Assessing the reach and impact of game-based learning: approaches to cultural competency and behavioural change

Dunwell, Ian; Petridis, Panagiotis; Lameras, Petros; Hendrix, Maurice; Doukianou, Stella and Gaved, Mark (2014). Assessing the reach and impact of game-based learning: approaches to cultural competency and behavioural change. In: Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Intelligent Digital Games for Empowerment and Inclusion, 24 Feb 2014, Haifa, Israel.



As digital games continue to be explored as solutions to educational and behavioural challenges, the need for evaluation methodologies which support both the unique nature of the format and the need for comparison with other approaches continues to increase. In this workshop paper, a range of challenges are described related specifically to the case of cultural learning using digital games, in terms of how it may best be assessed, understood, and sustained through an iterative process supported by research. An evaluation framework is proposed, identifying metrics for reach and impact and their associated challenges, as well as presenting ethical considerations and the means to utilize evaluation outcomes within an iterative cycle, and to provide feedback to learners. Presenting as a case study a serious game from the Mobile Assistance for Social Inclusion and Empowerment of Immigrants with Persuasive Learning Technologies and Social Networks (MASELTOV) project, the use of the framework in the context of an integrative project is discussed, with emphasis on the need to view game-based learning as a blended component of the cultural learning process, rather than a standalone solution. The particular case of mobile gaming is also considered within this case study, providing a platform by which to deliver and update content in response to evaluation outcomes. Discussion reflects upon the general challenges related to the assessment of cultural learning, and behavioural change in more general terms, suggesting future work should address the need to provide sustainable, research-driven platforms for game-based learning content.

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