Game-Based Learning and the Power of Play: Exploring Evidence, Challenges and Future Directions
In recent years, there has been growing interest in the use of games to enhance learning across multiple educational levels, and extensive research has shown that games have considerable potential for enhancing learning, motivation and skills development. However, despite a growing acknowledgement of this potential, challenges remain and the use of games in formal education contexts remains far from mainstream. While some studies identify design and development issues as a key barrier – including associated costs – others highlight organisational and infrastructural difficulties involved in implementing games in the classroom. More recently, increasing recognition of these difficulties has led many to explore how gaming elements (rather than fully fledged games) can be used to engage and enhance student learning – a practice now widely referred to as “gamification”.
This edited collection of chapters explores the application, potential and challenges of game-based learning and gamification across multiple disciplines and sectors, including psychology, education, business, history, languages and the creative arts. With contributions exploring the use of games across the full educational spectrum – from early childhood education, through to the corporate sector – it provides comprehensive insights into the potential of games and play for facilitating learning and engagement at every life stage.
Pauline Rooney is an Educational Researcher, Lecturer and Developer at the Dublin Institute of Technology, where she specialises in technology-enhanced learning. She holds an MSc(Ed) in Computer Based Learning from Queens University Belfast and a Doctorate of Education (EdD) from the University of Sheffield where she researched strategies for harnessing serious games in higher education. Her research focuses on technology-enhanced learning and she has a particular interest in game-based learning, collaborative learning and student attitudes towards pedagogical innovation. Pauline also works as an Expert Evaluator of European Commission-funded projects in the area of game-based learning and gamification. She is a Fellow of SEDA (the UK Staff Educational Development Association) and she acts as academic reviewer for a number of academic journals including Simulation & Gaming, the International Journal of Game-Based Learning, Innovations in Education and Teaching International and the International Journal of Social Research Methodology.
Nicola Whitton is Professor of Professional Learning at the Education and Social Research Institute at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research focuses on digital innovation in learning and teaching and, in particular, games, play, engagement, and learning in the context of Higher Education. Her research interests include interaction design, the impact of motivation and engagement, active learning design, and the pedagogy of play. She has led research projects in gaming for older adults, collaborative game building as a learning approach, alternate reality games for student induction, and an investigation into student conceptions of fun. Her first book, Learning with Digital Games, was published in 2010, and is an accessible guide to the design, development and use of games for learning at university.
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