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USE OF SERIOUS GAMES IN INFORMAL LEARNING: STATE OF THE ART AND FUTURE TRENDS

E. Pérez, M.J. Merchán, M.D. Moreno, P. Merchán, S. Salamanca

University of Extremadura (SPAIN)
Children, from ever younger ages, are exposed to new technologies and accustomed to their usage. One of the uses they enjoy the nost are video games. During game sessions, they are focused on the objectives of the game and have an enthusiastic and active attitude. Conversely, children have a passive attitude, as mere receivers of knowledge, and sometimes get bored when they are in educational sessions. In order to involve students in educational experiences, achieving the proposed learning objectives and results in a deeper way, the number of games for educational purposes (serious games) based on new technologies has increased in recent years.

To date, serious games are mainly focused on formal education taught in schools where learning is compulsory and explicit, and educational sessions are oriented to solve questions or problems. However, informal education acquired through playful activities or visits to science centers, art galleries or museums, can also benefit from them. Nonetheless, given the distinctive characteristics of both types of education, serious games applied in both types cannot be the same.

The growing popularity of serious games in informal learning has motivated various authors to design, develop and document them together with some practical experiences. The applicability of these games is varied, ranging from virtual visits to informal learning settings, to immersive physical experiences in these places.

Based on the abundance of them and in the absence of works that review them jointly, in this paper a revision of technological serious games for informal learning is carried out. It also discusses possible future trends of this learning methodology in informal education.