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JISC Review on Learning in Immersive Worlds

Sara de Freitas
Last modified 26 Feb, 2007
Published 26 Feb, 2007
A newly-published report Learning in Immersive Worlds: a review of game-based learning explores the increased attention being paid to games to support learning objectives, presenting the findings of a literature review and a set of case studies of game-based learning from everyday practice contexts.

Since the earliest times, games have been used to support training and learning objectives. With the development of computers and more recently the Internet, there has been increased interest in how leisure games and simulations can be used to support learning.

The JISC-commissioned report finds that computer games could have an important role to play in learning but that for learning to take place, games must be related to learning outcomes and be relevant to real world contexts of practice. Factors that influence learner motivation include, the report suggests, the player’s sense of challenge, the realism of the game, opportunities to explore or discover new information and learner control.

One major barrier to the uptake of game-based learning, says the report, is the perception that gaming is a leisure pursuit with no pedagogic value. However, the ‘explosion’ in leisure gaming over the last ten years, with more than 335 million leisure software titles having been sold in the last decade alone (Office of National Statistics/Screen Digest/Chart-Track, 2006), has important implications for the use of games and simulations in both pre- and post-16 education.

Author of the report Sara de Freitas says that using game-based learning effectively means that the research community will need to continue to explore both the use of commercial games in learning contexts and the development of proprietary games. ‘In both cases,’ she says, ‘there needs to be an emphasis upon embedding games effectively and in accordance with sound pedagogic principles.’

A copy of the full report of Learning in Immersive Worlds: a review of game-based learning is available from:


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