García
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Departamento de Ciencias de la Educación, Universidad de Burgos, Burgos, Spain
Interests: ICT; gamification; e-learning; video games; social networks
Prof. Dr. Roberto Baelo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of General and Specific Didactics and Educational Theory, University of León, León 24071, Spain
Interests: Integration in the education of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and methodological innovations; as gamification
Prof. Dr. Sheila García-Martín
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of General and Specific Didactics and Educational Theory, University of León, León 24071, Spain
Interests: ICT; e-learning; digital competence; academic performance
Prof. Dr. Mario Grande-de-Prado
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of General and Specific Didactics and Educational Theory, University of León, León, 24071, Spain
Interests: ICT; digital competence; e-learning; gamification; Game based learning (GbL) and video games

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Play is something that is present in all cultures, especially in childhood stages, although in the rest of the maturational stages, the game continues to generate interest. However, this is not exclusive to human beings, since it has been shown that games are present in other species.

Until a few years ago the use of game mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics was restricted to the most elementary levels. However, in recent years there has been a growing interest in this subject, which has caused play as a form of learning to spread to all educational stages, even reaching non-formal or informal education. Games have shown their importance in improving learning, because game is meaningful, spontaneous, and motivating. Piaget and Vygotsky highlight the role of games in cognitive development, allowing the incorporation of strategies, norms, and values in personal development. At present, games have an important role in the development of quality education, which is one of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Among the advantages offered by games, it is worth highlighting their important didactic potential, which ranges from adapting to different learning rhythms, allowing mistakes, receiving instant feedback, developing creativity, and increasing the motivation and socialization of the students, as well as their commitment and participation in tasks and the acquisition of skills.

In education, there are three important concepts linked to play. These are gamification, game-based learning (GBL), and serious games. Although they are all related, they have different characteristics.

In this context, we are seeking contributions that advance the state of the art in designing game-related learning.

Topics of interest for this Special Issue include (but are not limited to):

  • Gamification;
  • Serious games;
  • Game-based learning theories and design;
  • Design guidelines for educational games;
  • Educational Video games;
  • Game design models in education;
  • Design patterns for educational games;
  • Educational games and sustainability;
  • Escape rooms and breakouts;
  • Storytelling;
  • ICT and gamification.

Prof. Dr. Víctor Abella García
Prof. Dr. Roberto Baelo
Prof. Dr. Sheila García-Martín
Prof. Dr. Mario Grande-de-Prado
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2000 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

  • gamification
  • game-based learning
  • educational games
  • escape rooms
  • video games

