Playful Teaching, Learning Games

Volume 5 of the series Contemporary Approaches to Research in Learning Innovations pp 1-19

The Impact of Visual Design Quality on Game-Based Learning

  • Nicola WhittonAffiliated withManchester Metropolitan University
  • , Peter WhittonAffiliated withUniversity of Salford

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Computer games have the potential to provide an engaging and pedagogically-sound alternative to traditional teaching (e.g. Connolly et al, 2007; Ebner & Holzinger, 2007; Akkerman et al, 2009). They can support exploration, interaction and providean immersive experience in which learners can collaborate with others to solve problems and learn from their mistakes. However, a major limitation on their use is the ability for educators to obtain or create games that meet the desired learning outcomes for a particular context and are appropriate for their learners. Commercialoff-the-shelf (COTS) games have the advantage of being professionally produced but are designed primarily for entertainment – so even if an appropriate game can be found there are still the challenges of steep learning curves, time-consuming play, and expense to overcome before they could be deployed in an educational context. Designing games from scratch requires expertise in game design, graphics and programming and, while games produced in this way may meet their educational objectives, the limited time, know-how and budgets available mean that the look-andfeel of the game is less likely to be professionally executed than a commercial game.