ECGBL Mini Tracks

The Mini Tracks for ECGBL

  • Educational Escape Rooms
  • Learning by Designing Games
  • Measurement & Evaluation for Game-Based Learning
  • Literacy Development with Game Based Learning
  • Game-based Learning to Support Well-being and Mental Health
  • Frugal and Playful Learning Spaces
  • Games and Experimentation: Using Games as Experiments
  • Board Games for Learning and Training
  • GBL for Lifelong Learning
  • Games Promoting Critical Thinking, Scientific Communication and Literacy in STEM
  • Educational Possibilities of Commercial Off-the-Shelf Games (COTS)
Submit your Abstract to an Academic Conference  

Educational Escape Rooms

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

ECGBL 2022 Mini Track on Educational Escape Rooms  

Escape rooms are adventure games in which players work together to solve puzzles using hints, clues, and a strategy to escape from a locked room. Despite being a relatively new concept, they are becoming increasingly popular as a team building activity in a post-pandemic world as they require players to quickly adopt successful team strategies in order to progress through the game successfully. The nature of the game means that the players’ communication skills, trust, critical thinking, and creativity will all be put to the test.

From a pedagogical point of view, escape games are a methodology based on a social-constructivist approach, with the player (student) being called to face new, rather difficult problems, which can be solved thanks to interaction with peers and support of the gamemaster (teacher). With that in mind, in recent years there have been several attempts to exploit the escape game concept for educational purposes, as research findings have demonstrated that educational escape games elicit high motivation and engagement on the part of the participants. Moreover, it has been shown that many participants experienced flow, a state of mind, which has been considered as beneficial for successful learning.

The focus of this Research Topic is to provide an overview of how escape games are currently being used a game-based learning approach to break out from the traditional classroom routine and to foster creativity, engagement, and collaboration, especially in a post-pandemic world. Contributors are expected to demonstrate the educational potential and versatility of escape games for learning purposes.

Suggested topics include but are not limited to:

  • Case studies describing best and worst practices
  • Comparisons and combinations of traditional approaches and Game-Based Learning approaches using escape games
  • Game-Based Learning methodologies and frameworks for educational escape games
  • Curriculum integration of educational escape games
  • Players‚Äô perception of educational escape games

Learning by Designing Games

Pedro Neves
Phil Lopes

Mini Track Chair: Pedro Neves & Phil Lopes, Lus√≥fona University, Portugal  

ECGBL 2022 Mini Track on Learning by Designing Games  

Game Based Learning (GBL) is typically associated with the idea of learning through play, but it is also important to consider that the act of designing a game (digital, analog, locative, etc.) can be a relevant form of learning, for instance teaching computer programming by implementing a digital game, or economics through designing the supply and demand of certain products within a simulated virtual world or in a boardgame.  

Relevant aspects of learning through play are also present, and even deepened, in learning by designing play. Game-playing is particularly well-suited to learning and problem-solving in contexts where the best solution is highly-contingent, with non-obvious solution paths, and the integration of multiple criteria ‚Äď strongly exemplifying second-order problem-solving. The second-order nature of these problem-domains is deepened for students that are learning by making games for those domains, because game design is in itself an excellent example of second-order problem-solving.  

The focus of this track is to look at novel possibilities in learning through game-making as second-order GBL. The track welcomes case-studies, models, and proposals on game-making for learning with a particular focus on game-creation toolkits and frameworks. Learning through game-making, writing rules for procedurality (including the writing of procedural narratives), and AI are all valued areas of focus (e.g. AI-based Game Design). Applications of learning-by-game-making to previously-untapped educational fields are of particular interest. Suggested topics include but are not limited to:

  • Teaching through Game Design in analog, mixed-media or digital games;
  • New domains for learning through game-making;
  • Democratization and scalability of game-making, such as frameworks and toolkits;
  • Developing Game Artificial Intelligence techniques such as Procedural Content Generation, Machine Learning, etc., for the purposes of learning a specific topic (e.g. Geography, Narrative, History);
  • Assignments and project-based learning through game-making;
  • Students creating serious games.

Measurement & Evaluation for Game-Based Learning

Mini Track Chair: Dr. Ronald Dyer, University of Sheffield, UK  

ECGBL 2022 Mini Track Measurement & Evaluation for Game-Based Learning  

Games are now pervasive within the education sector, yet a challenge remains regarding both identification and measurement of their impact on individual and programmatic performance. While increased engagement and motivation are commons elements cited as it relates to games, the question remains as to how do we capture the relevant data (qualitative or quantitative) requisite for identification of return on investment/learning as performance indicators to support their validity within the curricula. Additionally, how can we use measurement to support sustainable integration into the learning ecosystem. This mini-track focuses on the examination and potential development of various measurement frameworks to support construction of appropriate models for measurement of game effectiveness.  

Five generic themes have been identified below to form the basis of potential approaches/model integration. These measurement methodologies aim to assess the benefits of games both empirically and as a value-added component across learning environment.  

