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The Joy of Learning

Enhancing Learning Experience - Improving Learning Quality
Proceedings of the European Distance and E-Learning Network 2013 Annual Conference
Oslo, 12-15 June, 2013
ISBN 978-963-89559-3-7
Jorge Leon Martinez, Edith Tapia Rangel, National Autonomous University of Mexico –
UNAM, Mexico
Educational game stimulates the acquisition of a discipline, goes beyond acquiring knowledge
and developing skills and contributes to achieve greater motivation in students. Although
educational games may or may not be supported by ICT, ICT have triggered their
development and use in recent years due the following features: easy development and
programming of rules, friendly GUIs and platform portability among many other things.
Considering the above, the Coordination of Open University and Distance Education
(CUAED) entity of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), who is
responsible for providing technology, intellectual and material support to academic
institutions that belonging to the UNAM for the development of ICT supported instructional
materials for classroom and distance learning modalities, has encouraged the development of
educational games in their various formal and informal education projects, so, on this
occasion will present two proposals made: educational games as self- assessments in open
online courses and educational games as exercises in a teaching support portal.
Huizinga cited by García & Llull (2009) notes that “(play is) a free activity standing quite
consciously outside ”ordinary” life as being ”not serious”, but at the same time absorbing the
player intensely and utterly. It is an activity connected with no material interest, and no profit
can be gained by it. It proceeds within its own proper boundaries of time and space according
to fixed rules and in an orderly manner. It promotes the formation of social groupings which
tend to surround themselves with secrecy and to stress their difference from the common
world by disguise or other means”. (García y Llull, 2009).
Game is a human activity that has been present throughout history. The game is generally
associated with childhood, however, their presence is noted along the entire life of people. As
the game is related to fun and relaxation, it is considered an activity opposed to work, despite
this, the game is a means through which societies pass their culture to their members, i.e.,
Educational Games: Proposals for Inclusion in the Process of Learning within the Framework of
Knowledge Management
Jorge Leon Martinez, Edith Tapia Rangel
826 The Joy of Learning – EDEN Annual Conference Proceedings, 2013, Oslo
ISBN 978-963-89559-3-7
values and norms of conduct and conflict resolution so that they can develop their personality.
All this demonstrates the complex nature and operation of the game, which is why it has been
approached from very different theoretical frameworks. In this sense, from the educational
point of view, the game supports the development of all aspects of the individual so that they
can integrate into society, least because: develops in the imaginary world, with freedom and
little responsibility; involves people with cultural traditions of the society in which live
achieving more familiar and meaningful learning and supports the regulation and
organization of joint activity, consensus and social conventions.
The features of the game that Garcia and Llull (2009) refers are: the game is free, the game
gives pleasure, play a game involves mental and / or physical activity, play is innate, the game
has an intrinsic purpose that is enjoy the leisure activity (autotelismo), game organizes actions
in a proper and specific way, game is a way to interact with reality, game is a way of self-
affirmation, game promotes socialization, game is limited in time and space but is uncertain,
because the game is a on-motivator item, has been often used in education to make homework
more fun or to achieve specific learning goals by performing a playful activity.
When the game is introduced in a learning environment with clear and specific objectives
creates an enabling environment for a fun, effective and productive teaching-learning process.
Regarding the educational game Prieto (1984) states at “the so-called educational games ... are
made in such way that cause the exercise of mental functions in a general or in a particular
way” (Prieto, 1984).
Pers (2009) presents a very comprehensive overview of the educational game features,
grouped into two main areas: Form-related (playful, funny, emotional, participatory and
reflective component; not left to chance educational purpose and without punishments;
colours use according to the theme and eye-catching; legible, understandable and
conventional fonts and clarity and understanding on the distribution and arrangement of
elements) and Content-related (oriented to a specific working subject; specific working
objective; clear, concise, specific and appropriate language to the audience it is directed;
instructions describing the contents of the game and the processes to follow to complete it; a
specific work content to give participants the tools of reflection and thematic analysis;
promotion of qualitative or quantitative learning assessment to define achievement of
competencies and capabilities of group and individuals.
The role of educational games in a teaching-learning environment is: promote interest in the
contents, stimulate the decision making, foster collaboration, implement and consolidate the
knowledge acquired and encourage the development of skills, propose dynamic educational
activities and encourage a students behaviour change.
