Developing critical thinking skills through gamification

Claudia V. Angelelli, Geisa Muller de Campos Ribeiro, Maico Roris Severino*, Eilidh Johnstone, Gana Borzenkova, Dayane Costa Oliveira da Silva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Misinformation as well as the proliferation of fake news has been a problem during COVID-19 pandemic. This has affected many vulnerable communities in Brazil. The ability to understand and sort out pieces of reliable information and fake news has become a fundamental cognitive skill. In this study we report on the development of a serious game (a card-based role-playing game) using Brazilian folk heroes aimed to develop critical thinking skills to empower vulnerable communities affected by misinformation and fake news. Four groups located in the city of Goiânia (Brazil) participated in this research: one group of people experiencing homelessness; two groups of favela residents (one urban and one in the suburbs) and one group of recyclable material collectors from a cooperative. We gained entry and built trust with each of these groups and worked together for 10 months during the pandemic. We conducted participatory observations, individual interviews with each participant and discussed their daily interaction with information, specifically in the context of the covid-19 pandemic. The analyses of the observations and interview data gave us a glimpse of the communicative needs of the groups. Inserting players into a narrative where they can make decisions based on critical thinking and their own reflections on the pandemic was important for building knowledge and developing critical thinking in these communities. The nature of the game (interactive and cooperative) allowed participants to focus on problem-solving skills and group work. It encouraged them to use real-life knowledge and skills to solve the fictional problems presented by the narrative.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101354
JournalThinking Skills and Creativity
Early online date20 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • Diverse literacy levels
  • Empirically driven materials
  • Folk culture
  • Serious games
  • Vulnerable communities


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