Chapter 3 : Understanding the Pedagogy of Digital Games

This chapter presents a pedagogic rationale for the use of digital games for learning in Higher Education, examining motivation, engagement and learning theory in relation to the use of computer games.

Further Reading

Alessi, S. M. & Trollip, S. R. (2001). Multimedia for Learning. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon: although not explicitly linked to games, chapter 2 provides an excellent critical overview of many of the theories discussed in this chapter.

Oxland, K. 2004. Gameplay and Design. Harlow: Addison-Wesley: design of interaction in games and feedback can be found in chapter 6, ‘Feedback and Fulfilment’.


Reflecting on your own motivations: Consider whether you would personally find a game motivational for learning.

Understanding what engages you: Compare two different experiences to consider what aspects of an experience lead to engagement.

Considering pedagogic approaches in games: Using the games described in Chapter 1, consider the pedagogic approaches that each game uses.

Screen Shots

Experimenting in Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silver Earring (image reproduced with permission of DreamCatcher Interactive Inc.)

And Then There Were None, an adventure game based on the Agatha Christie novel (image reproduced with permission of DreamCatcher Interactive Inc.)