University of Malta

UOM Main Page
News and Events Button
Campus Map button

Björn Berg Marklund, Per Backlund and Henrik Engström

The Practicalities of Educational Games: Challenges of taking games into formal educational settings

The complexity of balancing educational purpose and engaging gameplay mechanics through appropriate design decisions has frequently been discussed in learning game literature. The discussion has primarily focused on highlighting connections between game design principles and learning principles and making guidelines for achieving engaging learning scenarios through game mechanics tailored to specific subject matters. Play, and the learning derived from it, is thus often studied as a phenomenon of two disparate forces colliding inside a closed system, and the complexity of designing games for educational purposes is seen as a product of the dichotomies between these two forces. However, the discussions on the design of learning games and their potential as learning tools seldom take the practicalities of formal educational environments into consideration. In this paper learning game design principles are compared with outcomes of empirical studies on developers’ and educators’ working practices obstacles that complicate learning game design and application are explored in detail. Common design flaws that can make seemingly well-crafted learning games fall into disuse are explained by examining their area of application. The primary conclusion of this research is that the properties of the settings that learning games are placed into significantly alter the way they are and can be played by introducing constraints as well as facilitating conditions to the play sessions. The marketing, development, design, and application methodologies found in the broader field of game studies needs significant restructuring if they are to be applied to game creation for formal educational settings.

Manuel Ninaus, Silvia E. Kober, Elisabeth V.C. Friedrich, Christa Neuper and Guilherme Wood

The potential use of neurophysiological signals for learning analytics
Learning analytics is a very promising field for improving education, teaching and learning by collecting user data in serious games. However, the research on the use of physiological traces in learning analytics is sparse. Therefore, in this empirical explorative study we used functional near-infrared spectroscopy to examine if neurophysiological data can help to identify whether learning mechanisms during playing a simple game. We identified increased brain activation in fronto-parietal areas while users actively learned rules or applied knowledge during gaming. In contrast, in a random condition, where users only reacted to the game without the possibility to learn or apply knowledge, increased brain activation was observed in central motor areas of the brain, reflecting the motoric interaction with the game per se. This preliminary neurophysiological empirical study showed that it is possible to use neurophysiological data to get insight on user learning during playing a very simple game. Future studies have to examine this effect in a more complex learning situation.


Chris Christou and Despina Michael
Aliens versus Humans: Do avatars make a difference in how we play the game?
An immersive first-person 3D computer game was designed and developed to investigate if the visual characteristics of a player’s avatar influences their behavior. Two types of gender-matched biped avatar were used: Normal looking Humanoids and tougher looking Aliens. In the game, players had to block incoming projectiles fired from two canons with their hands. The number of times the players were hit as well as a measure of how hard they hit the projectiles was recorded. Results show differences in these measures dependent on the type of avatar used, in line with previous findings whereby people appear to be influenced by the perceived characteristics of their digital representation.


Ilmari Lahti, Tomas Rosin, Pekka Qvist, Ville Vuorela, Mika Luimula and Jouni Smed
IndustrySim: Finding the Fun in Industrial Simulations
This paper introduces IndustrySim, a game attempting to combine truly engaging gameplay with state-of-the-art industrial simulation that would suit education and casual gaming alike. We present the concept of the game and then discuss challenges and insights encountered so far regarding the asset management, programming and game design behind its implementation.


Tomi Mäntylä, Ilmari Lahti, Harri Ketamo, Mika Luimula and Jouni Smed
Designing Reality Guides
Reality guides aim at assisting, teaching or supporting the user in the real world. Among other things they are used to illustrate history, to educate students or to provide services to visitors. In this paper, we introduce three concept applications for reality guides related to history, entertainment and education. We reflect their design to theoretical frameworks on gameness and narrativity. We also present practical considerations related to the quality of content that affect the implementation of reality guide applications.



