Educational Games

Guidelines and best practices for game-based learning

Within the third task of our fourth intellectual output, and on top of the manuals for (re)use that we prepared in relation to the UPSKILLS games, we also compiled a manual of recommendations and best practices when it comes to incorporating game-based learning into higher education. With these guidelines we aim to support educators in designing and implementing game-based learning experiences that foster engaging and effective learning outcomes.

Games can be categorised as a form of media. Most often games are associated with and are a source of entertainment. Games are also very diverse in nature. Various genres of games appeal to a wide variety of audiences irrespective of gender, race, age or culture (De Freitas, 2018; De Freitas & Griffiths, 2008). There are games that possess great complexity, as well as games that are quite simple in their logic and game rules. The beauty of games in general lies in the ability to create an engaging environment that offers a balanced flow between boredom and frustration in an attempt to solve the game’s quest (Gee, 2013). However, there is a distinct difference between games that have been designed and created for entertainment purposes and those that have been specifically designed as media for training and learning. Researchers are also quite divided on the role of games for learning. Whereas some researchers present studies on the design of games that teach specific content, there are others who subscribe to the school of thought that view off-the-shelf games as the basis for the transfer of skills and competences to go beyond the acquisition of content information (Steinkuehler et al., 2012; Squire, 2011).

That being said, when considering game-based learning, whether these are specifically designed or off-the-shelf, we must set aside our preconceptions and regard games as any other medium that contributes to the learning process. Just as we approach books, films, YouTube videos, Instagram reels, and academic papers as sources of knowledge, we can also explore games that have the potential to enhance, enrich, support, and stimulate learning, as well as instilling in learners a desire to learn more and in more depth.

Importance of game-based learning in higher education

 Well-designed games in general target a form of learning that is grounded in a problem-based approach as well as active learning (Gee, 2007). This means that such an approach instils in gamers the notions that they need to be active to produce a solution to the problem that is given. Normally the more complex a game is, and the more challenging the problem that it poses, the more it would require the formation of support groups, as well as targeted communities that provide additional help to find specific solutions. Most often it is also expected that gamers, even the more experienced, do not manage to find all the solutions to the problems posed by the game rules and mechanics, by themselves. Unless the game does not offer simplistic challenges, gamers usually seek communities to expand their knowledge of the game and gain better and improved abilities to complete the quest set by the game (McGonigal, 2011). Various research has indicated that Game-Based Learning (GBL) can also promote skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, initiative to find solutions, communication, as well as in some cases even content-related knowledge (De Freitas, 2018; Gee, 2013; Höyng, 2022; Marklund & Taylor, 2016; McGonigal, 2011). GBL may also be considered as a potential enabler for exciting the learner into wishing to delve deeper into the subject, transcending the proverbial ‘need’ of the student to study to merely obtain a pass during an exam. James Paul Gee, in his early essay on Good Video Games and Good Learning (2007), discusses this concept in more depth and emerges with 16 principles that highlight the elements of video games which can be exploited to lead to a learning that is founded on active, experiential and problem-based learning. These 16 principles include the player interaction, challenging tasks and problems, player agency, as well as the flow that balances frustration with boredom during game play enticing the player to keep playing.

In Higher Education settings, the learners’ ability to become engaged and active in their own learning process is a skill that is sought, and also supported. This  together with higher ability cognitive skills such as critical reasoning, applying logic as well as increase in independent knowledge building resonates with the skills which may be targeted through GBL.

Applying GBL to a learning setting in Higher Education also carries benefits for academics and teachers. Having students that are more motivated and engaged not only enriches the teaching and learning process but can also lead to an environment which is more conducive to experimentation and creativity (Pavaloiu, et al., 2016; Xinogalos & Eleftheriadis, 2023). Although most often GBL is often viewed from the perspective of the learner, for the academic, having a motivated and an engaged classroom that is ready to facilitate the classroom discussion and contributes to the learning process is a benefit which cannot be underestimated. 

Purpose of this guide

The scope of this guide is to highlight some of the main findings of the practice-based research that has been going on as part of the UPSKILLS Erasmus+ funded project. The targeted audience are primarily educators, lecturers and academics at higher education who wish to take up GBL within their classroom activities. Although the recommendations that are proposed in this report are generalised, these can be applied to various fields of study including the teaching of Linguistics and language specialisation, these may be scaled to diverse teaching fields. It must also be considered that the theoretical frameworks which underpin these recommendations go beyond the traditional cognitive learning theories and move towards the self-learning paradigm, where knowledge does not consist solely of chunks of information, that are absorbed and made sense of, to then reach a form of mastery that would allow a learner to proceed with more learning. 

Utilising a GBL approach in Higher Education offers numerous advantages. Apart from employing a cutting-edge teaching method that enhances skills associated with modern literacies, a game-based approach primarily focuses on fostering critical thinking and problem-solving abilities through an active methodology framework.

A. Enhanced student engagement and motivation

Research has indicated on numerous occasions that GBL leads to enhanced student engagement and motivation provided that the game which is made use of is tailored to the needs of the player at the time that is needed, in order to provide the player with some form of meaning in context (Sugahara & Cilloni, 2021). When a learner becomes engaged in the learning process it is expected that s/he would move beyond learning facts or information towards constructing knowledge that is needed for an improved performance. 

B. Development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills

Well designed games often contain problems which the player needs to solve before advancing to a higher level (Tay et al., 2022). Problem solving requires lateral thinking and critical thinking skills which are considered as some of the more generic cognitive skills that are not directly subject content related. Research has also shown that these skills are important for the 21st century literacies that characterise technology driven societies (Squire, 2011).

C. Increased collaboration and social interaction

Through multiplayer and online networks, players most often make use of communities having diverse skills, to hone in on their experiences, and help them overcome game challenges and solve problems to master their level of the game (McGonigal, 2011).

D. Personalised learning experiences

Games offer personalised experiences of the learning process, depending on the level of ability of the player, as well as his/her scope in playing the game (Troussas et al., 2020). AI provides ways of adapting game difficulty based on the player’s progress and performance. This means that the game difficulty level is adjusted gradually to enhance the player’s experience rather than make it frustratingly difficult.

E. Examples of successful GBL initiatives in Higher Education

Research in GBL has been going on for decades and a number of results have shown that there have been a number of successful initiatives in higher education (Marklund & Taylor, 2016).

A few recent publications explore the notion of using games as mediators to improve the perception of higher education students of the various subjects such as accounting (Sugahara & Cilloni, 2021), project management (Jääskä & Aaltonen, 2022) and others (Höyng, 2022; Stiller & Schworm, 2019; Xinogalos, & Eleftheriadis, 2023). Results from these studies indicate that whilst GBL may not be directly responsible for improved performances or perceptions related to the subject it may indeed be responsible for a deeper engagement with the content following an increased curiosity in getting to know more about the subject itself. However, it has to be said that each GBL experience is quite unique in its application at the classroom level, and it is dependent on a number of variables. These include learners’ attitudes towards games, the subject/skill that is targeted through the game, the environment/context in which games are played and the lecturers/teachers/academics’ confidence in games and playing. Although in theory, GBL can be applied across a wide range of subjects and disciplines, at Higher Education level, where more depth in the skills and knowledge is expected, not all games can target the learners’ and educators’ needs equally. Specific subjects/fields of study may require specifically designed games to reach the scope of the content. 

To ensure the effective integration of a game-driven pedagogy, strategic planning and design are essential. The following factors illustrate the prerequisites for a successful teaching/learning experience using games.

A. Define clear learning objectives

Every game needs to have clear objectives. Questions such as what is the ultimate goal I want players to reach will guide the design process. Whether the game will be an off-the-shelf game, or one that is created from scratch there needs to be a process of pedagogical design that is informed by specific, grounded objectives.

The first step would be to brainstorm ideas that are related to the subject/skill that is taught. Typical pre-design questions that would lead to the mapping of learning objectives of the game, would include:

    1. What are the main skills/content knowledge which I believe are critical for students to have?
    2. How can these skills be achieved?
    3. Can these skills be converged into specific learner activities? (e.g. group projects)
    4. Think in terms of a game – if you had to make up a game, that would hone in on these skills, how would it look like?
    5. Even if the plan is to design and develop a game from scratch, it is good practice to see if there is a game which is similar or has similar dynamics to that proposed. Use STEAM or the Universal Videogame List to filter and sort games that can fit in with your proposed design and learning skills. Read through the descriptions, download the game, and play to get a feel of the game.
    6. When playing the game or a game with similar mechanics, think about the processes of game play the students would be going through. Would these processes engage the students as gamers?
    7. Revisit the proposed learning objectives. Can these learning objectives be embedded in the game play?  
B. Incorporate relevant curriculum content

Not all the subject curriculum needs to be addressed within the game. It is therefore important to identify which aspects of the curriculum content, including any additional skills, the students need to engage with more deeply. These may include communication skills, project or data management skills, as well as theoretical concepts which as an academic or teacher you may not present in as much detail. Questions you may ask, which can guide you into the curriculum content you may wish to see addressed by the game include:=

    1. What core curricular content and skills are addressed in this study unit?
    2. Which of the skills and content are covered by class material and lectures?
    3. Which of the skills and content would be of benefit, should the student explore these in more detail? [Itemise a prioritised list]
    4. Map this list of skills and content into relevant objectives, that are specific and measurable.
C. Align game mechanics with learning outcomes

Each game possesses its own mechanics. These would include the rules which each player would need to follow to interact with the game. Such rules usually include the challenges, the objectives of the mission within the game, and how the player can interact with the game environment to be able to solve the given quest or problem. This leads to what is defined as gameplay. The objectives of the gameplay need to be identified and listed. Once listed you can create a second column with the learning objectives from your identified relevant curriculum content. It may not always be possible to match the gameplay objectives to all your learning objectives, however it may be possible to map some of the gameplay objectives to the relevant curriculum content.

D. Provide meaningful feedback and assessment

The potential of games for learning is frequently underestimated because educators and instructors may find it challenging to determine how learners can be evaluated while using games for educational purposes. Typically, higher education learning is connected to assessments that involve testing one’s knowledge. Nevertheless, incorporating other forms of feedback alongside in-game assessments can be highly effective. When a player engages in a game, they are continuously evaluated. Failing to meet certain criteria often prevents the player from advancing to higher levels, motivating them to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to overcome the challenges presented in the game. By leveraging in-game assessment techniques, educators have the opportunity to utilise alternative assessment methods when incorporating games for learning. This allows for the exploration of non-traditional approaches, such as engaging students in discussions or conducting pre- and post-game briefings characterised by open-ended questions. These discussions provide students with a space for reflection to share their insights, thoughts, and challenges encountered throughout the GBL experience.

E. Case study: Simulation games for business students to develop decision-making skills

The Faculty of Engineering in Foreign Languages of the University Politechnica of Bucharest, made use of IBM’s INNOV8 simulation games, to teach Business Process Management in the unit Event Driven Dynamic Systems, delivered to Masters students (Pavaloiu, 2016). The academics decided to choose this suite of business simulation games, to support critical decision making in specific contexts, using a realistic virtual environment. The choice of using a virtual environment  allows students to take risk free decisions and create solutions where they could experience the outcome of their decisions without irreparable consequences. Although the INNOV8 platform is no longer accessible, the study described in this paper made use of a serious game, which featured 3 main scenarios, fusing together IT and business, to address process model analysis and improvement in traffic, supply chains, and customer service. The findings from this study revealed that although the students enjoyed the game, they also criticised certain content and decisions that needed to be made throughout the gameplay. This aspect can be seen as a reflective point of discussion arising from the gameplay, enabling the identification of weaknesses and gaps in the scenarios. Consequently, it prompts further exploration of additional challenges and potential solutions in real-world situations.

This section illustrates a number of strategies which can be employed to implement GBL into a teaching/learning program. While integrating games into the classroom may appear straightforward, it is crucial to establish key drivers to fully unleash their potential and leverage their capabilities to genuinely enhance critical thinking and problem-solving processes.

A. Faculty training and support

A crucial approach for academics and educators interested in implementing GBL is to familiarise themselves with games. It is not necessary for educators to have an extensive background as hardcore gamers, but they should have a basic understanding of gameplay and exhibit confidence in handling video and digital games. This familiarity becomes particularly valuable if the educator is involved in co-designing the game or selecting an off-the-shelf game. It is also important, especially in the latter case, for the educator to personally play the game to identify any limitations or challenges within the gameplay and potential opportunities for reflective discussions within the game scenarios.

To support educators who want to engage in GBL, universities need to provide assistance and resources. This includes offering exposure to various genres of digital video games, as well as other game formats such as board games or role-playing games. Additionally, educators should receive guidance on conducting pre- and post-game briefings, as well as strategies for addressing challenges and problems that arise during gameplay.

B. Integration with existing pedagogical approaches

Incorporating games into higher education requires a shift from traditional teacher-centred learning methods to a learner-centric approach that emphasises active, problem-solving techniques. Merely adding a game to a pedagogy built on traditional lecturing is not recommended, as it does not align with the problem-solving foundation of GBL. Therefore, educators or academics seeking to adopt a GBL approach should integrate it into the pedagogical design of a study unit that emphasises active learning and problem-solving.

Games, including serious games, are also influenced by experiential learning theories, such as those proposed by Kolb (1984). These theories emphasise that learners actively engage in experiences, make decisions, and learn from the consequences of those decisions (Kolb et al.2001). 

C. Technology infrastructure and resources

According to a study on the challenges of implementing GBL in the classroom, teachers have expressed frustration with the technical reliability of games (Jääskä & Aaltonen, 2022). Findings from the study indicate that when teachers incorporate games for learning into their teaching, they encounter difficulties when essential resources are not readily available. These resources may include access to labs, reliable hardware, stable internet connectivity, and the necessary technological skills to overcome these challenges. Since games can also be platform-dependent, it is crucial to provide support across all platforms to avoid additional complications.Another challenge that educators face is the considerable amount of time required to design, create, and prepare resources that align with effective implementation of innovative pedagogies. This includes the time needed to design or select appropriate games, integrate them into the existing curriculum, and ensure a cohesive learning experience. However, research (Höyng, 2022; Jääskä & Aaltonen, 2022) suggests that successful integration of GBL into teaching and learning requires several additional steps, such as: 

    1. Evaluating student profiles to tailor a personalised approach when utilising games for learning.
    2. Procuring game licenses, installing the necessary software, and setting up the game environment.
    3. Establishing game servers to facilitate gameplay.
    4. Preparing in-game subject matter to align with the educational objectives.
    5. Maintaining and managing the hardware and software required for GBL.

These steps are essential to ensure the successful integration and smooth functioning of GBL in educational settings. 

D. Ensuring accessibility and inclusivity

Apart from the challenges faced by educators and academics, there is an additional aspect that requires careful consideration – access to games. Depending on the student cohort, there may be a diverse range of learners with varying needs and preferences. Some learners may already be avid gamers, while others may have no interest in gaming at all. Imposing gameplay on the latter group may lead to a reversal of the intended motivation and engagement for learning. Furthermore, this approach may create an environment that is not inclusive, causing certain learners to feel excluded from the learning community due to their lack of interest or gaming skills.

To ensure accessibility and inclusivity, it is essential for faculty support staff to ensure that all learners have access to game resources that are incorporated into the planned curriculum. Learners should also be provided with sufficient time to familiarise themselves with the game and, whenever possible, have access to game support forums where they can seek assistance and guidance. A beneficial strategy would be to encourage gameplay in small groups of 2 or 3, facilitating collaborative decision-making and navigation within the game world.

The preceding sections have outlined approaches for enhancing the design of a GBL environment. However, implementing these strategies entails addressing a set of challenges at the design stage. A number of these challenges are outlined below.

A. Time and resource constraints

The challenges discussed in the previous sections revolve around time management and the availability of game resources. To tackle these challenges effectively, it is advisable for faculty to allocate adequate support staff to individuals who are interested in designing, creating, and implementing a GBL environment. The role of these pedagogical experts as support staff would be to ensure that educators and academics have optimal access to the necessary resources. This includes infrastructure, pedagogical materials, integration of the game into the curriculum, and assessment strategies. By providing this level of support, faculty can facilitate the successful implementation of GBL approaches.

B. Assessment and grading in GBL

The assessment and grading of GBL necessitate a reevaluation that aligns with the pedagogy underlying the study unit. When knowledge acquisition is viewed as an integral part of an experiential activity, the assessment methods should differ from traditional approaches. The outcomes derived directly from playing the game, such as scores, experience points earned, or levels reached, can be utilised not only as feedback for the student’s progress but also as valuable elements within a reflective discussion. This approach not only stimulates deeper insights and thoughts concerning the study unit as a whole but also facilitates the exploration of specific learning outcomes.

C. Overcoming resistance to change

Overcoming resistance to change is a crucial challenge that must be addressed, especially when introducing innovative pedagogical practices like GBL into the traditional education system. The teaching and learning community often exhibits reluctance towards change. However, resistance can be overcome by taking small steps in the right direction. These steps may include showcasing existing examples or programs that have successfully implemented GBL and providing guided recommendations for incorporating it into academic programs.

Faculty support staff and pedagogical experts can play a pivotal role in assisting academics and educators in adopting games as a part of their teaching and learning approaches. By building confidence in the use of games and offering additional training and gameplay opportunities, teachers and educators can gradually overcome resistance to change. This support enables them to feel more self-assured when embracing games as valuable tools in their educational practices.

D. Ethical considerations and student well-being

There are a number of ethical considerations which academics and educators need to take into account when designing, creating or using games for learning.

    1. Informed Consent: Students should always give their consent before participating in GBL activities. This consent should be accompanied by information about the purpose, scope, any risks or benefits associated to the game being used.
    2. Accessibility and Inclusivity: As discussed above, the chosen or created games need to be accessible to all the students irrespective of ability, skill, or any special need. Stereotypical or discriminatory elements should be avoided to support an inclusive environment.
    3. Privacy and Data Protection: In GBL student data may be collected to monitor progress, or to personalise experiences. Universities and institutions need to be able to handle student data responsibly, adhering to existing laws and regulations. Students should be given control over how their personal data is used, and they should be able to control its sharing or deletion.
    4. Fairness: Games should not discriminate nor should they offer any disadvantage to any specific group. Care needs to be taken to prevent any discrimination based on gender, race, socioeconomic status and/or others.
    5. Psychological Well-being: games should not cause any undue stress or anxiety. When games are designed or simply used off-the-shelf, care must be taken to ensure that they do not foster addictions, or cause individuals harm.
    6. Intellectual Property and Copyright: Educators/academics need to ensure that especially in the case of off-the-shelf games, all the necessary licenses are purchased and are in place before using them in their GBL approaches.
    7. Ethical Game Design: When designing games or making use of games care must be taken to avoid content that may promote or lead to harmful behaviour. Values such as empathy or ethical decision making should instead be emphasised.
    8. Academic integrity: Game designers as well as pedagogic experts, need to promote academic integrity and discourage cheating and dishonest practices. Although some gamers might have access to cheat sheets from off-the-shelf games when it comes to education, the emphasis should be on the insights, thoughts, ideas and skills gained and how these could be applied to a real world context in a positive way.

Assessing the effectiveness of GBL might not always be a straightforward task. There are various methods that can be utilised to aid the educator/academic understand how the student has benefited from a GBL approach.

A. Assessing learning outcomes

The learning objectives should be formulated in a manner that is both precise and quantifiable. Moreover, the learning outcomes resulting from the utilisation of GBL should align with the desired outcomes of the educational module, as mentioned earlier. Attaining and accomplishing these objectives can serve as an indication of the effectiveness of the game-based approach. This can be achieved through various assessment techniques, including the use of an evaluation matrix, analysing student gameplay and simulations, and even peer assessment. Alternative assessment methods, such as a combination of quizzes and written assignments, can also provide an assessment of the efficacy of GBL.

B. Gathering student feedback and engagement data

User surveys, interviews, or observation methods can be used to gather data on student engagement levels, motivation, and attitudes towards the GBL experience. This can provide insights into the effectiveness of the game in fostering student interest and active participation. Besides that many GBL experiences involve collaborative activities. The effectiveness of the game in promoting teamwork, communication, and collaboration among students can be assessed through group projects, peer evaluations, and reflections on collaborative experiences within the game. In addition to quantitative results from in-game data analytics, qualitative feedback from students can be collected through surveys, focus groups, or interviews. Through sharing their experiences, challenges, and perceptions of the GBL approach, the students would provide valuable insights into the overall impact of the game on the learning process.

C. Comparative studies on GBL vs. traditional methods

The effectiveness of GBL can also be compared to traditional instructional methods used in the same course. A method whereby control groups and experimental groups of participants are used can help in investigating the effectiveness of using specific games for learning.This can be done by using pre- and post- evaluation surveys to assess self-reported engagement levels and perceived satisfaction to determine if GBL provides added value compared to traditional approaches.

Implementing GBL in higher education can, as previously discussed, be a valuable strategy to enhance student engagement, promote critical thinking, and improve overall learning outcomes. The following are some recommendations for integrating GBL into higher education:

A. Institutional support and policy development

It is recommended that for higher education to successfully implement a GBL approach there is the full support of the institution. Towards this end, it is also recommended that a number of pedagogical support staff are dedicated towards helping academics and educators integrate a game-based approach into their teaching and learning methods. The role of this support staff would be to:

    1. Help academics choose the right games for the learning outcomes that are identified;
    2. Ensure that there is the right technological infrastructure, hardware and all the necessary licences in place so that students can use the games chosen in a safe environment driven by good academic practices;
    3. Draft policy guidelines for game creators/designers, as well as for the integration of games into teaching/learning to ensure good ethical practices founded on equity, fairness, accessibility and inclusive standards.
    4. Work with game designers, academic experts, and technologists to design and create games that reflect teaching/learning.
B. Collaboration between faculty and game developers

When designing and creating a game in-house there needs to be an expertise which goes beyond the simple drafting of the game narrative or script. Additional collaboration between interdisciplinary fields is needed to identify ways of improving the user experience, through the application of AI, psychology, sociology, as well as game designers. Unless higher education institutions do not house game development centres, it is recommended that industry partners are called upon to collaborate and add the necessary technical, and aesthetic design to the game.

C. Continuous evaluation and improvement

GBL provides a highly interactive and fluid educational experience. It should not be perceived as a static resource, especially when implemented in classroom settings. For instance, a game can serve as an engaging introduction to a subject, while different elements of the same game can be utilised for assessing an entire study unit. Consequently, the desired learning outcomes, assessment methods, and evaluation practices should be adapted based on the specific context and purpose of implementation. Furthermore, qualitative feedback obtained from diverse assessment procedures can be valuable in enhancing game mechanics and improving the overall learning environment.

D. Sustainability and scalability

A game can be quite a costly resource to produce in terms of staff time, development costs as well as maintenance. This means that when deciding to go for a GBL approach there needs to be a management plan that takes into account, various issues such as:

    1. Maintenance of servers and licences
    2. Continuous feedback, followed by improvements to the GBL experience
    3. Updated guidelines, recommendations and policies for correct, ethical and academic use of the game
    4. Recommendations into how different fields of study and study units can benefit from using the same game applied to diverse scenarios and settings
    5. Creation of acceptance and adoption models so that academics from different faculties can gain confidence in the use of games within their teaching/learning practices.

Setting up a game-based learning centre

To achieve a successful implementation and growth of GBL practices it is recommended that Higher Education Institutions might take into consideration the creation of a dedicated GBL Centre. This Centre would house qualified staff members who would play crucial roles in supporting and expanding GBL initiatives.

To ensure the long-term viability and scalability of GBL practices, the Centre should engage in various activities, initiatives, and practices. One important aspect would be to establish partnerships with game development companies, educational technology providers, and local gaming communities. By forging these partnerships, the Centre can access additional resources, industry expertise, and potential collaborations.Securing funding for equipment, software licenses, and special initiatives could be accomplished through sponsorships or grants. The Centre would actively seek opportunities to acquire financial support, enabling the purchase of necessary resources for GBL.

Professional development opportunities should be provided to faculty and staff members to enhance their understanding and skills in GBL. Workshops, seminars, training sessions, and gameplay experiences can equip educators with effective strategies for incorporating games into their teaching practices. Organising events, tournaments, and competitions related to gaming and GBL would foster a sense of community, collaboration, and healthy competition among students. Inviting industry professionals, guest speakers, and experts to these events would offer valuable insights and inspiration to both academics and students.

To ensure sustainability and scalability, the Centre should allocate resources for research and assessment. Collaborating with educational researchers would allow for data collection, evaluation of student performance, and exploration of the impact of games on learning outcomes.

Lastly, close collaboration between the Centre and faculty members is crucial for integrating GBL into existing courses or developing new courses that utilise gaming as a pedagogical tool. Curating a diverse range of games, including educational games, simulations, strategy games, and immersive experiences, would provide interactive and engaging learning opportunities that complement traditional lectures, discussions, and assignments.

By establishing a dedicated space where academics and students can interact and participate in GBL activities, Higher Education Institutions can ensure the effective implementation and growth of GBL practices.

In conclusion, implementing GBL in Higher Education requires careful consideration and planning. To effectively exploit GBL, it is crucial to first identify the target audience and determine the key concepts that educators aim to impart. GBL should not be approached as a method for simply transferring knowledge, as its strength lies in enhancing competencies and skills. By specifying the audience and identifying the desired competencies or skill sets, educators can leverage the potential of well-designed games to create a need for learning without the learners even realising it. This clever use of games helps generate motivation and engagement. Moreover, educators play a crucial role in guiding students to understand the benefits they gain from playing games and integrating those benefits with the educational content. However, there are challenges to address, such as the level of confidence educators have in using gameplay. To implement successful GBL practices in Higher Education, there is a need for support in terms of expert staff, opportunities, and spaces for academics, educators and students to experiment with different approaches within the game-driven learning environment.

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We welcome feedback on how to better integrate industry-based research into teaching or on your experiences with doing so.