What is the learning in games-based learning?

Karen Orr, Carol McGuinness

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter explores the nature of “learning” in games-based learning and the cognitive and motivational processes that might underpin that learning by drawing on psychological theories and perspectives. Firstly, changing conceptions of learning over the last few decades are reviewed. This is described in relation to the changes in formal learning theories and connections made between learning theory and GBL. Secondly, the chapter reviews empirical research on the learning outcomes that have been identified for GBL, with specific focus on cognitive benefits, school attainment, collaborative working, and the motivational and engaging appeal of games. Finally, an overview of the dominant theoretical perspectives/findings mostly associated with GBL is presented in an attempt to broaden understanding of the potential for GBL in the classroom.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPsychology, Pedagogy, and Assessment in Serious Games
EditorsThomas M. Connolly, Thomas Hainey, Elizabeth Boyle, Gavin Baxter, Pablo Moreno-Ger
PublisherIGI Global Publishing
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781466647749
ISBN (Print)9781466647732
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Games based learning


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