Suggested topics include but are not limited to:  

  • Game assessment diagnostic instrument(s)
  • Game performance scorecards (E.g. Scoring Rubric)
  • Pre/Post Knowledge Assessment Measurement
  • Qualitative Reflection instruments
  • Summative vs. Formative measures for classroom assessment

Literacy Development with Game Based Learning

Mini Track Chair: Stina Thunberg, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden  

ECGBL 2022 Mini Track on Literacy Development with Game Based Learning  

Literacy skills will always be some of the most important things we will learn or teach. The basic nature of understanding and being able to communicate via text is as important today as it has ever been. The connections between games and literacy development are well described in theory (Gee, Gee & Hayes). However, there is a lack of research of whether literacy development took place and if it did, how do we frame this theoretically. Another issue is the range of approaches to games in education. What educational game approaches are most likely to stimulate literacy development, and in what perspectives?  

This mini-track welcomes a broad perspective of literacy concerning both reading and writing skills as well as engagement. The aim of this mini track is to generate an academic discussion on different ways of studying and enhancing literacy development through games, both analogue and digital ones.  

Suggested topics include but are not limited to:  

  • Different approaches to the use of commercial games in the classroom to stimulate literacy development
  • How game elements or games designs can stimulate different aspects of literacy.
  • Informal learning environments, studies of literacy development in out-of-school game settings.
  • Theoretical frameworks to study literacy development in game settings
  • How to design an educational game or a teaching design using games-based learning of gamification to enable literacy development.
  • Teachers and teacher students experience of games and literacy
  • Case studies of successful games for literacy development.

Game-based Learning to Support Well-being and Mental Health

Carla Sousa
F√°bio Dias
Micaela Fonseca,

Mini Track Chair: Carla Sousa, F√°bio Dias and Micaela Fonseca, Lus√≥fona University, Portugal  

ECGBL 2022 Mini Track on Game-based Learning to Support Well-being and Mental Health  

Today, the potential of games to promote learning processes is already widely documented. However, it is necessary to support a broad view of the acquisition of multiple competencies through games, which can include a person-centered, rather than skills-driven approach. Therefore, we are interested in how it is possible to promote well-being as a whole, by empowering players and fostering their mental health. This includes all contexts, therapeutic and non-therapeutic, where the characteristics of games, are explored. It is also important to emphasize the potential role of inclusive design and accessibility of games as a crucial factor in these tasks, considering that the advantages of games for psychological well-being should be applied to all players, regardless of their characteristics and/or specific support needs.  

In this mini-track, we welcome proposals that explore the potential of game-based learning interventions in the promotion of variables associated with well-being and mental health. This includes the exploration of games‚Äô unique characteristics as triggers for psychological and/or physical well-being, and how this can be associated with mental health. It might also include studies that critically approach the causal use of games as having both risks and benefits for these variables.  

Suggested topics include but are not limited to:

  • The potential of game-based learning to foster well-being and mental health.
  • Game-based learning in clinical/therapeutic contexts.
  • In-game behaviors as a predictor of psychological well-being related variables.
  • The role of accessibility in game-based learning for groups with specific support needs.
  • The role of games in the promotion of psychological well-being during isolation.

Frugal and Playful Learning Spaces

Mini Track Chair: Dominic Mahon, Coventry University, UK

ECGBL 2022 Mini Track on Frugal and Playful Learning Spaces  

This track is focused on exploring how educators at all levels have adapted spaces to facilitate learning through play. This would include projects where educational institutions such as schools or universities have worked with communities to design playful learning spaces and projects where universities have acted as anchor institutions.  

In terms of physical spaces, we are interested to hear from people who have been involved in projects to create playful spaces (indoor or outdoor) that have been designed to promote learning and development through play. Of particular interest are projects that have utilised frugal principles such as recycling, resourcefulness and sustainability and that have used Maker/DIY approaches.  

We are also interested in virtual and hybrid spaces. The pandemic has forced many education providers to move teaching and learning online. We are interested to learn how educators have adapted virtual spaces to encourage playful and cooperative learning. These learning spaces could include but are not limited to VLEs, virtual and augmented reality.  

Suggested topics include but are not limited to:

  • Adapting physical spaces for learning through play
  • Exploiting trailing edge technology for play
  • Course transformation using online communal spaces for learning through play
  • Learning playgrounds
  • Creating virtual or augmented reality spaces for playful learning
  • Hybrid (pervasive and immersive) spaces

Games and Experimentation: Using Games as Experiments

Mini Track Chair: Dr Ana Rita Farias, Lusófona University, Portugal

ECGBL 2022 Mini Track on Games and Experimentation: Using Games as Experiments. 

Games can be used as experimental forms, giving researchers the tools they need to perform powerful variable changes and operationalizations. Simultaneously, researchers have complete control over their stimulus materials and can design appropriate experimental and control groups, which improves the internal validity and replicability of investigations. 