Robin J. S. Sloan, Dayna Galloway and Iain Donald
A sweetspot for innovation: Developing games with purpose through student-staff collaboration
Within industry as well as academia, developing games that have wider impact on society has been of particular interest in the last decade. The increasing use of terms such as ‘games with purpose’, ‘serious games’ and ‘gamification’ has been mirrored in a flurry of activity in games research. Broader applications of games beyond entertainment are now well-understood and accepted, with universities and companies excelling in creating games to serve particular needs. However, it is not explicitly clear how undergraduates of game design and 
development courses can be directly involved in serious game creation. With most undergraduates inspired by commercial games development, and the games industry requiring that universities teach specific technical skills in their courses, balancing the research aspirations of academics with the educational requirements of an appropriate undergraduate course can be a difficult balancing act. In this paper, the authors present three case studies of games with purpose developed through collaboration between undergraduate students and academic staff. In all cases, the educational value of the projects for the students is considered in relation to the research value for the academics, who face increasing demands to develop research outcomes despite a necessity to provide a first-rate learning experience and nurture future game developers.


Steven Galea, Kurt Debattista and Sandro Spina

GPU-based Selective Sparse Sampling for Interactive High-Fidelity Rendering
Physically-based renderers can produce highly realistic imagery; however such methods suffer from lengthy execution times, which make them impractical for use in interactive applications. Selective rendering exploits limitations in the human visual system to render images that are perceptually similar to high-fidelity renderings, in a fraction of the time. In this paper, we describe a novel GPU-based selective rendering algorithm that uses density of indirect lighting samples on the image plane as a selective variable. A high-speed saliency-guided mechanism is used to sample and evaluate a set of representative pixels locations on the image plane, yielding a sparse representation of indirect lighting in the scene. An image inpainting algorithm is used to reconstruct a dense representation of the indirect lighting component, which is then combined with the direct lighting component to produce the final rendering. Experimental evaluation demonstrates that our selective rendering algorithm achieves a good speedup when compared to standard interleaved sampling, and is significantly faster than a traditional GPU-based high-fidelity renderer.




Gonçalo Pereira, Rui Prada and Ana Paiva

Disaster Prevention Social Awareness The Stop Disasters! Case Study
Serious games are increasingly being regarded as a valuable means to support educative processes and make people aware of important issues. Some of these address social awareness domains with the goal of promoting collective recognition of a given local or global issue as a first step towards its resolution. Even though nowadays widely used, serious games still require further study with regard to their impact. This gap in studies is especially strong in the domain of social awareness. The goal of this work is to address this gap by studying the impact of a highly disseminated serious game that had not yet been evaluated in any way: Stop Disasters!. We studied the impact of the game both in terms of the awareness and player experience it created. As a result we found strong statistical evidence to a positive impact of the serious game in player’s awareness to wildfire prevention measures achieved in an overall positive and valuable game experience. This result provides further evidence to the positive impact of social awareness serious games in transmitting messages regarding social relevant issues in an overall positive and engaging experience.





Keith Bugeja, Sandro Spina, Kurt Debattista and Alan Chalmers
High-fidelity Graphics for Dynamically Generated Environments using Distributed Computing
In many serious games and applications, increasing visual fidelity enhances immersion. While physically-based renderers can produce highly realistic imagery by correctly simulating light propagation, these are impractical in the context of interactive applications due to lengthy computations. For real-time applications, several rasterisation-based techniques have been developed to augment the visual realism in a scene, such as the inclusion of shadows and ambient occlusion. These techniques however, come at the cost of additional compute resources from GPUs. This paper describes a novel technique which takes advantage of the distributed computational resources available at peers participating in a serious game to precompute the light distribution in the virtual environment. This additional information is then included within the vertex geometry of the scene and used at no extra costs whilst rendering. Experimental evaluation shows that the rendered virtual environments are much more realistic and more closely match reference imagery generated by physically-based renderers.



Stella Doukianou, Panagiotis Petridis, Ian Dunwell and Joshua Cooper

Assessing Risk and Patience through Play: A usability test of two Serious Games
Adapting the behaviour of energy consumers to follow environmentally-friendly consumption patterns is a central challenge when seeking to address environmental concerns. To perform such adaptation, an understanding of an individual user's traits can allow for customised solutions to be delivered, increasing the likelihood of impact. This paper presents two games derived from existing experiments assessing risk aversion and delayed gratification, created to elicit players’ personality traits. The purpose of these games is to enable the generation of predictive behavioural models, and thus design an adaptive and dynamic game promoting responsible energy consumption. To assess the usability of the games, two QUIS questionnaires were filled in by domain experts. The results show a broadly positive reception of the games' usability; taking into account time, financial and other resources, though also highlight some areas for future work. More broadly, knowledge generated has the potential to inform designs of similar games that adapt behavioural tasks to elicit an understanding of the user.




