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Learning Without Knowing: A study of playfulness in educational games
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Game Design.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The use of tablet computers have increased significantly in numerous parts of society during recent years, and the educational sector is no exception. Use of games in educational situations has intrigued scholars of different disciplines, presenting both favouring and opposing opinions. Whilst the educational effectiveness of the game media is discussed, research done in the area of cognitive development, psychology and pedagogy argue for the importance of play and the positive effects it entails on education and learning. This thesis investigates to what extent playfulness has been incorporated into the educational game-genre for children on Google Play by studying four games from the genre along with a fifth game from the entertainment section for comparison. Based on selected literature discussing play, education and games eleven attributes were assembled to dissect the games and to measure their playfulness and educational effectiveness.The study proved that educational games for children seldom possess playful elements. The analysed games possessed very few of the attributes from the study and tended to focus on educational values rather than offering a playful approach to learning, resembling the traditional educational school system. The lack of playfulness and effective guidance in the games and the absence of knowledge of modern, active and tested educational theories to basethe game design on lead the educational game genre to produce educationally ineffective games, which in turn effects the educational game market as whole.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 45 p.
Keyword [en]
game design, education, pedagogy, educational games for children, playfulness, educational games in Sweden
Keyword [sv]
Spel design, lärospel, lärospel för barn, lekfullhet, lärospel i Sverige, pedagogik
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-234038OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-234038DiVA: diva2:755156
Educational program
Game Design and Graphics
Available from: 2014-10-14 Created: 2014-10-13 Last updated: 2014-10-14Bibliographically approved

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