Including educational games in learning environments has some advantages such as allow
new content presentation and review and consolidate learning, cause pleasure and develop
creativity and imagination achieving creative game and fun learning and assist in the
Educational Games: Proposals for Inclusion in the Process of Learning within the Framework of
Knowledge Management
Jorge Leon Martinez, Edith Tapia Rangel
The Joy of Learning – EDEN Annual Conference Proceedings, 2013, Oslo 827
ISBN 978-963-89559-3-7
conversion of the student as an active element of the learning process making him protagonist
of the educational act.
Considering as a fact the inclusion of the game in the teaching-learning environments, has
been sought new ways to present it considering the wide range of possibilities offered by the
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). There are multiple signs that support
this union, like the benefits that ICT offer to the educational such as: availability at any time
and anywhere; teaching-learning process where the student is the protagonist; reduction of
operational restrictions; self-assessment during the process; tracking by feedback, add of
complementary cognitive dimensions of teaching and learning, and self-assessment that
generate a greater satisfaction. Also support the dual educational games-ICT the media
contributions to the teaching-learning process including: upper and stimulating learning;
learning is achieved in less time; interactive features to enhance a positive effect on the
learning; and achievement of improved individual understanding based on activities group.
With respect to the benefits that educational games supported by ICT bring to the teaching-
learning processes are: closely related theory with real-life situation, bring innovation, variety
and usually immediate feedback, provide an environment that surrounds people for long
periods of time and where they return frequently; allow the acquisition of large amounts of
information; a process that is reinforced by repetition; propose an innovative method to
reinforce the facts and to acquire knowledge and skills; promote critical thinking and solving
problems; making use of the action instead of explanation; motivate themselves and produce
personal satisfaction; adaptability to multiple learning styles and abilities.
According to Ulicsak and Wrighr (2010) educational games mediated by ICT can be grouped
according to their underlying pedagogical method. Thus there are three types:
 Those based on behaviourism called edutainment. These games tend to be based on
 Those based on cognitivism that allow the player to identify and analyze problems and
apply prior learning, and based on constructivism that allow the player to learn by
 The multi-model based learning (constructionism, experiential learning theory, the
Kolb Learning Cycle and active experimentation).
Several organizations, including universities, can develop knowledge management through
three main approaches: the process approach, the practice approach and best practice
approach. The development of educational games highlights the use of the process approach
that attempts to codify organizational knowledge through formalized controls, processes and
technologies. Organizations such as the UNAM adopting the process approach can
implement explicit policies that govern how knowledge is collected, stored, and disseminated
throughout the organization. The process approach often involves the use of ICT to enhance
the quality and speed in the creation and distribution of knowledge in organizations. These
Educational Games: Proposals for Inclusion in the Process of Learning within the Framework of
Knowledge Management
Jorge Leon Martinez, Edith Tapia Rangel
828 The Joy of Learning – EDEN Annual Conference Proceedings, 2013, Oslo
ISBN 978-963-89559-3-7
technologies may include intranets, data warehousing, knowledge repositories and tools to
support decision making and teamwork.
Creation process of ICT-supported educational games developed at UNAM
An important part of the proposed educational games in learning environments developed by
UNAM have evaluation and exercise purposes and therefore fall into the category of
Games that support the self-assessment are based on the principle of multiple choice
assessments, which are preferred by players of the educational process because: the correction
is made immediately; allow the creation of different versions of the assessment with the same
questions; the review takes less time allow covering more content by generating more
questions. Therefore, the trivia game was selected to support self-assessment processes. The
trivia as educational game consists of a series of questions with a response usually short or
multiple choice. The player is questioned and must provide the correct answer, because if it
were wrong, the game should indicate which the correct answer is.
By the other hand, educational games as exercise to support teaching were developed in
response to the “Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning,
teaching, assessment” that refers the role of the playful component in learning and language
development. The purpose of educational games mediated by ICT to support the teaching of a
language is that the students develop certain skills within a framework of thought and action.
It also improves the performance of voluntary repetition of the game, increasing
understanding with each repetition.
The development of both types of games is embedded within the instructional design process
of a course or a thematic unit and generally comprises the following steps:
1. Develop learning objectives that the game must satisfy focused on the student.
2. Decide game elements, such as configuration, number of players and concurrency and
type of interaction between game and players.
