Why and how serious games can become far more effective: Accommodating productive learning experiences, learner motivation and the monitoring of learning gains

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This paper aims to improve the design methods for serious games (games for learning) by identifying a set of well-established pedagogical misconceptions and presenting design guidelines to avoid these. It analyses the pedagogical principles and models that are commonly used in serious game design, and contrasts these with evidence and advances in instructional psychology and instructional design research. The paper particularly focuses on 1) the concept of experience-based learning, which many serious games comply with, 2) the concept of learner motivation, which most games strongly claim to support, and 3) the score systems that many games use to track and display progress. Structural design weaknesses are exposed and countered with a large body of research evidence from the literature. A set of practicable design guidelines are presented that help to avoid the pedagogical flaws and contribute to improving the design methods for serious games.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59–69
Number of pages123
JournalEducation Technology & Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2019



  • Applied Games
  • Game Design
  • Learning effectiveness

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