David Panzoli, Maxime Sanselone, Stéphane Sanchez, Cédric Sanza, Catherine Lelardeux, Pierre Lagarrigue and Yves Duthen

Introducing a design methodology for multi-character collaboration in immersive learning games
Traditionally, the focal point in the design of a learning game is the determination of learning objectives and the modelling of scenarios allowing for the objectives to be reached by the learner. In an immersive collaborative multi-character learning game, human players and AI-controlled characters are expected to collaborate and communicate in a shared virtual environment. From the designer’s perspective, the challenge of designing the scenario and having a team of characters follow 
them as expected is raised. In this paper, we introduce a methodology where the environment is made a central design component of the game. The idea underlying our approach is to model and use a semantic representation of the environment where every object and characteristic playing a role in the game scenarios is 
represented in an easily accessible and non-ambiguous fashion. This unique representation is capable of guaranteeing at once that the learning scenarios will seamlessly be applied and that players and non playing characters will effectively collaborate with each other within the same 3D environment. Besides, the 
approach also enables to monitor the activity of each player and deliver a personalised performance assessment against the learning objectives. This paper is presented as a case study where practical examples from 3DVOR, a medical learning game currently under development, are provided to illustrate and to demonstrate the usability of the methodology.  



Alexis Le Compte, Tim Watson and David Elizondo

Serious Games: A design methodology from concept to end-user
Since 2002, serious games have received much attention from industry, government and the research community. However, the large number of definitions available still present limitations in terms of contexts and games classification. Indeed, these definitions exclude certain types of games and do not cover certain contexts where serious games could be deployed. Therefore this paper introduces a shift in the interpretation of serious games, allowing a more flexible definition which can address these limitations. This new definition states that games, including serious games, are actually less of a type of game and more of a process. Consequently, it simplifies the classification of serious games and enables researchers to focus on a more comprehensive methodology rather than on game design. What is more, research on serious games appears fragmented, lacking a complete design methodology and showing little attention to the deployment process. A main objective of this paper is to introduce a better structured methodology which provides a complete approach to serious games. To this end, the methodology gathers techniques and benefits of existing methodologies and frameworks for each process described, with a particular emphasis on the deployment process of games in serious contexts. Furthermore, the methodology is especially designed to be flexible so that it can be consistently applied in any context.




Shawn Cassar, Matthew Montebello and Saviour Zammit

Hybrid Peer to Peer and Server Client System for Limited User Multiplayer First Person Style Games 
Multiplayer gaming, especially online gaming, has become something prominent in today’s age. Mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, are taking over the computing scene, with most devices being able to run games that are considered to be equivalent to their computer counterparts. Still, despite all the advances, players still experience network latency, thus we will be looking at how Peer to Peer hybrids, may help in reducing the latency effects of having a classical client server network.  



Mark Bennett

Semantic Content Generation Framework for Game Worlds
As virtual worlds in games become larger and more detailed, the need for rich, interactive content to realistically populate these worlds becomes greater. Content is expensive and slow to create manually and does not scale once created. Procedural content generation offers an attractive alternative for providing this content. There are several methods for generating different types of content including terrain and some types of organisms. However, these methods are hard to control and can give inconsistent results. A method of providing a high level, semantic context to such procedural methods may offer a potential solution. 
Such an approach may also allow manually created content to be placed appropriately and in a scalable manner in the world. Finally, semantic knowledge may be used to annotate content to allow greater interactivity and improved AI. This paper suggests such a method. Making use of semantic networks for storing knowledge about the potential content of the virtual world and using stateful graph traversal algorithms to convert the semantic knowledge into concrete instances, this method supports the procedural generation of rich complex content for virtual worlds.