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
Rethinking the Ideology of Using Digital Games to Increase Individual Interest in STEM
Sustainability 2022, 14(8), 4519; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14084519 - 11 Apr 2022
Viewed by 328
Abstract
Using games to teach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) can enhance the quality of education. The idea of using digital games to increase individual interest towards STEM has been implemented as gaming technology has evolved in the 21st century. A correlation exists [...] Read more.
Using games to teach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) can enhance the quality of education. The idea of using digital games to increase individual interest towards STEM has been implemented as gaming technology has evolved in the 21st century. A correlation exists between using digital games and the learning outcomes which suggests that incorporating digital games may develop interest; however, the theoretical discussion on how interest may be developed with digital games remains inconclusive, thus, resulting in the need for further discussion. Hence, we aim to contribute with a discussion on how STEM digital games can develop individual interest in STEM. Previous studies on digital games in the STEM education context support the arguments presented in this study, therefore, there is a high probability that STEM digital games develop interest. Nevertheless, this can only be achieved with a good STEM game design and defining what is a good STEM game design is subjective. Several elements can be used as indicators to describe the quality of a design. These include the pedagogical learning content and the inclusion of fun elements within a design. Therefore, we propose the integration of theories with pedagogy, learning strategies, STEM learning content, game elements, and game principles design to ensure the presence of a three-layer process to develop interest. The creativity of game designers and developers is key to creating appealing STEM digital games providing young players with an inspiring experience. Full article
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Article
Game Jams as Valuable Tools for the Development of 21st-Century Skills
Sustainability 2022, 14(4), 2246; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14042246 - 16 Feb 2022
Viewed by 704
Abstract
The concept of 21st-century skills refers to the knowledge, skills, and emotions that are critical to successfully navigating today’s world. Game jams can act as spaces to develop these skills and thus boost cooperative learning, problem-based learning, or co-creation. Additionally, game [...] Read more.
The concept of 21st-century skills refers to the knowledge, skills, and emotions that are critical to successfully navigating today’s world. Game jams can act as spaces to develop these skills and thus boost cooperative learning, problem-based learning, or co-creation. Additionally, game jams offer opportunities to improve collaboration and creativity skills, among others. This paper summarizes three years of activities designing and studying game jams to develop 21st-century skills, focused on Mexican students aged 12–16 years old. Data were compiled through direct observation, open-ended questionnaires, and interviews and were subject to thematic analysis in order to construct new knowledge on a previously underexplored topic. The results suggest that game jams are valuable tools to develop 21st-century skills, and, although the outcomes of skill evaluation may vary and may be difficult to verify, the participants reported increased skills, such as creativity or collaboration. Finally, this paper provides recommendations based on the research and practice conducted by the authors on how to use game jams to develop 21st-century skills and different ways to organize game jams, along with the resources needed. Full article
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Article
Design of Educational Tools Based on Traditional Games for the Improvement of Social and Personal Skills of Primary School Students with Hearing Impairment
Sustainability 2021, 13(22), 12644; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132212644 - 16 Nov 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 633
Abstract
The proposed work aims to offer an educational proposal with which to approach the Physical Education class with hearing impaired students through the use of different tools, with special attention to technological ones. These in turn are structured into objectives, materials, organisation, graphic [...] Read more.
The proposed work aims to offer an educational proposal with which to approach the Physical Education class with hearing impaired students through the use of different tools, with special attention to technological ones. These in turn are structured into objectives, materials, organisation, graphic description and a QR code for each game. These codes are linked to different videos hosted on the YouTube platform, in which the explanation of the games, mentioned above, can be visualised graphically using sign language. The whole creative process is described in the article, as well as possible pedagogical applications of the use of the tools created for this purpose in other educational contexts. Full article
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Article
Design of a Virtual Reality Software to Promote the Learning of Students with Dyslexia
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8425; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158425 - 28 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1115
Abstract
The research conducted is part of the European project Erasmus+ FORDYSVAR, whose main objective is to contribute to the educational inclusion of students with dyslexia, aged between 10 and 16 years old, through the use of technology, specifically virtual reality (VR), to improve [...] Read more.
The research conducted is part of the European project Erasmus+ FORDYSVAR, whose main objective is to contribute to the educational inclusion of students with dyslexia, aged between 10 and 16 years old, through the use of technology, specifically virtual reality (VR), to improve the access, participation, and educational achievement of students with this learning difficulty. This is a qualitative and interpretative study with a descriptive character. The objective of this work is to design a VR application that contributes to the learning of students with dyslexia based on user-centered design as a methodology. The developmental lines to be addressed in the application have been defined, the features to be included have been determined, and the activities that make up the software have been designed. All this is based on the analysis of the needs and interests of the end users (students with dyslexia) as well as the vision of professionals (teachers and dyslexia intervention specialists). The results obtained allow us to conclude that VR technology is an interesting avenue of treatment, as it offers a ludic, safe, controlled, and motivating environment for students with dyslexia. Full article
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Article
Serious Games and Mathematical Fluency: A Study from the Gender Perspective in Primary Education
Sustainability 2021, 13(12), 6586; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13126586 - 09 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 920
Abstract
In recent years, serious games offer great opportunities for learning processes at schools. However, it is unclear whether this type of proposals can offer differentiated answers among the students according to their gender. In this context, the aim of this paper is to [...] Read more.
In recent years, serious games offer great opportunities for learning processes at schools. However, it is unclear whether this type of proposals can offer differentiated answers among the students according to their gender. In this context, the aim of this paper is to know the possible differences that occur in primary school classrooms according to gender, with serious games designed for the development of mathematical fluency, and to examine to what extent these games contribute to the overall school performance. We carried out a quasi-experimental study, including pretest and posttest, without control group and with several experimental groups, and the participation of 284 students from first to fourth grade. The results show that the software benefits boys and girls equally, compared to the previously followed methodology that benefited boys. A clear relation between the results achieved and the performance in the overall students’ grades has also been observed. The conclusions show the potential of serious games in school settings, and the opportunity to approach performance differences based on the gender. Full article
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Article
Does Gamifying Homework Influence Performance and Perceived Gameful Experience?
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 4829; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094829 - 25 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1564
Abstract
There is a growing body of literature that recognizes the importance of applying gamification in educational settings. This research developed an application to gamify students’ homework to address the concern of the students’ inability to complete their homework. This research aims to investigate [...] Read more.
There is a growing body of literature that recognizes the importance of applying gamification in educational settings. This research developed an application to gamify students’ homework to address the concern of the students’ inability to complete their homework. This research aims to investigate students’ performance in doing their homework, and reflections and perceptions of the gameful experience in gamified homework exercises. Based on the data gathered from experimental and control groups (N = 84) via learning analytics, survey, and interview, the results show a high level of satisfaction according to students’ feedback. The most noticeable finding to extract from the analysis is that students can take on a persona, earn points, and experience a deeper sense of achievement through doing the gamified homework. Moreover, the students, on the whole, are likely to be intrinsically motivated whenever the homework is attributed to factors under their own control, when they consider that they have the expertise to be successful learners to achieve their desired objectives, and when they are interested in dealing with the homework for learning, not just achieving high grades. Full article
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Systematic Review
Board Games in Improving Pupils’ Speaking Skills: A Systematic Review
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 8772; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13168772 - 05 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1254
Abstract
English is a fundamental language to learn as it is used worldwide. The teaching and learning of English has been emphasized in Malaysia as English plays a major role in global communication. However, speaking performance was recorded as poor and weak among pupils [...] Read more.
English is a fundamental language to learn as it is used worldwide. The teaching and learning of English has been emphasized in Malaysia as English plays a major role in global communication. However, speaking performance was recorded as poor and weak among pupils in ESL classrooms. Previous researchers explored a myriad of communicative language activities to improve speaking skill. Board games are employed as one of the most useful tools to improve speaking skills among pupils. This systematic review was conducted to examine pupils’ perceptions on the use of board games in learning and speaking, as well as the usefulness of board games in improving their speaking skill. A total of 35 articles, from the period 2017–2021, were accessed through three databases: Google Scholar, ERIC and SAGE Journals. The review was conducted systematically based on the guidelines from the PRISMA statement (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses). Based on the articles gathered, the results showed that the qualitative research design was mostly used to collect pupils’ opinions on the use of board games, while quantitative research design was mostly used to evaluate the usefulness of board games in improving speaking. Overall, the systematic review revealed that board games had several positive impacts in pupils’ speaking performances such as improving speaking competency, enhancing motivation in speaking and increasing interpersonal interaction among pupils. It is suggested that future studies could focus on investigating teachers’ opinions on the use of board games in teaching and speaking. Full article
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