Methods for Assessing Appropriateness and Effectiveness for Games and Teaching

Within education, methods need to be formally put in place as way to assess the appropriateness and effectiveness for Games and Teaching. Tutors when introducing game based learning to their practice may be faced with questions about validity of the content and which pedagogic approaches they should be using. There is also the possibility of a mismatch between content, leading to inappropriate terminology and approaches not supported by evidence-based research. (Freitas and Oliver 2006)

Sara de Freitas and Martin Oliver describes in 2006 Computers & Education four interrelated methods that can be used for assessing games and teaching:


Image from S. de Freitas, M. Oliver / Computers & Education 46 (2006) 249–264

The method is designed to allow practitioners to be more critical about how they apply game based learning to the classroom environment.

Context refers to where the learning occurs. This includes macro-level historical, political and economic factors and micro-level factors like available tools, specific resources and the tutors background. Learner would focus on the particular learner/group (age,level, how they learn, background, style and preferences etc.) Representation focuses on the ‘game space’ or the diegesis of the game/simulation. This highlights the differences between immersion within the game and the process of critical reflection taken place outside the game. These methods support the teaching aims and objectives and highlight the potential for briefing/debriefing before and after ‘play’ focusing on analysis. Pedagogic focuses on the learning process during formal and informal learning. Promoting reflection on methods, theories, models and frameworks of learning practice allowing tutors to produce appropriate lessons.

These interrelated methods work together to provide a framework for tutors. As devices and technology grow, so should the methods for evaluation which will need to happen constantly.

“Although a number of frameworks exist that are intended to guide and support the evaluation of educational software, few have been designed that consider explicitly the use of games or simulations in education.” – Mary Ulicask, FutureLab.

Works Cited

De Freitas, S and Oliver M. 2006. Computers & Education. How can exploratory learning with games and simulations within the curriculum be most effectively evaluated? p 249–264

FutureLab, Senior Researcher Mary Ulicask, Games in Education: Serious Games, June 2010. 


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