About the Workshop

Game based learning for 21st century transferable skills: challenges and opportunities

Deadline for workshop contributions extended to February 21, 2012

    It is broadly acknowledged that digital games offer a high potential to foster and support learning.  The term “serious game” refers to games which primary purpose is other than entertainment, and most serious games have a purpose for learning and training. 

    Most research studies analyze the relationship between games (characteristics/genres), learning objectives, and target groups from various perspectives. Such studies investigate, for instance, which games are suited best for applying the learning objectives while simultaneously considering the game context and target population.

    This workshop will address, in particular, how digital games can contribute to contemporary knowledge society requirements towards the effective acquisition of more transferable skills (i.e. those abilities that support learning in task performance across multiple disciplines and subject areas, thus enhancing sustainable learning). Examples of transferable skills: collaboration, critical thinking, creative thinking, problem solving, reasoning abilities, learning to learn or decision making. This workshop will explore new opportunities offered by (digital) serious games in meeting these new demands.

    Two complementary perspectives are considered in this workshop:
  1. How can games foster formal and informal learning and 
  2. How can their design, development and deployment contributes towards this learning purpose.
    The first perspective refers to the fact that learning processes cannot be understood by merely looking at the specific characteristics of the ICT-based tools used to promote learning, but that one also needs to consider the complete  context in which games are deployed (including goals, tools, tasks, and culture). Educational researchers become increasingly aware of this integrated perspective. In fact, it is needed to address the interplay between the game technology and the educational practice: that is, the activities that can be accomplished thanks to technology mediation for achieving the agreed learning goals.

    The second perspective refers to the methods, techniques and tools that are applied in the design and the development of pedagogically sound games. In particular, this perspective aims to  focus on the development and application of methods and tools that can support effective user assessment in game based learning. Breakthroughs in this area can be made by advancing the effectiveness and efficiency of issues including, but not limited to:
  • User feedback mechanisms.
  • User data gathering and management.
  • Sensor data fusion and integration.
  • Data analysis methods.
  • Easy-to-use user interfaces.
    We regard the interplay of these two perspectives (i.e., the use and design of games for education) crucial for the future of game based learning and this workshop therefore intends to stimulate a fruitful dialogue between them.

    We invite authors to submit original research work that contributes to new developments in the area of game based learning for 21st century transferable skills including devices, hardware/software tools, design and development methodologies, educational applications, evaluation and assessment studies or case studies of exemplary use.

Rationale & Background

    The rationale for this workshop derives from the interest of the proposers in games based learning and from the wish to discuss with a qualified audience main issues in this sector considering both pedagogical and technological perspectives. 

    All proposers are currently working in the European Network of Excellence (NoE) GaLA: “Game and Learning Alliance” (Call FP 7-ICT-2009-5;  Grant n° 258169; duration: 2010-2014) which aims to shape the scientific community and build a European virtual research centre by gathering, integrating, harmonizing and coordinating research on SGs and disseminating knowledge, best practices and tools as a reference point at an international level.
    It is foreseen that contributions to the workshop will be made both from GALA partners and from researchers outside Gala, thus having the opportunity to enlarge the debate on game based learning from different and qualified communities.