Integrating games as a means to develop e-learning: insights from a psychological perspective

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Although the Education sector has pioneered the use of technology, the pace of technological change has outstripped the slower processes of theoretical development and critical reflection, so the field is highly fragmented and lacks a comprehensive evidence base to support future development. In this paper we consider how the insights offered by games and a psychological perspective can address the current challenges. Both games and e-learning specialists are facing similar challenges and would therefore benefit from adopting a more integrated approach in the future. We demonstrate how this integration can best be achieved by viewing the challenges through a psychological lens which informs theory, research and practice in user-centred design, supports the development of more widely applicable theories of learning and pedagogy, recognises of the complexity of the contexts in which learning occurs, and offer an established evidence-based framework to aid integration at the theoretical level by emphasising the continued importance of classic concepts such a transfer, cognitive load and the increasing blurred boundaries between formal and informal learning, but also in terms of methodology and as a catalyst for future debate and discussion.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12784
Pages (from-to)1049-1059
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Technology
Issue number3
Early online date1 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2019


  • games
  • e-learning
  • psychology
  • gamification
  • user-centred design
  • individual differences


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