ECGBL Mini Tracks

The Mini Tracks for ECGBL

  • Educational Non-Digital Games
  • Games Promoting Critical Thinking, Scientific Communication and Literacy in STEM
  • Mini Track on Educational Escape Rooms
  • Citizen Science Games
  • Game-based learning for lifelong learning

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Educational Non-Digital Games

Mini-Track Chair: SĂłnia Pais Polytechnic of Leiria, Portugal

Educational non-digital games refer to analog or traditional games that are designed with the primary purpose of facilitating learning and educational objectives. The games can take various forms, including board games, card games, role-playing games and other hands-on activities.

The use of non-digital games in education is based on the idea that interactive and engaging experiences can enhance the learning process by promoting critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration and other valuable skills.

Educators often leverage these games to make learning more enjoyable and effective across various subjects and age groups. This track aims to foster academic discussion on the effectiveness of analog games as tools for enhancing learning experiences and promoting engagement in educational contexts. 

Suggested topics include but are not limited to:

  • Theoretical frameworks for conceptualising game-based teaching with non-digital games;
  • Pedagogical approaches to facilitating learning in relation to non-digital games;
  • Pedagogical approaches that explore the effect of using non-digital games on the development of soft skills, such as teamwork, problem-solving, decision-making, leadership and critical thinking;
  • Comparisons and combinations of traditional approaches and Game-Based Learning approaches using non-digital games;
  • Case studies describing best and worst practice;
  • Empirical studies that explore or assess learning in relation to non-digital games activities.

Games Promoting Critical Thinking, Scientific Communication and Literacy in STEM

Mini-Track Chair:Prof Stavroula Andreopoulos,University of Toronto, Canada

The development of science literacy and communication skills are highly valued by academia and industry, in particular for career preparedness. In fact, there is a need to progress to a more sophisticated grasp of English communication in post secondary education.  This progress should be based on simultaneously addressing the modalities of scholarly reading, speaking/presentation and analytical writing.  As such, we are looking for games that can enhance communication, oral and written skills, reflective abilities, critical thinking and the overall learning experience in science education.

Suggested topics include but are not limited to:

  • Interactive instruction and individualized practice in scientific communication
  • Course transformation using educational media/games aimed at improving scientific literacy
  • Interactive games aimed at developing critical thinking and analytical skills needed for scholarly readings
  • Experimental studies examining the effects of interactive/educational media on the development of science literacy and communication
  • Scientific communication
  • Life Sciences
  • Reflection
  • Critical Thinking
  • English Language
  • Scientific Literacy

Mini Track on Educational Escape Rooms

Mini-Track Chair: Dr Panagiotis Fotaris, University of Brighton

Escape rooms serve as captivating adventure games wherein participants collaborate to decipher puzzles, clues, and formulate strategies to free themselves from a locked room or break into secured boxes. Beyond their entertainment value, these immersive experiences provide a unique opportunity to apply game-based learning principles. Participants are not merely players but active learners, facing complex problems that require critical thinking, effective communication, trust-building, and creativity to overcome.

From a pedagogical perspective, escape rooms embody a methodology rooted in a social-constructivist approach. Players, akin to students, confront novel and challenging problems, solvable through interactions with peers and the guidance of the gamemaster. Recent years have witnessed numerous endeavours to exploit the educational potential of the escape room concept. Research findings affirm that these educational escape rooms not only trigger heightened motivation and engagement but also induce a state of flow—a mental state recognized for its positive impact on successful learning.

This Research Topic delves into the pedagogical potential of escape rooms, illuminating their capacity to liberate education from traditional constraints. Emphasising the fostering of creativity, engagement, and collaboration, particularly in the dynamic landscape of modern education, we invite contributions that explore the transformative power of escape rooms in reshaping learning paradigms. Contributors are expected to demonstrate the educational potential and versatility of escape rooms for learning purposes.