Yaëlle Chaudy, Thomas Connolly and Thomas Hainey

EngAGe: A link between Educational Games Developers and Educators
Assessment is crucial to both learners, to receive feedback on their progress, and educators, to evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching. Serious games (SGs) usually offer an assessment system. However, if the majority of educators agree that using an SG increases the motivation, learning and retention of their students, many of them would not trust its assessment to verify that the learning goals have been met. To do so, they would use a more conventional method, such as a paper-based test. We believe the main reasons for that are: the teacher’s lack of ownership of the game and the rigidness of the SG itself as it usually cannot be changed by the teacher. 
In this paper, we present an assessment engine capable of overcoming these issues. The engine is used both by SG developers and teachers and acts as a link between the two. An example will be presented to illustrate its features and data from a pilot study with SG developers will be analysed. The engine is not only useful to teachers and developers regarding assessment but, due to its core design, it also offers the possibility of learning analytics.


Evangelia Mavromihelaki, Jessica Eccles, Neil Harrison, Thomas Grice-Jackson, Jamie Ward, Hugo Critchley and Katerina Mania

Cyberball3D+: A 3D Serious Game for fMRI Investigating Social Exclusion and Empathy
This paper presents a 3D interactive gaming paradigm for the secluded space of an fMRI scanner. The Cyberball3D+ game is a virtual ball-toss game in which the participant is either excluded or not from ball tossing played by three virtual players and the subject in the scanner. It has been used in simple sketch mode by neuroscientists for research on ostracism, social exclusion or rejection as well as discrimination and prejudice. The game proposed is designed to render an interactive Virtual Environment (VE) on an fMRI display, enabling the conduct of formal neuroscientific experiments and investigating the effects of social exclusion, empathy and different level of anthropomorphism on human brain activity. Although, here, the focus is on the technical implementation of the system, the goal is to use this system to explore whether the pain felt by someone when socially excluded is the same when observing other people get socially excluded and whether there are differences in relation to empathy for friends and strangers. Moreover, for the first time, we propose a validated neuroscientific measure of character believability and emotional engagement. The system was developed in close collaboration between the Technical University of Crete where the technical implementation took place and the Brighton and Sussex Medical School where the initial fMRI experiments were conducted using the system proposed. A broader aim of this work is to assess whether such powerful social-psychological studies could be usefully carried out within VEs advancing cognitive neuroscience and computer graphics as well as serious gaming research.


Matteo Riatti

Explaining AI in videogames
Videogames feature non-player-characters. Such ingame entities are controlled by an artificial intelligence that is sought to match the user's skill. By defining and understanding the given human-computer-interaction videogame genres can be differentiated in either competitive matches or coherent plays. It will be claimed, that the debate between ludologists and narratologists on interactive storytelling pays debt to the fact, that structuralistic interpretation of the use of AI has not yet found its way into the academic discourse.



Simon Mayr, Wolfgang Hörleinsberger and Paolo Petta

The Trauma Treatment Game: Scientific, methodological and ethical challenges in developing Serious Games for Psychotherapy
Serious games deliver interactive worlds in support of a wide range of application areas. Addressing the current paucity of scientific empirical studies in game-based psychotherapy, we address scientific and methodological challenges and their implications for the design of serious games for this domain. We do so in the context of a comprehensive multistage design process that preceded the final game concept of the “Trauma Treatment Game”, a serious game to support individualised interventions to children of age eight to twelve suffering from trauma. 


Gregor Žavcer

Design Pattern Canvas: Towards Unified Serious Game Design Patterns
The aim of this paper is to start a dialogue and search for a unified game design tool within the game design and research community. As a possible direction, presented paper outlines the practice and importance of design pattern use in serious game development and argues that design patterns can make serious game development more efficient by enabling knowledge exchange and better communication between different stakeholders. Furthermore, the use of design patterns provides a foundation for structured research and analysis of games. In order to help advance the state of game design the paper proposes a new method - the Serious Games Design Pattern Canvas or shorter Design Pattern Canvas (DPC). DPC is a design template for developing new or documenting existing (serious) game design patterns. It is a visual chart with elements describing a pattern's purpose, mechanic, audience, consequences, collected data, related research and ethical considerations. It assists game designer in aligning their activities by illustrating patterns characteristics and potential trade-offs. One of the goals of the DCP is to either help break larger game design problems into smaller pieces or assist in a bottom up approach of designing serious games. It is important to note, that the paper proposes the first step for co-creation of a game design tool and further research and validation of the DCP is needed.


