Games Based Learning:

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Innovation in Learning ...




Games Based Learning:
    Educational Workshops
    Site Licences
    Bespoke Game & Workshops
innovation in learning ...

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Games Based Learning Research


Herrington & Oliver, who have written extensively on situated learning & multimedia, suggest that to marry up to the theory, programmes need to:



games-ED approach is based around simulations of realistic scenarios, they are played collaboratively and support multiple conversations (within and between sub teams, group level and teacher / lecturer / facilitator led). The latter enables the learning to be guided as required. Our games based learning products generate scores and reports and are supported with reflective exercises.


For a review of recent Games Based Learning research have a look at the games-ED blog.

Games Based Learning: Theory

Today, games based learning refers to the use of computer games in education. The games themselves can be off the shelf commercial games such as Sims or purpose built products like games-ED.


Games based learning is constructivist learning. games-ED is built on theories such as situated learning, experiential learning and activity theory.


  1. Activity Theory: Games allow learners to participate and experiment in non-threatening scenarios.
  2. Experiential Learning: Games support learn by doing.
  3. Situated Learning: Games provide information in a relevant context or setting. Learning takes place alongside social interaction and collaboration. This latter point can be an issue with standalone games.


games-ED approach:

Games based learning that can be delivered in a single workshop / lesson or that can be expanded to anchor a series of lessons.

  1. Pre-work to generate a base level for impact assessment of the workshop / lesson(s).
  1. Introduction and pre-work.
  2. The game (3 rounds of plan > do > review):
  1. Additional activities to encourage reflection and extension of the learning.
  2. Assessment of impact.


Validity of Games Based Learning

A purpose built games based learning product has more likelihood of success when used in an educational setting. Even then, there is no guarantee of success. Our Analysis and Planning Tool and / or the RETAIN Model provides a framework to judge products. Click here for and analysis of games-ED against RETAIN.

Games Based Situated Learning

If Games Based Learning (GBL) is to succeed, it needs to be more than a bit of fun that motivates students. It should be underpinned with learning theory. Measuring outcomes such as fun, engagement, and motivation generates buy-in, but it provides no guiding principles for designers and educators (teachers/ lecturers). Situated Learning provides such a theoretical underpinning.


games-ED is underpinned by Games Based Situated Learning (GBSL). The products are simulations that are played collaboratively with support and scaffolding from educators. In the Games Based Situated Learning Paper opposite, games-ED products are judged against the theory. General GBSL principles are laid out. A GBSL model is put forward that asserts that learners benefit from learning from doing AND learning from being. A games-ED pedagogy shows how the products can be used to anchor a series of lessons / activities. It is through a blended approach that benefits and learning outcomes can be maximised.


GBL can succeed, but if educators are to take a leap of faith, then developers need to meet them halfway. Developers cannot expect decades of good teaching practice to be thrown away. GBSL needs to support the evolution of teaching and not require a revolution. games-ED achieves this aim.

Cover of (with link to) games-ED - Games Based Situated Learning Theory paper.

Games Based Situated Learning Paper

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Proof of the Pudding


The games-ED approach is built on 10 years experience in the serious games market. The products are built on successful learning simulations from pixelfountain, where they have been delivered to adults and young people in over 450 workshops.


The games-ED products continue to deliver exemplary results as can be seen in two recent case studies:



If you want to discuss how games based learning can benefit your students send us an email.

Cover of (with link to) games-ED - Games Based Learning Analysis and Planning Tool.

Games Based  Learning Analysis and Planning Tool

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Follow me on Twitter: Paul Ladley tweets about games based learning, learning simulations and wot not. Blogger logo: link to our games based learning blog.

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