Suggested topics include but are not limited to:

  • Versatile Applications of Escape Rooms in Education: Explore diverse uses across educational levels, subjects, and environments.
  • Strategic Pedagogical Approaches: Examine methodologies and frameworks supporting game-based learning in educational escape games.
  • Tech and AI in Educational Escape Room Experiences: Examine how technology and AI transform educational escape rooms for enhanced impact and engagement.
  • Measuring Learning Impact: Assess escape rooms' influence on cognitive skills, problem-solving, and collaboration.
  • Inclusive Escape Room Design: Address considerations for accessibility, ensuring inclusivity for all learners, including those with disabilities.

Mini Track on Citizen Science Games

Mini-Track Chair: Pietro Michelucci, The Human Computation Institute, USA

Citizen science games seek to blend scientific activities with ludic (playful) elements to better engage public volunteers in tackling challenging societal problems. Citizen science, as a field, seeks to engage public volunteers in a scientific activity with a win-win-win proposition: participants learn about science and develop greater awareness of societal issues, and researchers accelerate data collection and analysis.  The third “win” is that, as a society, we can potentially solve big problems faster.  Indeed, citizen science has enabled many research results now published in top tier academic journals and helped solve 50-year-old problems in disease research.

Many citizen science projects are gamified to motivate participation and improve engagement, but the degree and manner in which this occurs can vary greatly.  In some cases, it is enough to add a scoring function and provide a leaderboard.  In other cases, there have been more intrinsic game mechanics such as 3D object manipulation that shows how one person’s contributions fit into a larger context.  Today, there are many successful examples of this.

However, there exists a fundamental tension in citizen science games. Unlike traditional games, which are solely for entertainment, citizen science games must extract research-quailty data from participant activities.  A game mechanic might increase the entertainment value of a scientific task but inadvertently introduce a response bias that could skew research results.  Thus, a key challenge in gamifying citizen science is to figure out how to increase playability and engagement without corrupting the resultant data.

The enterprise of developing successful citizen science games is multifaceted and nuanced, carrying not only challenges in game mechanic development, but also introducing ethical issues.  Thus, this mini-track will leverage existing and emerging use cases to explore multifarious topics at the intersection of engagement, analysis, and impact.

Suggested topics include but are not limed to:

  • Approaches to gamification based on the nature of the cognitive tasks and engagement modalities (e.g., online, in the field, in the classroom, etc.)
  • Addressing the impacts of incentivization methods on research data quality
  • Quantifying in-game learning and skill development and how that information can be used to improve platform efficiency, user experience, and data quality
  • Ethical issues, such as equity, exploitation, and participation bias, surrounding the interplay of entertainment, education, and volunteerism

Mini Track on Game-based learning for lifelong learning

Mini-Track Chair: Nour El Mawas, University of Lorraine, France

The term Lifelong Learning holds the idea that learning should occur through a person’s lifetime and that it involves formal and informal domains (Cropley and Knapper, 2021). This is also supported by the European Lifelong Learning Initiative, which defines this term as a “continuously supported process which stimulates and empowers individuals to acquire all the knowledge, values, skills and understanding they will require throughout their lifetimes and to apply them with confidence, creativity and enjoyment in all roles, circumstances and environments” (Watson, 2003).

The use of game-based learning in teaching, learning, and training improves learning outcomes and increases learners’ motivation and engagement (Abdul Jabbar and Felicia, 2015). There are 2 different game-based learning methods (Kafai, 2006): instructionism (gameplay-based learning) and constructionism (game design-based learning). In the instructionist approach, learners play a serious game to learn, whereas in the constructionist approach, they learn by designing their own game

This mini-track will be an opportunity for trainers, teachers and researchers from schools, universities, colleges and companies to share and discuss gameplay-based learning and game design-based learning approaches that enhance lifelong learning. 

Suggested topics include but are not limited to:   

  • The design of games for lifelong learning;
  • Theoretical frameworks and/or practical strategies on how games can be used to enhance lifelong teaching and learning;
  • The assessment of games for lifelong learning perspectives;
  • Learning analytics and educational data mining for lifelong learning games;
  • Adaptivity and personalization in lifelong learning games