3. Development of a game design document, which in this case is comprised within the
course or thematic unit instructional script.
4. Integrate content into challenging dynamics of the game, which makes the expert in
conjunction with the instructional designer.
5. Define presentation mechanisms, choosing between textual models (questionnaire)
semi-textuals (crossword) and graphics (memory).
6. Game generation, this occurs when the script is sent to the graphic design area where it
is then integrated into an authoring program.
Educational Games: Proposals for Inclusion in the Process of Learning within the Framework of
Knowledge Management
Jorge Leon Martinez, Edith Tapia Rangel
The Joy of Learning – EDEN Annual Conference Proceedings, 2013, Oslo 829
ISBN 978-963-89559-3-7
7. The game is reviewed in structure and operation by the expert and instructional
designer to review that meets the specifications. If they find errors in the integration,
return to graphic design until done.
8. The game is composed and published in the course or subject for which it was
Distribution process of ICT supported educational games developed by UNAM
Using the methodology described above, various academic institutions supported by the
CUAED have developed educational games supported by ICT, which are distributed in two
major projects: Educational games as self-assessment of open online courses and educational
games as exercise in a teaching support portal.
Educational games as open courses online self-assessment
The open courses online are found in a website where reside various open resources with
varied themes accessible to anyone ( These courses
have objectives, content, learning activities and self-assessments, to enable people to make
their learning independently. Educational games are present in the area of self-assessment
trivia with model described previously. The trivia can take simple forms as related words
questionnaires or true-false questionnaires, more advanced forms such as crosswords, word
search and armed summary tables incorporating the right words, or more graphic and
developed forms by converting board games memory such as text with image, text image ratio
and rally.
Educational games as exercise in a teaching support portal
By example, the portal called English Media (,
hosts electronic materials that help to consolidate learning English as a foreign language in the
form of four skills (speaking, writing, reading, listen) or extend the practice and exposure to
the foreign language independently. The resources are organized in levels (A1, A1+, A2). Each
level shows different themes. Each theme opens a window that displays the contents of the
subject and a menu with the following options: learning activities, trivia and glossary. Getting
into the trivia option, you can choose a trivia for each skill to be developed. The trivias were
developed interactively and with a variety of multimedia resources. These trivias allow that the
learner do exercising processes to achieve the permanence of knowledge.
Educational Games: Proposals for Inclusion in the Process of Learning within the Framework of
Knowledge Management
Jorge Leon Martinez, Edith Tapia Rangel
830 The Joy of Learning – EDEN Annual Conference Proceedings, 2013, Oslo
ISBN 978-963-89559-3-7
The development of these educational games mediated by ICT has involved the organization
of multidisciplinary teams where participating content experts from various schools of
UNAM, while the other group members are provided by the CUAED (instructional designer,
copyeditor, designer graphic, programmer, etc.).
Such proposals derived from interest that UNAM has established to incorporate The
Knowledge Management into their activities, using in this specific case the process approach,
seeking to improve the steps to create and distribute knowledge of academics supported by
the ICT, for the benefit of the entire university community.
For the development of these games was developed a methodology that starts with the
definition of the learning objective that includes a playful component and consists of eight
major steps described above, which has been improved annually. The purpose of including
educational games in open online courses was to support students in their process of self
learning through playful self-assessment mechanisms that make the learning process more
Regarding English Media Portal were addressed the recommendations of the Common
European Framework of Reference, and in this case, are a teaching support mechanism
allowing to the students exercise the learned and increase their level of competence.
The purpose of both developments was to support students in their learning process, however,
lack the evaluation stage of educational games to confirm if they have met the goal.
Educational Games: Proposals for Inclusion in the Process of Learning within the Framework of
Knowledge Management
Jorge Leon Martinez, Edith Tapia Rangel
The Joy of Learning – EDEN Annual Conference Proceedings, 2013, Oslo 831
ISBN 978-963-89559-3-7
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Educational Games: Proposals for Inclusion in the Process of Learning within the Framework of
Knowledge Management
Jorge Leon Martinez, Edith Tapia Rangel
832 The Joy of Learning – EDEN Annual Conference Proceedings, 2013, Oslo
ISBN 978-963-89559-3-7