About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 8565-8566 (abstract only)
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.0573

Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain


V. Donzella

WMG University of Warwick (UNITED KINGDOM)
Is it fun the key for learning and for engaging students in higher education (HE)? It is well know that children learn from playing [1]. In HE, there are several lecturers experimenting with games to support the learning and the engagement of ‘mature’ students [2-3]. There are even social studies on game use to promote healthy habits [4].

Game is defined as ‘a challenging activity, structured with rules, goals, progression and rewards, that is separate from the real world, and undertaken with a spirit of playfulness’ [5]. Analysing this definition and its relationship to HE, games have several appealing features that can support the learning [6-7]:
- games are a ‘safe environment’, separate from the real world, where students can experiment and be creative;
- games challenge students to achieve an objective exploiting their knowledge and/or applying new skills and learnings;
- there are rules and instructions; they can be linked to previous knowledge, they enable to assess the student performance, and they enhance the concept retention and their transfer to practical tasks;
- games are undertaken in a spirit of playfulness, promoting intrinsic motivation;
- progression and rewards, as well as interaction, provide the students with immediate feedback on their learning and its application.

WMG at the University of Warwick endeavours to offer a unique place to undertake HE studies, connecting our learners with some of the best researchers and industrial practitioners. We are committed in exploiting innovative teaching tools, to develop well-rounded individuals. As a part of this commitment, we have used different kinds of game based learning in our modules, to teach contents related to automotive software and electronics, and smart connected and autonomous vehicles [8].

Below some examples:
- a board-game activity on automotive programming and code robustness and standards. The board-game creates an interactive, hands-on session, combining fun and challenges, and it is received with very positive student feedback;
- on-line, real-time quizzes, with instantaneous results and scoreboard (e.g. using on line tools like kahoot, pooleveywhere [9-10]). These quizzes are an immediate way to perform formative assessment, and to review and to reinforce learning. In feedback, students express that quizzes are engaging, fun and useful;
- small-scale simulations of autonomous vehicles using LEGO EV3. We leverage the different kinds of sensors available for LEGO EV3 to build an amusing activity where the students can practically experiment sensor characterization, limitations, sensor fusion and the relationship between sensor data and the programming of autonomous vehicles.

In conclusion, ad-hoc games can be a powerful teaching tool to enhance student engagement and to support learning in HE.

[1] Samuelsson, Scand. J. of education research, 2008
[2] Sung, Computers & Education. 2013
[3] Danahy, Int. J. of Adv. Robotic Systems. 2014
[4] https://youtu.be/2lXh2n0aPyw, acc. 28/06/18
[5 https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/playful-learning-using-games-enhance-student-experience, accessed 28/06/18
[6] Breuer J, J. for Computer Game Culture. 2010
[7] Hamari J, Computers in Human Behavior. 2016
[8] https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/wmg/education/wmgmasters/courses/smart_connected_and_autonomous_vehicles/, acc. 28/06/18
[9] https://create.kahoot.it/, acc. 28/06/18
[10] https://www.polleverywhere.com /, acc. 28/06/18
[11] Donzella V, ICERI 2017
author = {Donzella, V.},
series = {11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2018 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-05948-5},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2018.0573},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2018.0573},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {12-14 November, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {8565-8566}}
AU - V. Donzella
SN - 978-84-09-05948-5/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2018.0573
PY - 2018
Y1 - 12-14 November, 2018
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2018 Proceedings
SP - 8565
EP - 8566
ER -
V. Donzella (2018) THE POWER OF PLAY IN HIGHER EDUCATION TEACHING, ICERI2018 Proceedings, pp. 8565-8566.