Gamification tools or games themselves allow researchers to investigate a rich set of variables. For example, games require the user to engage in multiple activities, which can invoke a variety of psychological processes, depending on the game design. Individual neurological and psychological processes (e.g., memory encoding, judgment, decision making), as well as mechanisms underlying social abilities (e.g., interpersonal and group cooperation and coordination) can all be identified by using games. Additionally, games are essential stimuli in any research aimed at understanding games and gaming as a phenomenon, evaluating design decisions, and quantifying the consequences of playing or the gaming experience itself, in addition to psychological studies. As a result, games are a great way to look at a variety of issues that are important in several fields, such as psychology, education, design, marketing or behavioral economics. 

Because games or gamification tools can be used as experimental forms, the purpose of this topic is to bring together research that employs games or gamification tools as a mode of experimentation looking at the benefits and drawbacks of using games in experimental research. All research papers using games or gamification tools in an experimental environment are recommended. 

Suggested topics include but are not limited to:

  • experimental studies using games or gamification tools to:
    • variable changes and operationalizations.
    • psychological processes.
    • quantify the consequences of playing and gaming experience related variable.
    • explore educational processes.
    • explore performance indicators.

Board Games for Learning and Training

Mini Track Chair: Helena Pereira, Lusófona University, Portugal

ECGBL 2022 Mini Track on Board Games for Learning and Training  

Board games have re-emerged in recent years and seen their potential recognized as an innovative and versatile tool in several settings, namely in formal and non-formal education. The game experience simulates social and emotional processes, promoting the development of skills in players and challenging them to deal with situations that: include cooperation and competition; involve creative solutions to solve problems; and require from players the ability to manage their emotions.  

Researchers have shown interest in board games and how they can facilitate learning in different contexts and fields of knowledge. Despite the need to expand research on this topic, the existing literature focuses on the relationship between board games and: playing and motivation to learn, improving social interactions, teamwork, communication, emotional regulation, learning from mistakes, tolerance for losing, mathematical learning, computational thinking, game studies and game design.  

The aim of this mini track is to highlight existing approaches and explore emerging tendencies in this field. Submission of case studies, projects, best and worst practises, exchange of experiences and research results and other applications of board games for educational purposes are welcomed.  

Suggested topics include but are not limited to:

  • Commercial board games (or adaptations) with serious applications
  • Integrating board games into formal and non-formal education and training settings
  • Designing board games with educational purposes
  • Promoting socioemotional skills through board games
  • Board games as a tool for the development of critical and creative thinking
  • Using board games for social inclusion
  • Boardgaming role in encouraging offline time and its impact on social interactions

GBL for Lifelong Learning

Mini Track Chair: Nour El Mawas, Université de Lille, France

ECGBL 2022 Mini Track on GBL for Lifelong Learning 

The term Lifelong Learning holds the idea that learning should occur through a person‚Äôs lifetime and that it involves formal and informal domains (Cropley, 1978). This is also supported by the European Lifelong Learning Initiative, which defines this term as a ‚Äúcontinuously 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‚ÄĚ (Watson, 2003).¬†

The use of game-based learning in teaching, learning, and training improves learning outcomes and increases learners motivation and engagement. 

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, students learn by designing their own game. 

This mini-track will focus on game-based learning in Lifelong Learning and it will be an opportunity for 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


Games Promoting Critical Thinking, Scientific Communication and Literacy in STEM

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

ECGBL 2022 Mini Track on Games Promoting Critical Thinking, Scientific Communication and Literacy in STEM  

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

Educational Possibilities of Commercial Off-the-Shelf Games (COTS)

Mini Track Chair: Jorge Oceja, Universidad de Cantabria, Spain  

ECGBL 2022 Mini Track on Educational Possibilities of Commercial Off-the-Shelf Games (COTS)  

Among the different products that can be used in game-based learning, commercial games occupy a central role. Very often students have mixed feeling about educational games as their didactic content and, sometimes, their poor quality can contaminate the learning experiences.  

On the other hand, many commercial games, even though they were not created with an educational intention on mind, they might be excellent tools for targeting course contents.

From math teachers working through Minecraft to History teachers using the Assassins Creed franchise, from sociocultural and dialogical perspectives on how to use triple A products to educators using indie games in the classroom, there is a whole plethora of educational possibilities.

In this track we will highlight the artistic and cultural relevance of commercial games while exploring how they can be used to promote educational competences. Suggested topics include but are not limited to:

  • Classroom experiences using commercial games
  • Theoretical analysis of the educational possibilities of commercial games (comparison with other products such as educational games, gamification, etc.)
  • Curation of commercial games that could be used in educational settings
  • Projects developed for non-formal education: senior citizens, populations at risk, etc.
  • Works studying the diversity of commercial games (indie games, triple A, political games, pervasive games, etc.)