Mapping learning aspects to mini-game elements

We recently presented and published a paper on micro-learning and mini-gaming at the ECGBL 2020 conference, featuring our pedagogy-informed design of mini interactive activities for complementing topics related to Cultural Risks (See Arnab, Walaszczyk, Lewis, et al. 2020) . The paper has also been expanded with additional empirical studies as a journal article, currently undergoing a peer-review process. The studies were based on the Cultural Risks course developed under the Erasmus+ Cult-Risks project. The course can be found at

Micro-learning contents are often created on demand and in a more passive form, where learners would simply consume content, such as short videos viewed in sequence or accessing content delivered in the form of simple infographics. Equipping learners with materials in different formats engages learners more effectively in their development towards strengthening their knowledge base (Shail, 2019). Interactive media such as mini-games (also called micro-games) have been increasingly delivered as micro-learning content. A more dynamic interaction with digital content such as mini-games could increase learners’ self-efficacy (Alqurashi, 2017).

The design and analysis of the mini interactive activities embedded within the course considered the Learning Mechanics-Game Mechanics (LM-GM) mapping model (see Arnab, Brown, Clarke et al., 2013; Lim, Louchart, Suttie et al., 2013; Arnab, Lim, Carvalho et al., 2015), which has also informed the design of serious games, such as ‘PR:EPARE’ (Arnab et al., 2013) ,’Circuit Warz’ (Callaghan, Savin-Baden, McShane et al., 2015), and a game for photovoltaic systems (Venson, Marcelino, & Callaghan, 2017), amongst others.

The following Figure 1 demonstrates the various types of mini-games developed using existing authoring tools that include H5P and Beaconing. There are 15 mini-games in total, comprised of two ‘drag-and-drop’ actions for filling in blank quizzes, one ‘drag-and-drop’ for word clustering quizzes, two ‘MCQ quizzes’, two ‘animated target-and-swipe’, six ‘comic-based scenarios’, and two ‘video-based scenarios’.

As an example, a ‘comic book’ mini-game was designed to assess the learner’s knowledge on cultural stereotypes and generalisations (see Figure 2 below).

Here, the comic-based narrative explores examples of scenarios that can occur within an office. Examples of stereotypical comments made towards an employee at an organisation highlight the impact that prejudices and cultural biases can have on everyone – not just the individual. Learners are asked to read through the comic book and answer questions that cover the topics of cultural stereotype factors and related risks, influences of cultural stereotypes in multi-cultural organisations and possible cultural biases, and different types of cultural stereotypes. The simple LM-GM mapping is summarised below.

The course materials were tested and evaluated by a total of 166 participants across 5 countries in Europe and the interactive mini-games were deemed highly engaging and also perceived to have a strong link to the learning objectives. The comic book type was consistently ranked within top 3 ranking across both the Alpha and Beta testings, followed by the interactive drag and drop and animated target-and-swipe varieties. Further (detail) discussions are included in the journal article.


Alqurashi, E. (2017). Self-Efficacy and the Interaction Model as Predictors of Student Satisfaction and Perceived Learning in Online Learning Environments (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from (24.11.2020).

Arnab, S., Brown, K., Clarke, S., Dunwell, I., Lim, T., Suttie, N., Louchart, S., Hendrix, M., & de Freitas, S. (2013). The development approach of a pedagogically-driven serious game to support Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) within a classroom setting. Computers & Education69, 15-30.

Arnab, S., Walaszczyk, L., Lewis, M., Kernaghan-Andrews, S., Masters, A., Calderwood, J., Loizou, M., & Clarke, S. (2020). Designing Mini-Games for Micro-Learning: Open Educational Resources on Cultural Risks in Multi-Cultural Organisations. In Proceedings of European Conference on Game Based Learning, Brighton, United Kingdom.

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 Technology46(2), 391–411.

Callaghan, M., Savin-Baden, M., McShane, N. & Eguiluz A. (2015). Mapping Learning and Game Mechanics for Serious Games Analysis in Engineering Education. IEEE Transactions on Emerging Topics in Computing ( Volume: PP, Issue: 99 ) DOI: 10.1109/TETC.2015.2504241

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.

Venson, R., Marcelino, R., & Callaghan, MJ. (2017). Using the Learning Mechanics – Game Mechanics (LM­GM) framework for the design of serious games for teaching photovoltaic systems. In Unknown Host Publication IEEE Computer Society.

Shail, M. S. (2019). Using Micro-learning on Mobile Applications to Increase Knowledge Retention and Work Performance: A Review of Literature. Cureus 11(8): e5307

Explore more on playful and game-based learning in my new book:

Arnab, S. (2020). Game Science in Hybrid Learning Spaces. New York: Routledge,

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