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Teaching educational game design: Expanding the game design mindset with instructional aspects

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGames and Learning Alliance- 8th International Conference, GALA 2019, Proceedings
EditorsAntonios Liapis, Georgios N. Yannakakis, Manuel Gentile, Manuel Ninaus
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9783030343491
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational Conference on Games and Learning Alliance - Athens, Greece
Duration: 27 Nov 201929 Nov 2019

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


ConferenceInternational Conference on Games and Learning Alliance
Abbreviated titleGALA


It is argued that we are witnessing a paradigmatic shift toward constructionist gaming in which students design games instead of just consuming them. However, only a limited number of studies have explored teaching of educational Game Design (GD). This paper reports a case study in which learning by designing games strategy was used to teach different viewpoints of educational GD. In order to support design activities, we proposed a CIMDELA (Content, Instruction, Mechanics, Dynamics, Engagement, Learning Analytics) framework that aims to align game design and instructional design aspects. Thirty under-graduate students participated in the gamified workshop and designed math games in teams. The activities were divided into eight rounds consisting of design decisions and game testing. The workshop activities were observed and the designed games saved. Most of the students were engaged in the design activities and particularly the approach that allowed students to test the evolving game after each round, motivated students. Observations revealed that some of the students had isolated design mindset in the beginning and they had problems to consider design decisions from game design and instructional perspectives, but team-based design activities often led to fruitful debate with co-designers and helped some students to expand their mindsets.


  • Design mindset, Educational game, Game design, Game-based learning

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland