[Early View] Article on Transdisciplinary #Gamification #Seriousgames intervention development process

The Early View  version of the article I mentioned in my Sept blog post is now online ahead of the online publication of the British Journal of Educational Technology (BJET) journal issue.

Arnab, S. and Clarke, S. (In Press), Towards a trans-disciplinary methodology for a game-based intervention development process. British Journal of Educational Technology. doi: 10.1111/bjet.12377

In this article, we define a trans-disciplinary model for a game-based intervention development as a strategy or methodology that crosses many disciplinary boundaries to create a holistic approach. Even though a development team should ideally consist of all relevant disciplines, in reality the team would have to rely on limited resources. A more correlated methodological model derived from a transdisciplinary process could thus act as a guide to inform development considerations and process.

4DFIMThis article reflects on the considerations leading to an understanding of the trans-disciplinary perspectives of the development process. We touch on the adopted theories and frameworks from the domain of serious games, health intervention, entertainment games and pedagogy that have collectively informed the process, which include:

  • Four-Dimensional Framework (4DF) (de Freitas & Jarvis 2008)-commonly used to inform considerations for serious games evaluation and design,
  • Intervention Mapping (IM) approach (Batholomew et al. 2011)- a methodology that guides the design, implementation and evaluation of health intervention programmes,
  • Mechanics Dynamics Aesthetics model (MDA) (Hunnicke et al. 2004)- a framework that acts as a guideline for entertainment game design, and
  • Learning Mechanics-Game Mechanics (LM-GM) mapping (Lim et al. 2013, Arnab et al. 2015) – the mapping of pedagogical aspects to game mechanics.

The article illustrates how existing design and development processes can be analysed and reflected upon towards documenting considerations, perspectives and methods that can be correlated and infused into a holistic methodology. This paper highlights the feasibility of infusing approaches relevant in different disciplines in order to inform the design and development of game-based intervention. Game development considerations can be deconstructed into four key dimensions using the 4DF model exploiting a participatory-driven context and learner’s profiling using the IM approach. The MDA and the LM-GM models inform the mapping of relevant pedagogical aspects against the entertainment attributes of gameplay.

The components from the different approaches when integrated formulate a trans-disciplinary model that can be adopted by other researchers, designers and developers. This paper discusses the possibility of looking at an existing design and development project and reflect on the process, considerations and decisions made, which could be used as guidelines for future development. Further work will include adoptions in other game-based learning interventions that will lead to validations of the process and adopting the same approach in analysing and reflecting on other SG design and development projects.


Arnab S., Lim T., Carvalho M. B., Bellotti F., de Freitas S., Louchart S., Suttie N., Berta R., De Gloria A. (2015). Mapping Learning and Game Mechanics for Serious Games Analysis, British Journal of Educational Technology, 46: 391-411 doi: 10.1111/bjet.12113

Bartholomew, L. K., Parcel, G. S., Kok, G., Gottlieb, N. H. & Fernandez, M. E. (2011). Planning health promotion programs: an intervention mapping approach (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

de Freitas,S. & Jarvis, S. (2008). Towards a development approach for serious games in Connolly,T.M., Stansfield,M., Boyle,E. (ed.) Games-based learning advancements for multi-sensory human-computer interfaces: Techniques and effective practices. Hershey: IGI Global

Hunicke, R., LeBlanc, M., Zubek, R. 2004. MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research. Proceedings of the Challenges in Game AI Workshop, Nineteenth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence.

Lim, T., Louchart, S., Suttie, N., Ritchie, J., Aylett, R., Stanescu, I. A. et al (2013). Strategies for effective digital games development and implementation. In Y. Baek & N.Whitton (Eds), Cases on digital game-based learning: methods, models, and strategies (pp. 168–198). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.


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