Cristian Lorenzini, Raffaello Brondi, Marcello Carrozzino, Chiara Evangelista and Michele Nisticò

LawVille - A Collaborative Serious Game for Citizenship Education
This paper presents LawVille, a Web-Based Collaborative 3D Serious Game aimed at teaching citizenship and the Italian Constitution to secondary school students.



Bojana Vukovic

Cultural Aspects in Serious Games: Using Folk Literature in Designing Serious Games
Serious games have become an interesting research field and they are used in various application areas. Nowadays, they are also applied in psychotherapy. Developing serious games that might support psychotherapy is a challenge for researchers. This paper proposes a new idea of using folk literature in designing serious games for psychotherapy. It discusses beliefs underlying folk literature, as well as different uses of this type of literature, especially fairy tales, in psychotherapy and approaches that are dealing with them. The paper presents different approaches to cultural influences in psychotherapy, the use of folk literature, metaphors and process of imagination. The target group of players, relevant for this study, are children and adolescents. The paper suggests that using fairy tale characters could facilitate process of identification in patients and help them successfully cope with problems. It is recommended in deep research of patients' cultural background, and when selecting a relevant fairy tale character from their tradition. One of the aims of this work is to raise awareness about the importance of culture in designing serious games for psychotherapy.




Ryan Sammut, Neville Attard and Dylan Seychell

Gamification of Project Management within a Corporate Environment
This study sought to understand the concept of Gamification, the science that drives it, how to successfully implement Gamification and the issues that may arise when Gamification is introduced in a corporate environment. This was achieved through the development of 2 artifacts that were used in an experimental exercise to test the relevance and acceptance of Gamification in Project Management. Due to the limited secondary data available related to Gamification for project management within a corporate environment, this research project conducts exploratory, qualitative research to provide further insight in relation to this topic. Encouraging data in favour of the introduction of Gamification was extracted with a number of discussion points which may require further evaluation. 





Jing Guo, Nicolas Singer and Rémi Bastide
A Serious Game Engine for Interview Simulation: Application to the development of doctor-patient communication skills
In this paper we present the architecture of a conversation engine aimed to simulate an interview process between a human and a computer player. This component is a central element of many serious games where educational goal is to develop player communication skills. We demonstrate the use of our engine in AgileDoctor, a serious game project for training medical students and general practitioners to communicate with their patients, so as to improve their long-term relationship and provide a higher quality health care. Our proposed conversation engine uses a generic method to combine the game scenario and the educational objectives. The game scenario is described by an instance of a model that formalizes the general doctor-patient interview process and the skills to develop. The conversation engine is able to use this model to engage a challenging dialogue with a human player where missing skills are focused. The proposed design methodology is not bound to the health domain and is transferable to a large range of educational usages.




Zeno Menestrina, Antonella De Angeli and Paolo Busetta
APE: End User Development for Emergency Management Training
Serious games are pedagogical tools used in many domains and considered a viable solution to professional training. Core elements for the construction of effective serious games are Non-Player Characters (NPCs) which, depending on the quality of the Artificial Intelligence (AI), can make the training scenarios more realistic and engaging. One of the main issues with existing games concerns the limited possibility to edit their content. These tools are usually delivered as closed products with no, or minimal, customization features. The modification of the virtual environment is strongly constrained and the behavior of NPCs is fixed to a predefined set of actions. Therefore it becomes hard for trainers to adapt the training according to different requirements. In this paper we propose a solution for the customization of AIs, aimed at allow non-technical users to edit complex behavioral models through a new high-level approach. The Actors’ Programming Environment (APE) has been developed on the base of a user-centered design and a preliminary evaluation was conducted with eight experts in computer science and interaction design, serving as evaluators. The results suggest that the approach is suitable for this context and might prove to be a good basis for future developments.



