Co-creativity inspired by play and games

Recently keynoted at the ever so successful Remix Play 2 Summit at Coventry University’s Disruptive Media Learning Lab. Huge congratulations to Samantha Clarke and the team! And also a big thank you to all the speakers! I will have a separate post on the event soon with photos, twitter feeds and some statistics!

We submitted an abstract to ECGBL 2018, inspired by this keynote piece aiming to discuss the importance of a co-creative process inspired by playful and gameful perspectives.

The abstract is as follows:

Co-Creativity with playful and gameful inspirations

This paper will discuss the importance of co-creativity in facilitating an engaging learning process based on the GameChangers initiative ( part-funded by the Higher Education Funding Council of England (HEFCE).  Taking into account the relationships between play, technology and learning, the design of the initiative itself fully embraces and accommodates for the creation and development of games of any typology (board games, card games, digital games, etc.)  and playful solutions (gamified products) as freely chosen by the participants, be them students or staff. By engaging in these practices, participants were intended to obtain valuable knowledge in creative and collaborative problem solving, experience game design and development process and even, possibly, address real challenges and opportunities in their communities. The focus however is on the creative process rather than the end products/solutions produced by the participants. The paper will specifically discuss the methodology and findings from an experimental module developed based on the approach involving level 2 undergraduate students (n=30) from the different schools and faculties at Coventry University, UK. Based on the qualitative feedback and reflections collected in week 5 and week 10 of the modules, the co-creative process inspired by play and games demonstrates that through the process, students discover the importance of elements such as empathy, purpose, meaning, art and teamwork in their learning regardless of the specific disciplines they are pursuing.

The Remix Play keynote slides:

Trans-disciplinary model for Game-Based Intervention design

The design and development of game-based application aimed at serious purposes has to consider considerations from relevant disciplines. And it is a mammoth task to actually get every single experts as part of the design and development team. Based on the experience we had in the domain, myself and Samantha Clarke decided to synthesise the approach and considerations into a model that could be used as guidelines for ensuring some kind of rigour to game-based intervention methodology.

You can access the publication and official publisher’s blog post and other resources here:

And thanks to Samantha Clarke and Sarah Kernarghan-Andrews, we now have a playlist that further elaborates on the model:





The Be-attitudes of ‘Think Hybrid’

My previous post emphasises on the importance of a more hybrid approach when it comes to using gamification as an experience design tool. I talked about my views on this at the last Gamification Europe conference and summarised lessons learnt as the Be-Attitudes of Thinking Hybrid. Please check out my slides here:

You can catch up on the talk here (think i had tooo much coffee), and correction – my colleague Mike Duncan is a Prof in Exercise Science, and not Game Science – that’s me- DOH!:

Check out more keynotes from the conference here: Playlist

Well done to Pete Jenkins, Vasilis and team!!!

#BeaconingEU and #C4Rs at #ECGBL17

ECGBL is a mecca for game-based learning researchers, developers and practitioners. It is great to be here again and this time around with two papers based on work carried out in the H2020 Beaconing and Crowd4Roads projects.

Taxonomy of a gamified lesson path for STEM education: The Beaconing approach

 Aikaterini Bourazeri, Sylvester Arnab, Olivier Heidmann, Antonio Coelho and Luca Morini


21st Century learning focuses on different skills and expertise that learners should develop for a successful life and career, and these are usually organised into four main categories: ways of thinking (e.g. creativity, innovation, critical thinking, problem-solving); ways of working (e.g. communication and collaboration); tools for working (e.g. digital literacy) and living in the world (e.g. citizenship, social responsibility, awareness). Learning should be reshaped to better match these requirements and prepare learners for open societies where learning will be lifelong and based on critical-thinking, cultural awareness, flexibility and adaption to changes. This paper introduces a new approach developed under the scope of the Beaconing project, which aims to contextualise the teaching and learning process, connecting it with problem-based mechanics within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The aim is to provide the missing connection between STEM subjects and real-world interactions and applications, and it is developed with inputs from teachers, researchers, educational experts and industry leaders. The pedagogical foundation is based on problem-based learning, in which active learning is in the centre and learners have to work with different tools and resources in order to solve problems (quests). Teachers facilitate, assess and author pervasive and gamified learning activities (missions). And these quests are gamified in order to provide non-linear game plots. This paper discusses the taxonomy for the Beaconing lesson path, which includes specific categories such as STEM competencies, learning objectives, pedagogical resources, rewards, narratives, game plots, location-based activities and game parameters. The lesson paths developed with the stakeholders will be populated with gamified learning activities such as mini-games, location-based mini-games, location-based activities and physical activities. The lesson paths will scaffold learners through self-directed and independent study, extending the learning experience beyond the classroom settings and complementing existing methods of teaching. The gamified lesson path taxonomy provides the backbone to the Beaconing platform and the associated components. This approach is adoptable and adaptable to various learning objectives.


