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How to Build an Ineffective Serious Game: Worst Practices in Serious Game Design
University of Macedonia, Greece, , .
South Wales University, Wales, , .
Volgograd State Technical University, Russia, , .
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
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2015 (English)In: ECGBL 2015, The 9th European Conference on Games Based Learning, Academic Conferences Publishing , 2015Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Learning and teaching through immersive technologies has been an essential research topic in the last decades. Educators are trying to combine difficult topics that usually discourage students from learning with engaging tasks or technologies that will seem more attractive and thus supporting students’ participation in learning. On the other hand, the students of the 21st century have been raised in a digital world, and therefore they learn and react differently. Computer games have become an active part of their everyday lives from a very early age, resulting in young people’s familiarization with such technologies and their features. Furthermore, computer machines have greatly increased their capacities and capabilities, allowing the installation of game platforms with impressive graphics and special effects. This novelty fosters the usage of such games by users, where they are free to use all of the game’s functionalities and immerse themselves in an interactive and attractive environment. These aforementioned benefits pose a significant challenge that is to investigate which elements constitute a successful serious game, what are the ways in which such games can be effectively embedded in the learning process and which are the factors that determine the success components in a game. However, it is essential also, to find out which are the elements that lead to the development of a game with no educational interest or benefits and with no facilitating features for both the teachers and the students. More specifically, this paper includes an analysis of learning principles, mistakes that lead to the non acquisition of long-term memories, and the lack of motivation of learners to keep playing and learning. Further, the paper elaborates on what is the mixture of learning and entertaining elements and features that produce either an unsuccessful or a successful serious game. Moreover, the research study will emphasize on the role of laughter and will highlight the implications of humor and comics for student successful learning. Furthermore, elements of humor such as humor creator and humor receiver will also be approached and discussed. Finally, it is stated how important it is to set achievable and measurable learning objectives and align these to clear learning pathways as well as how to take appropriate feedback regarding learners’ performance. The paper also describes all the concepts that are related to the development of an unsuccessful serious game, including the main mistakes that should be avoided. This proposed model will elaborate on the factors that hinder effective serious games development and will highlight that serious games can only support education when they properly link the “fun” elements of computer games with the essential educational elements required for in-depth learning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Academic Conferences Publishing , 2015.
Keyword [en]
digital game-based learning, unsuccessful educational games, game construction
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-122828ISBN: 978-1-910810-58-3OAI: diva2:868568
Available from: 2015-11-11 Created: 2015-11-10 Last updated: 2015-11-11

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