Daphne Economou, Ioannis Doumanis and Frands Pederson
WMIN - A Serious Games Development Platform to Support Learning and Communication Skills in Higher Education Students
This paper presents the WMIN Serious Games Platform, a rapid authoring tool for building dynamic three-dimensional (3D) game simulations to support learning and communication skills training in higher education students. One of the big challenges in deploying games-based learning, is the high costs associated with customised development. Serious games development often requires specialised programming skills, artistic skills, and content development expertise from specialists. Our platform empowers trainers to create scenarios related to law and politics (but this could be extended to other domains) without the need for specialised programming skills. In particular, our platform immerses students in virtual environments (VEs) (e.g., a Law office, or a Security Council office) where they experience scenarios with Embodied Conversational Agents (ECAs) with the aim to achieve specific learning objectives. Furthermore, various games techniques are used (e.g., increasing challenge, competition, motivation, etc.) to increase student engagement and motivation. We first give an overview of the platform and discuss similar tools from the relevant literature. We then present the methodology followed in the design and development of the platform. In the current stage of the project, we conducted an expert evaluation with lecturers with varied IT-skills. Finally, we discuss our future plans for user evaluation with students, the further development of the platform, and the integration of more advanced sensing and ECA technologies (e.g., MultiSense, FLoReS and Cerebella) to enable a truly intelligent and personalised learning environment.


Timothy Ng, Kurt Debattista and Alan Chalmers
Applying Activity Theory in Comparatively Evaluating Serious Games
Despite the interest in serious games research through the years, there remains methodological issues which threaten the strength of its evidence base. Much has been published on the topic and its possible learning effects, but little is written to explicitly describe and compare the various interactions and representations used in relation to learning effects. Reviews of the topic frequently voice concerns that the wide variability in approaches to serious games prevents researchers from making firm conclusions about the general benefits of serious games/game-based learning. A number of frameworks have been published to evaluate the educational benefits of serious games as well as to guide its design. However, they do not adequately address which game mechanics and representations will be suitable to the learning objectives and players. Activity Theory has been used in a variety of ways in games research but to our best knowledge, it does not appear to have been applied to compare and contrast the activities of game play and its representations, on learning. Here, we describe how an adaptation of Activity Theory could help to clarify which game components are most useful and why. 




Inke Schmidt and Carolyn Blume
Evaluating Digital Applications for Language Learning: Outcomes and Insights
The use of digital media for foreign language learning has been an important topic for years. The possibility of learning with authentic audio-visual material, of communicating with native speakers and being nearly location- and time-independent is a great advantage [Lehner et al., 2008] for learners. Moreover, the number of teenagers who regularly play digital games has grown significantly in the last few years [JIM, 2012]. The project HeaLinGO (Health and Language Integrated Gaming Online), a European-funded initiative established at the Leuphana University (Lueneburg) in 2013, has initiated an evaluation of digital games for foreign language learning (Becker, 2005; Cornollie, 2012; Gee, 2009; Prensky, 2007; Rama, 2012; Sørensen, 2007; Thorne, 2001). In this context “games” are defined as any application with game elements, accordingly the term includes learning platforms and a range of “apps” (Deterding et al., 2011, Werbach, 2012). The first goal of the project was to develop a comprehensive evaluation tool to facilitate the examination of existing applications in this field in terms of both foreign language didactics and digital game-based pedagogy. In addition to providing initial insights into the available digital tools, this data will be made available in a public database for potential language learners, parents, teachers, and researchers to find appropriate language learning programs for their individual purposes. 



Daniela Vaseva

The Potential of Serious Games Based on Literary Plots to Develop Knowledge, Skills and Habitual Patterns
The ever growing need for widely available, lifelong, personalized education induces researchers to discuss how the design and implementation of game-based learning systems can address the problem. This group case study aims to explore the potential of serious games based on literary plots to develop knowledge, skills and habitual patterns. Specifically, the research project will focus on the question how the design and content of serious games affect their potential to form knowledge, skills and habitual patterns in middle school students. Therefore, we will observe the selected students before, after, and during playing a serious game based on literary plot, analyze their essays, tests and surveys, and finally interview some of them to learn more about students’ perception of the games and the changes in their skills, behaviors and knowledge. As a result, the findings should provide directions for the development and use of serious games featuring literary works that will support playful, effective, and personalized learning process.




