Educational games as a motivational tool: considerations on their potential and limitations

M Passarelli, FM Dagnino, J Earp, F Manganello, D Perisco, F Pozzi, C Bailey, C Perrotta, Thomas Buijtenweg, M Haggis-Burridge

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

5 Citations (Scopus)


There is considerable interest in leveraging video games to support students’ motivation. This involves employment of educational (serious) and entertainment games. However, while evidence indicates that games can enhance learning outcomes, doubts persist about whether they retain their enjoyable character in formal learning contexts. This study was carried out within the H2020 Gaming Horizons project, which involved a review of academic literature on the role of games in society, as well as 73 semi-structured interviews with relevant stakeholders, including players and educators, investigating their positions on game-related issues. The interviews suggested that players tend to view game-based learning – and specifically serious games at school – with scepticism. This is partly attributable to the perception that serious games have lower production values than entertainment games, and that gaming, as a voluntary, self-driven activity, clashes with the structured nature of school. Some educators reported individual and gender differences in the motivating power of games. However, the use of entertainment games to foster learning outcomes was seen favourably. Two focus groups devoted to the issue highlighted the need for carefully tailoring the gaming experience to both context and student, and the importance of developing a sustainable business model for enhancing serious games quality.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 11th International Conference on Computer Supported Education
EditorsH. Lane, Susan Zvacek, James Uhomoibhi
ISBN (Electronic)978-989-758-367-4
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • game-based Learning
  • motivation
  • gamification
  • serious games
  • Motivation
  • Game-based Learning
  • Gamification
  • Serious Games


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