Game Development Reference
Table 1. Aspects assembled in GBL
Practice and feedback
Practice and feedback enable the development of skills based in exercises involving models of practice and
Learning by doing
Learning by doing is as a way to explore, acquire new knowledge and solve problems in real time.
Learning through trial
In the context of digital games, learning from mistakes involves experimentation and interactive exploration
through models supported by trial and error, which can provide players the increased energy and motivation
for continued interaction.
Goal oriented learning
Goal oriented learning is a pivotal element of digital games and is usually the element that allows the player to
discern between the play universe and the game universe, providing encouragement and motivation to continue
and try to go further in the acquisition of multiple skills.
Discovery learning is related to the fact that one can learn better by oneself, exploring alternatives and overcoming
limitations, than through others. This is a fundamental aspect of digital games, particularly adventure games.
Guided learning focuses on finding solutions, but providing users with specific objectives to be achieved, which
is always the case in the game narrative of digital games.
Task-based learning consistes in the immediate resolution of obstacles, integrated in blocks, gradually increas-
ing their level of difficulty, as we can observe in the difficulty levels a player as to overcome in a digital game.
Situated learning has as main assumption the fact that knowledge is “contextually situated and is fundamentally
influenced by the activity, context, and culture in which it is used” (McLellan, 1985, p.6). GBL compromises
the majority of the basic aspects identified by McLellan (1985) as part of situated learning, being: collabora-
tion, coaching, articulation of learning skills, multiple practice, reflection, cognitive apprenticeship, stories and
technology. Digital games that offer highly immersive experiences and allow its users to develop skills that
can be applied to various social contexts — acquisition and application of vocabulary, acquisition of behavior
patterns associated with specific situations, and even attainment of knowledge of a specific culture — are an
example of the presence of the mentioned elements in a digital game. Such games can be designed to achieve
specific educational objectives. A good example of this affirmation is the game DoomEd, inspired by the First
Person Shooter model, a game in which the player navigates the London Underground during the Second
World War, killing aliens, aiming to understand the concepts of radiation and chemistry in order to overcome
dangerous obstacles. Players must kill aliens while trying to solve scientific problems to move to the next level
and thus revealing learning outcomes. Other examples are the reformulation of the game Civilization, in the
United States, to teach history, as well as the Sims game, to teach various languages.
about cognition (Flavell, 1979) that happens within
the game, the metacognition, applied to teaching
and learning processes, reinforces reflexive skills
thus promoting self-regulation processes, when
practiced with intensity in a regular way (Pressley
& Hilden, 2006).
progresses in the exploration of the game and as-
similates knowledge in a context of a continuous
narrative line, embeded in a parasocial universe of
characters, therefore contributing to the acquisition
of meaningful learning and a deeper knowledge.
Gros (2003) enhances that for digital games
to be used for educational purposes they must
be endowed with well defined learning goals,
teaching contents to the users or promoting the
development of important strategies and skills to
increase their intellectual and cognitive abilities.
According to Malone (1981) and Garris et al
(2002), the factors that contribute to the strength
and consistence of digital games as educational
tools are the challenge, the fantasy (imaginary
contexts, themes and fantasy characters), the
The Educational Value
of Digital Games
Malone (1981), Ruben (1999), Prensky (2000),
Gee (2003) and Pivec and Kearney (2007) advo-
cate the use of digital games in learning processes,
arguing that it's use improves the learning out-
comes of students, due to the intrinsic motivation
involved in the act of play: the way the player