Get your game on with @Disrupt_Learn and @BeaconingEU #gbl #gamification #pervasive

DMLL_logo_mainReferring back to my last post on the Beaconing project; we are in our second year with a critical milestone that concerns the development and integration of a demonstrator for showcasing the Beaconing ‘anytime anywhere’ gameful learning solution.

And we are looking for a new talent to join us at the Disruptive Media Learning Lab (DMLL) and be part of the Beaconing’s coordinating and leadership team. DMLL is a cross-university experimental unit comprising of academics, learning technologists, educational developers and researchers. The Lab is based in the heart of the campus, uniquely designed to promote open dialogues, collaborative work and exploratory play for all interested in defining the 21st century University.

Extract from the advert we have just put out. The deadline for application is 3rd March 2017. So chop chop people.

The Research Associate will undertake and play a lead role in the research, development and evaluation of pervasive and gamified approaches for the Horizon 2020 BEACONING Project (, which will include designing and developing pervasive and gamified learning scenarios (gamified lesson path design) and applications that promote cross-subject teaching and learning, recruiting and engaging with stakeholders/users, evaluating the impact and effectiveness of new and innovative education interventions through the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data, and disseminating the findings.

Currently in its second year, the project is now at the integration phase of the gamified play-lesson plans, which involves working with relevant technical partners across the consortium towards the development, testing and piloting of the Beaconing solution.

BEACONING stands for ‘Breaking Educational Barriers with Contextualised, Pervasive and Gameful Learning’. The project aims to exploit and integrate pervasive, context-aware and gamified techniques and technologies, framed within the Problem-Based Learning context towards facilitating ‘anytime anywhere’ learning.

The Research Associate will also participate in other research activities (with a particular focus on Games Science) within the Disruptive Media Learning Lab (DMLL).

To apply please visit:

Anytime Anywhere learning with gameful Beaconing

Key to reducing the barriers of time and physical space in teaching and learning is to open up education in such a way that formal/informal learning contexts, and digital/physical experiences are blended. Exploiting current advances in digital technologies allow for learning processes to be better situated in a learner’s context, needs and surroundings, where many different forms of learning experience can be combined in working toward the desired learning outcomes.

To understand how digital and physical learning contexts could be exploited to enhance the learning experience of learners, there is a need to study students’ engagement with learning spaces, pedagogical (such as game-based learning, gamification for learning) techniques as well as technologies to understand learning dynamics in physical and digital environments, and the extension of learning beyond the limitation of a physical classroom by looking at relevant enabling technologies. It is thus important for educational institutions to evaluate and possibly re-design how formal spaces are used in teaching and learning and how digital platforms can help facilitate delivery, application and assessment of learning in informal context.

Advances in ubiquitous computing, mobile and location-based technologies open up opportunities for digitally-enabled learning to be facilitated in everyday spaces, increasing flexibility for learning experience to be made more engaging, contextualised and seamless. With game-based learning and gamification in mind, potentials include games or gamified activities taking place in the physical world, concurrently with the normal activities of learners’ everyday lives, where virtual actions may be the trigger for physical actions in the real world and vice versa. Example games with serious purposes that adopt such a pervasive approach include Zombies Run- an adventure location-based mobile game that advocates running, and Ingress- transforming local landmarks into game objects in a viral and global gaming, provides an avenue for teaching and learning to be made more playful and pervasive. 

Pervasive gaming is getting a lot of attention recently since PokemonGo marched on to the forefront of the mainstream. This opens up opportunities for technology-enabled pervasive play-learning to be embedded in education fostering an ecosystem where informal activities are recognised as an important extension to formal delivery and instructions. This will allow us to inject educational play in both formal/informal and digital/physical spaces and contexts.

