An article on a trans-disciplinary methodological model accepted for publication

Early this year I briefly wrote about exploring a trans-disciplinary perspective with regards to game-based intervention design and development. ‘Intervention’ brings a game-based approach closer to the stakeholders in real operational environment and it is important to include an intervention mapping approach in the design and development of a game-based (software) solution.

This perspective emphasises on a need to set a strong context for the proposed intervention. In my post on a more holistic approach, technology should not be the (only) main driving factor, but together (collectively) with the strategy for achieving and measuring impact in whatever domain the technological solutions are going to be applied, they will be able to inform the iterative and incremental design and development process through to the subsequent evaluations of the intervention.

Abstract of the paper to be published in the British Journal of Educational Technology (BJET):

Towards a trans-disciplinary methodology for a game-based intervention development process

Sylvester Arnab and Samantha Clarke


The application of game-based learning adds play into educational and instructional contexts. Even though there is a lacking of standard methodologies or formulaic frameworks to better inform game-based intervention development, there exist scientific and empirical studies that can serve as benchmarks for establishing the scientific validity in terms of the efficacy of using games to achieve serious outcomes. The development of these games does not normally follow a specific set of guidelines, which limits replication. There is a need to reflect on such a multi-disciplinary process and infuse knowledge from relevant disciplines towards developing a unity of considerations and approaches beyond the disciplinary perspectives. An infused and trans-disciplinary methodological framework could serve as a guideline to inform the development process of a game-based approach. With these perspectives, this paper aims to provide an example of how relevant theories and frameworks can be adopted collectively in order to inform a development process. Based on a digital game intervention aiming to support the delivery of Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) in the UK, this paper reflects on the trans-disciplinary considerations, informed by frameworks such as the Four-Dimensional Framework (4DF), the Intervention Mapping (IM) approach, Mechanics Dynamics Aesthetics model (MDA) and Learning Mechanics-Game Mechanics (LM-GM) mapping. IM when infused with the game design considerations of 4DF provides a more procedural perspective to game-based intervention development, collectively reflecting a participatory development approach. This subsequently provides the basis upon which other theoretical and methodological frameworks can be embedded, such as the MDA and the LM-GM models in order to marry the pedagogical aspects with the entertainment attributes of gameplay. These components when integrated may formulate a trans-disciplinary model that can be adopted and adapted by other researchers, designers and developers.

Keywords: serious games, game design, trans-disciplinary, game-based learning, game development life cycle

Note: Paper has just been accepted and is undergoing editing and proofing process.