Foundations of Game-Based Learning

Jan L. Plass, Bruce D. Homer, Charles K. Kinzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In this article we argue that to study or apply games as learning environments, multiple perspectives have to be taken into account. We first define game-based learning and gamification, and then discuss theoretical models that describe learning with games, arguing that playfulness is orthogonal to learning theory. We then review design elements of games that facilitate learning by fostering learners' cognitive, behavioral, affective, and sociocultural engagement with the subject matter. Finally, we discuss the basis of these design elements in cognitive, motivational, affective, and sociocultural foundations by reviewing key theories from education and psychology that are the most pertinent to game-based learning and by describing empirical research on learning with games that has been or should be conducted. We conclude that a combination of cognitive, motivational, affective, and sociocultural perspectives is necessary for both game design and game research to fully capture what games have to offer for learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-283
Number of pages26
JournalEducational Psychologist
Volume50
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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