1st Edition

Digital Games and Learning
Research and Theory

ISBN 9780415629393
Published March 26, 2014 by Routledge
225 Pages

USD $56.95

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Book Description

In recent years, there has been growing interest in the use of digital games to enhance teaching and learning at all educational levels, from early years through to lifelong learning, in formal and informal settings. The study of games and learning, however, takes a broader view of the relationship between games and learning, and has a diverse multi-disciplinary background.

Digital Games and Learning: Research and Theory provides a clear and concise critical theoretical overview of the field of digital games and learning from a cross-disciplinary perspective. Taking into account research and theory from areas as varied as computer science, psychology, education, neuroscience, and game design, this book aims to synthesise work that is relevant to the study of games and learning. It focuses on four aspects of digital games: games as active learning environments, games as motivational tools, games as playgrounds, and games as learning technologies, and explores each of these areas in detail.

This book is an essential guide for researchers, designers, teachers, practitioners, and policy makers who want to better understand the relationship between games and learning.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Introduction

Chapter 1


Chapter 2

Evaluating digital games for learning

Part 2: Games as active learning environments

Chapter 3

Games as meaningful challenges

Chapter 4

Games as authentic contexts

Chapter 5

Games as social interactions

Part 3: Games as motivational tools

Chapter 6

Games as engaging events

Chapter 7

Games as designed enjoyment


Chapter 8

Games as reward mechanisms

Part 4: Games as playgrounds

Chapter 9

Games as protected play

Chapter 10

Games as experimental spaces

Chapter 11

Games as other worlds

Part 5: Games as learning technologies

Chapter 12

Games as interactive systems

Chapter 13

Games as digital habitats

Chapter 14

Games as multi-sensory experiences

Part 6: Conclusion

Chapter 15

The future of games and learning

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Nicola Whitton works as a Senior Research Fellow at Manchester Metropolitan University. She holds a doctorate in the use of educational games for learning and her research focuses on the relationship between games, play and learning. More broadly, her research interests encompass learning and teaching innovation and the use of rich media and technology for learning.


"The literature on games has become a dense and confusing growth. Nicola Whitton’s Digital Games and Learning finally gives a lucid and illuminating guide to both the forest and the trees. For anyone interested in games and learning this is the best 'strategy guide' available today."

--James Paul Gee, Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies, Arizona State University

"Finally! A book that builds robust bridges from learning research to practical game design and back again! Whitton's Digital Games and Learning boldly presents the core mechanisms of both learning and games, and from there builds up solid frameworks that can be used in a variety of contexts. This book is a tremendous boon to anyone who is designing or analyzing games for learning." 

--Jesse Schell, CEO of Schell Games and Distinguished Professor of Entertainment Technology at Carnegie Mellon University