1.1The Beaconing project is exploring this opportunity as a response to an increasing appetite for such an approach. In the process, we will investigate the crossings between pervasive gaming and gamification and how the digital connectedness will supersize the playful experience that may transform into the new “norm” in teaching and learning. We however need to be careful in terms of providing support to the teachers, who are at the forefront. The ability to reuse, adapt and/or create new pervasive play-lesson plan will hopefully expand and extend the impact of learning beyond the traditional classroom setup.

I will talk about the ideas that underpin the project and where we are so far at the coming Gamification World Congress. The project has also been nominated as a finalist for the GWC Best Education Project 2016 at the congress.

#TEDxCoventryUniversity- #Gamification and #ExperienceDesign

IMG_6325The first TEDx at Coventry went pretty well I must say. Topics covered include recruitment, sustainable building, cyber security, the future of cyborg technology, films and the power of serious games and gamification. It was great to be part of the event as a speaker and share my ideas, which I hope have inspired some on the day. My talk was very much about the potential of gamification in designing the experience of a super learner. See previous blog posts: Gamification and Experience Design and Super learner in a hybrid space.

Sustaining engagement with learning within a formal context is a great challenge and on top of this, learning within an informal context is highly disconnected from the formal narrative of education. It is essential to connect different types of learning in order to contextualise the process. The use of gameful design will allow fun to be injected into the learning process and experience, which can potentially sustain long term engagement and promote retention. IMG_6334

Education as a non-linear adventure “game”, a Hero’s Journey, will allow exploratory and experiential learning to be encouraged, which will allow learners to expand their learning experience above and beyond their formal and linear education. As a designer of our own experience, we will begin to understand the context of our education and the impact it will have in the real world. In order to play the game well, we need to know how it works.

Design cases, pervasive and gamified learning

Reflecting on my own research in game-based learning design and my interest in pervasive learning as well as design cases, I am looking into designing a study to delve further into pervasive gaming and gamification for learning from the design, production and deployment point of views.

This will require literature review and case study of existing pervasive games and gamification for learning, the impact and future aspiration of such approach. I also aim to engage existing designers, developers, publishers and practitioners, and correlate views on this topic. It will be interesting to see the link between the theoretical (pedagogical) and practical underpinning of pervasive and ubiquitous learning, and the pervasiveness and context-awareness that technology can provide towards bridging and merging digital and physical learning experiences and contexts (anytime anywhere learning).

This will be the essence of what I’m going to explore and design when I’m next in Boston for the second half of my visiting fellowship (mini-sabbatical).

GET INVOLVED: Any developers, designers, practitioners… who are interested to get involved in the study, please  message me on here or email me directly – I will be very happy to include and feature your games, lessons learnt, etc. in my study!

Mini track call for papers on Pervasive and Ubiquitous gaming for learning

There will be a mini track dedicated to Ubiquitous and Pervasive Gaming at the ECGBL 2015 in Norway (8-9 Oct). The description is as follows:


Mini track call for papers on Pervasive and Ubiquitous gaming for learning  

Mini track chair: Dr. Sylvester Arnab, Disruptive Media Learning Lab (DMLL), Coventry University, UK

Ubiquitous computing including mobile and location-based technologies have fuelled a proliferation of opportunities for digitally-enabled play in everyday spaces that increases flexibility for learners and the boundaries of anytime, anywhere learning. Sensors built into mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets for instance determine a player’s location, opening up opportunities for a more pervasive approach to learning, where context-aware educational resources in the surrounding environment can be triggered.

 A pervasive game blends physical and digital spaces, concurrently with the normal activities of players’ everyday lives. A pervasive approach to gaming is both an exciting and commercially promising form of computer game that builds on a combination of hybrid interfaces, wireless networking, and context-sensing technologies, which is a strong component of future scenarios for education, opening up opportunities for a more seamless approach to be implemented towards engaging learners with educational activities.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • Location-based and mobile gaming
  • Augmented learning using game technology
  • Gamification and ubiquitous/pervasive learning
  • Alternate Reality Games (ARGs)
  • Procedural content generation for context-aware games
  • State-of-the art in pervasive gaming for learning, including case studies related to Primary, Secondary and/or Higher education
  • Context-aware platforms for learning

 More detail here with submission information:  

Submissions can be made on-line directly on the Abstract submission page

Important dates:

Abstract (300-500 words) submission deadline: 18 March 2015

Notification of abstract acceptance: 26 March 2015

Full paper due for review : 7 May 2015


Please feel free to circulate to your network.