A Gamified Approach for Facilitating a User-engagement Strategy for Public-Led Collective Awareness Platform for Road Sensing

Samantha Clarke, Sylvester Arnab, Mark Lewis, Luca Morini, Saverio Depriori, Alessandro Bogliolo and Lorenz Klopfenstein


Collective awareness is a means by which communities can engage in collective action and crowdsourcing through citizen participation, leading to the accumulation of big data essential for informing decision making and for solving difficult problems.  However, engaging a huge number of the general public in a crowdsourcing initiative is a mammoth task. This paper explores the approach implemented by the Crowd4Roads (C4Rs) project, which aims at combining smart sensing, ride sharing and gamification applications to harness collective intelligence for providing open data towards boosting traffic conditions in Europe. Drawing on the theory of gameful/playful successes of using gamification as a motivating and behavioural change tool, Crowd4Roads adopts gamification as an innovative strategy for fostering user-engagement and promoting growth within the projects user acquisition and retention metrics. This paper presents the development approach of the C4Rs’ SmartRoadSense system and the design of the gamified layer that is employed to actively engage a large number of users for the pilot trials of the system. The paper provides a discussion and reflection on the development approach.


Game-based intervention design meets Design Thinking

It was a great pleasure to run a one-day workshop with Daniel Meusburger with the University of Munich on 6th May 2017. A weekend well spent.

The workshop merged the transdisciplinary considerations for game-based intervention design and the design thinking methodology for empowering non-game designers to design their own playful and gameful strategies. The participants are involved in psychology and clinical research within the context of interventions for children with learning disorders. And this is part of their project for developing digital and online hub for supporting children and professionals, such as teachers, parents, support workers, etc. Picture1

This calls for a methodology with rigour that will ensure that the change objectives and measures intended for the proposed intervention programme are emphasised in the design process. The specific slide deck for the transdisciplinary approach is shared below. And you can read more here.

The group achieved first iteration of their design for interventions related to learning disorders and it is my hope that they will adopt and adapt the approach to develop programmes that will be implemented.



#BeaconingEU showcased at #Else2017

We managed to meet our milestone for the end of April and presented what we have developed so far at the ELSE Conference 2017 as one of the 1/2 day workshops. It was pretty intense with quite a variety of prototypes to show- from the integrated gamified lesson path through to the location-based game authoring and the actual pervasive games that was designed specifically for the workshop.

Introduction slides for the workshop:


A quick introduction to our lesson path approach:

Some tweets from the day, also featuring the winners from the workshop on the day – the pervasive game, teacher feedback and student feedback. Well done to all and well done to the Romanian partner for making it a success.

Follow the project on Twitter and Facebook.


#BERA blog post on #GameScience methodology

I was recently invited to write a short blog post on Game Science for the British Educational Research Association (BERA) based on an article published on their SJR: Quartile 1 journal – British Journal of Educational Technology (BJET).

The use of game science in redesigning ordinary tasks is transforming everyday lives and most importantly injecting more fun in everyday contexts. The power of games to immerse and motivate, and the capabilities of games to foster and facilitate cognitive gain, awareness, and behavioural change have encouraged more games of this nature to be developed within a research context as well as to be deployed in real application setting.

The article describes a methodology for game science/game-based intervention development based on previous development experience that may inform future design and development for games and/or gamification with a purpose.

This piece of work, which has been published by the British Journal of Educational Technology (BJET) (see Arnab and Clarke 2017) emphasises on the need for best practices within a multi-disciplinary setting to be translated into a trans-disciplinary development methodology, which infuses knowledge from different disciplines and creates a unity of intellectual frameworks beyond the disciplinary perspectives. This infused methodological framework should act as a validated guide to inform a development process.

Read the blog post and/or the full article.