From playing to designing: Enhancing educational experiences with location-based mobile learning games

  • Roger Edmonds University of South Australia
  • Simon Smith
Keywords: mobile learning, pedagogy, geo-location, gamification, digital storytelling


This paper presents research into the benefits and implementation strategies of integrating location-based mobile learning games in higher education courses to enhance educational experiences. Two approaches were studied: learning by playing, and learning by designing. In the first, games were developed for undergraduate courses in four discipline areas, introduced during lectures, and played by students during a tutorial, as a self-guided activity or field excursion. In the second, students designed and developed their own prototype games as an educational activity to explore pedagogical strategies in personalised learning. Observations were made as students played and designed games. Online surveys, focus groups, and game analytics were used to help understand player behaviour and discover satisfaction rates, engagement, and the impact on learning outcomes. Results indicate that both the playing and self-designing of location-based mobile learning games can deliver active, engaging, and authentic educational experiences for students, enhancing opportunities to interact with locations, mobile content, and with each other. The impact of design, implementation strategy, and support on a student’s motivation for, and engagement with, the learning is discussed, along with the designing of games to offer an opportunity for students to personalise their learning and develop new ICT skills.


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Author Biography

Roger Edmonds, University of South Australia

I am an online educational designer supporting the Teaching Innovation Unit's implementation of blended delivery and online learning by providing expert advice, training and support to academic staff on the design of courses and programs in order to appropriately use educational technologies to deliver their courses in this mode. 

I am also co-leading a Digital Learning Strategy Project on 'location-based mobile learning'. This project aims to implement location-based mobile learning games in three different UniSA courses in order to inform the development of a mobile learning framework that can be later replicated in other educational contexts. The framework will be used to guide the future design and decision making for providing contextually based mobile learning in the university. It will be used by academics to complement and enrich long their standing (non-digital) teaching and learning experiences with new, genuinely effective digital educational interventions delivered in authentic contexts outside of the classroom.

How to Cite
Edmonds, R., & Smith, S. (2017). From playing to designing: Enhancing educational experiences with location-based mobile learning games. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 33(6).
Special Issue 2017 - Mobile Augmentation