Zeno Menestrina
End User Development for Serious Games for Professional Training
Serious games are acknowledged pedagogical tools applied to many domains and widely studied by the scientific community. One application is the simulation game used for professional training. In this type of game the users interact with the virtual environment; the "learning by doing" makes the experience stimulating, and the possibility to repeat the training session potentially allows a high level of mastery of the learnt concepts. One of the main issues is the adaptability of content: generally these simulations are delivered to the user as closed products, with low customization of the content. This problem affects the flexibility of the serious game, which should be a strong point of this type of product. My research has the objective to study new approaches of end user development (EUD) to the serious game and allow the end user, as a non-technical programmer, to modify the game content according with the specific needs of training or teaching. This project is still at a preliminary stage, but the initial results have proved positive, and represent a basis for the current work.




Thomas Cuschieri, Rilla Khaled, Vincent E. Farrugia, Héctor P. Martínez and Georgios N. Yannakakis
The iLearnRW Game: Support for Students with Dyslexia in Class and at Home
Dyslexia includes a large variety of literacy-related difficulties which demands, in most cases, a personalised intervention. However, as dyslexia affects a large fraction of the population, schools cannot provide individual care for each student. The iLearnRW game provides a tool for students to work on their literacy skills following a personalised teaching programme. The design of the game and adaptation mechanisms integrated with it are aimed at maintaining student engagement for the duration of an open-ended number of playing sessions, while using a limited quantity of assets and literacy content. By focusing on maintenance of engagement, we hope to improve learning outcomes and motivate students to also play the game outside of school. 



Li Ping Thong

Situated Learning with Role-Playing Games to Improve Transfer of Learning in Tertiary Education Classrooms
Industries have expectations that university graduates possess well-rounded theoretical and practical knowledge to be successful in their jobs. While effective teaching and learning are essential goals in higher education institutions, lessons and learning activities in traditional classroom or lecture settings are often out of context, presented to students with much theoretical generality and abstract representations. This leads to a disconnection between academia and industry, where students struggle to apply abstract principles and knowledge in a real-world context to perform effectively in their workplace. This study seeks to address this learning gap by investigating the learning effectiveness of using role-playing games as a tool to foster authentic learning experience for tertiary education students and achieve situated learning outcomes.




Fernando Cassola, Sílvia Ala, Fausto de Carvalho, Hugo Paredes, Benjamim Fonseca, Paulo Martins, Francisco Cardoso and Leonel Morgado
Online-Gym: multiuser virtual gymnasium using RINIONS and multiple Kinect devices
To enhance older citizen’s practice of physical exercise, we present the architecture, development, and early testing of a multiuser online gymnasium based on Kinect motion capture and OpenSimulator. The prototype was tested simultaneously with 4 elders at different locations, providing data on the feasibility of the approach and informing subsequent development and research.




Gregor Žavcer, Simon Mayr and Paolo Petta
Design Pattern Canvas: Towards Co-Creation of Unified Serious Game Design Patterns
The aim of this poster is to start a dialogue and search for a unified game design tool within the game design and research community. As a possible direction, presented paper outlines the practice and importance of design pattern use in serious game development and argues that design patterns can make serious game development more efficient by enabling knowledge exchange and better communication between different stakeholders. Furthermore, the use of design patterns provides a foundation for structured research and analysis of games. It is important to note, that the paper proposes the first step for co-creation of a (serious) game design tool and further research and validation of the DCP is needed.



 Alexander gives an overview about gamification and game based learning based on projects contucted by the center for applied game studies at danube university Krems. His main focus will be on project for young kids and how transmedia projects and games can be used to have a positive impact for the next generation of super digital natives.















Last Updated: 5 September 2014

Log In back to UoM Homepage
University of Malta
L-Università ta' Malta