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

Roger Edmonds, Simon Smith


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.


mobile learning; pedagogy; geo-location; gamification; digital storytelling

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