Looking for a home for your PhD research? Or would you like to collaborate with us?

The blending of digital and physical spaces is changing the way we approach teaching and learning.This opens up opportunities for traditional approaches to be taken apart and put back together. There are pedagogical and technological questions to be addressed.

As part of the forward looking Disruptive Media Learning Lab (DMLL) based at Coventry University (the university has recently been awarded Modern University of the year and best in Student Experience), I’m excited about these opportunities and the various topics that can be explored and experimented. Specific areas I’m interested in include:

  • gameful and persuasive design (including game-based learning and gamification),
  • pervasive technology and learning
  • the understanding of engagement in gaming in terms of the emotions that motivate and how these would influence the way we learn
  • alternate and mixed reality in teaching and learning
  • seamless learning experience in a digital saturated ecosystem


DMLL is designed as a cross-University experimental unit that will provide support for new and on-going pedagogic development in new and disruptive technological spaces. The Lab draws upon areas from which the University has established a track record of innovation, e.g, the Serious Games Institute, which has pioneered the use of games science in educational content delivery and the Media Department’s teaching and learning ‘experiments’ with Open Media Classes.

We are excited to work with keen researchers.

Please contact me privately if you are interested to do a PhD with us or if you would like to collaborate with us in R&D within the area of disruptive media and technology.

Context-aware educational resources and dynamics

Within the context of pervasive learning as a response to the diminishing barriers between formal and informal, digital and physical spaces and real and virtual contexts, there is a need to address  the mammoth challenge in advocating seamless learning conceptually, practically and technically. How can the transitions be fostered and optimised? There are various technologies that can be pedagogically repurposed to ensure feasibility in terms of the desired learning outcomes.

The objective behind pervasive and context aware systems is to deliver the most relevant and personalised set of services to the end-user in a timely and on-demand way. Most mobile/portable devices have embedded motion and environmental sensors. Potential for personalised and location/status/time based services is growing exponentially and makes the process of context data distribution very complex and demanding on technology resources such as wireless bandwidth, processing power, storage capacity and artificial intelligence functionality. The combination of sensor variables that might affect the context data needed by one individual creates complexity in its own right but when context sensitive applications may also need to factor in similar variables from other users in the same physical or temporal space it creates an even more demanding environment.[1]  There are some issues with such a pervasive systems in terms of connection reliability. It is important that the GPS signal and Wifi work well in order to understand the exact position of the learners. Current technologies for location tracking can have significant accuracy limitations, especially indoors.

Motivated to explore this further, I had an interesting discussion with the CEO of daVinci Studio, based locally in the West Midlands. He showcased their Beacon technology that could be part of an infrastructure that supports context-aware educational resources within the pervasive learning scenario. Bluetooth connection indoor provides the reliability that is much needed to ensure a seamless experience in and outdoor. Watch the interesting promotional video here.

I aim to look into this further. Contact me if you are interested in similar challenges.

[1] Paolo Bellavista, Antonio Corradi, Mario Fanelli, And Luca Foschini. A Survey of Context Data Distribution for Mobile Ubiquitous Systems. ACM Computing Surveys

[2] Schmitz, B., Klemke, R., & Specht, M. (2013). A Learning Outcome-Oriented Approach towards Classifying Pervasive Games for Learning using Game Design Patterns and Contextual Information. International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning (IJMBL), 5(4), 59-71.

[3] Korhonen H., Saarenpää H., Paavilainen J. – Pervasive Mobile Games – a New Mindset for Players and Developers, Fun and Games 2008, LNCS 5294, pp. 21-32