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Two promising approaches to game-based learning in programming courses
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
2014 (English)In: Computer games: technology, educational uses and effects on cognitive development, Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2014Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The use of games in educational contexts is an old tradition where mathematical and strategical concepts have been demonstrated and practised for thousands of years by playing board games like Chess and Kalaha. Discussions on pedagogical aspects of playing games for learning started in the 1970s based on ideas by the pedagogues Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky. In the early 1980s Thomas Malone analysed and described why it is fun and motivating to play computer games. Some years later Malone discussed his findings with his colleague Mark Lepper and together they specified the components of the taxonomy of intrinsic motivation. Programming is still a core subject in computer science but several research studies shows that students are facing difficulties even with basic programming techniques. These problems are not only related to theoretical programming concepts and studies indicate that students get stuck in practical programming and code construction as well. Some researchers see this as a pedagogical problem but also as a psychological and motivational issue. Other researchers and pedagogues have discussed the idea of using the documented strong catalytic effect of gaming in computer science education. There are at least two different approaches to game-based learning for programming education. In the first one the main idea is that students learn to program by playing tailor-made educational or serious games that are designed for learning programming concepts in one or several programming languages. The second approach is based on the idea that students design and build their own computer games. By using their creativity and imagination in order to construct their own executable computer games students will simultaneously learn traditional programming techniques. This study will describe, discuss and compare these two approaches based on data collected at the Department of Computer and Systems Sciences at Stockholm University. Findings show that both the approaches seem to have a learning stimulating potential and that they also might be combined. One of the main differences between the described approaches is while Learning by Playing must be classified as an extra resource for self-learning the idea of Learning by Game Construction could be seen as the bedrock for complete programming courses.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2014.
, Internet Theory, Technology and Applications
Keyword [en]
Game-based Learning, GBL, Digital games, E-learning, Programming education
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-108696ISBN: 978-1-63463-245-4OAI: diva2:760074
Available from: 2014-11-03 Created: 2014-11-03 Last updated: 2014-11-05Bibliographically approved

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Mozelius, Peter
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