Brief review of video games in learning & education how far we have come

Ben Kenwright

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

9 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a survey on video games in learning and education, including patterns and trends in technologies and correlations in popularity with regard to the entertainment industry. The fact that games have the ability to engage and captivate a person’s attention for long periods of time, while offering numerous additional benefits, such as, developing high-level thinking skills, is extremely attractive and important. The capacity to unconsciously learn and master complex concepts through video games has enormous benefit in learning (beyond simple ‘educational’ games, such as, sharpening focus, responsiveness, and collaborative working). As we show in this paper, research dating right back to the early 1980s has consistently demonstrated that playing computer games (irrespective of genre) develops faster reaction times, improved hand-eye co-ordination and raises players’ self-esteem. We review video game literature in the area of education (and learning) and how technologies are changing traditional learning paradigms (e.g., mobile devices and virtual reality). What is more, we also review the disadvantages of video games in certain contexts and debate the reasons for their failures - but more importantly what measures are necessary to ensure video games facilitate as an educational ‘aid’ and not a ‘hindrance’. Having said that, we deliberate on questions, such as, what makes an ‘educational game’ and how is the design and structure different from a traditional ‘video game’? Above all, educational video games have changed enormously over the past few decades, with a greater emphasis on understanding the audience, learning objectives and evaluation mechanisms to ‘guarantee’ the game is successful and accomplishes its end goal - as we discuss, this is embodied by a whole assortment of elements, from psychology, age, gender and technological factors to social and usability development. In conclusion, video games connect with a vast assortment of areas, such as, medicine and robotics, but most importantly, education and learning. With video games one of the largest growing sectors, we contemplate how past research and recent developments in technologies are changing the learning and educational sector for the better, thereby gaining insights into future strength and directions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSIGGRAPH Asia 2017 Symposium on Education
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Electronic)9781450354097
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2017
EventSIGGRAPH Asia 2017 Symposium on Education - Bangkok, Thailand
Duration: 27 Nov 201730 Nov 2017


ConferenceSIGGRAPH Asia 2017 Symposium on Education
Abbreviated titleSA 2017


  • Computing
  • Education
  • Gamification
  • Learning
  • Serious games
  • Technologies
  • Video games

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Media Technology
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Education


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