Game Development Reference
the various types of digital games in accordance
with the style, narrative, theme and activities, and
the one from Graells (2000) 2 , that established a
typology which considers the game structure and
the major skills used by the player in the game
play, including psychomotor skills, reasoning,
logic, strategy and memory.
Summarizing, a digital game can be assessed in
accordance to six criteria (BECTa, 2003; Graells,
2000; Carvalho, 2005):
Gee (2003) argues that GBL promotes active
and critical learning, because it meets three cri-
teria: the ability to experience the world in new
ways, the ability to form new affiliations and the
ability to prepare individuals for future learning.
In order to meet the conditions for critical
learning, the learner has to understand and produce
meanings in a particular semiotic domain that is
recognized by other affiliates, which are aware of
that domain. The learner must also learn to think
about the domain on a meta level, disassembling
the component parts of that domain as a system of
patterns related to each other, eventually produc-
ing new and unpredictable meanings.
Gee (2003) sees a digital game, which is ac-
tively handled by the player, as a complex system
of parts that relate themselves in order to engage
and manipulate the player in the meta-level of the
game, the space designed as a system, providing
the conditions for an active and critical learning
to occur, expanding and modifying the knowledge
of the individual, based on a cognitive approach
(Sinatra & Pintrich, 2003).
Kearney and Pivec (2007) assembled a model
for GBL, inspired in Garris et al (2002) model and
Kolb's learning styles (1984) that summarizes
what we stated above (figure 1).
According to the authors (Kearney & Pivec,
2007), digital games promote skill based, knowl-
edge based, and affective based learning.
The different types of learning occur in the
micro and macro levels of the game, and are of
extreme importance to the player's reflection and
self-regulation during and after the game.
Skill based learning takes place in the micro
cycle and between levels of the game.
Declarative, procedural and strategical/ condi-
cional knowledge, acquired by the player in the
game, are achieved through reflection, and, in
GBL, we can refer to it as reflection in action, oc-
curring in the course of the gameplay, at each level.
As skills are acquired and the player progresses
in the game, knowledge is increased by the mo-
bilization of meta cognitive skills. The cognition
number of players (single player or multi
opponent (computer, another player, etc.);
access to the game (open or closed
- An Approach
Game-based learning (GBL) is a recent term that
has as major proponents Prensky (2000) and Gee
(2003). This two authors state, in their work,
that the engagement of students in their learning
processes, accelerating and improving them in an
active and participative way, is accomplished by
using digital games as learning tools.
The concept of GBL is not peaceful and we can
find many arguments for and against its adoption
in educational contexts.
Gee (2003) states that GBL promotes self
reflective critical learning, allowing the player
control over the entire game play, freedom to
explore and experiment within the context of the
game, to adapt to the environment and modify as-
sumptions and interactions based on the outcome
of each action the player undertakes.
Acording to Prensky (2000), Gee (2003), Garris
et al (2002), Pivec and Kearney (2007), Ruben
(1999) and Kirriemuir and Mcfarlane (2004),
GBL assembles the following aspects, as follows.