A Framework for Game-Based Learning Design in Higher Education

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftKonferenceartikelpeer review


Game-based learning in higher education has been challenged by critiques addressed concerning simplicity, lack
of depth and a formalistic and systemic approach, which is in contradiction to higher education’s demands for critical thinking
and exploration. There has been a tendency to focus on simple game structures that only feed the player with information,
rather than encouraging curiosity and exploration. Difficulties are well known regarding the creation of a direct connection
between educational content and the basic game structure. This paper will through an in-depth interview with World of
Warcraft gamers and longitudinal educational design studies, develop a framework for a reconceptualisation of game
principles in higher education. The methods include three gamers and 150 students from the technological educations
program at University College of Northern Denmark. Based on qualitative empirical data a content analysis is conducted. The
empirical findings reveal how the principles from game-based learning can support the students learning process and afford
critical thinking and Exploration relevant for higher education. The framework for game-based learning, addressed in this
paper, can contribute to the existing knowledge as it point towards an idea of how to use gaming principles to challenge
existing normativity within game-based learning and subsequently inspire further developments for how academic topics,
including critical thinking, can be learned in a much more exploratory way through games. Second, the article elaborates on
the importance of the game-design supporting the intended learning processes. It is stressed that a holistic design strategy
is needed to maintain the educational demands for critical thinking and exploration. However, further studies are suggested
testing the evidence of academic learning in the use of game-based learning design in higher education. Primarily, studies
addressing the effect of game-based learning in student critical thinking and exploration.
TidsskriftEuropean Conference on Games Based Learning
Udgave nummerOct. 2019
Sider (fra-til)872-880
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - 20 sep. 2019
Begivenhed13th European Conference on Games Based Learning: ECGBL 2019 - University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Danmark
Varighed: 3 okt. 20194 okt. 2019


Konference13th European Conference on Games Based Learning
LokationUniversity of Southern Denmark


  • Uddannelse, professioner og erhverv
  • game-based learning
  • higher education
  • Læring, pædagogik og undervisning
  • Learning Design


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