Serious games as innovative formative assessment tools for programming in Higher Education

Thomas Hainey, Gavin Baxter, Julie Black, Kenneth Yorke, Julius Bernikas, Natalia Chrzanowska, Fraser McAulay

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


Serious games are becoming increasingly popular as alternative supplementary learning approaches across all disciplines at all levels. Learners are more enabled to become more actively involved, not only in the learning process but also in the design and development of innovative formative assessment tools. This paper will present four serious games for programming education developed as part of a Serious Games honours year module in Higher Education at the University of the West of Scotland. Computer Games Development students were tasked as part of a research project to design and implement a serious game for students in their course or other Computer Science related courses in earlier years to provide their peers with innovative games for the purposes of formative assessment. It was hoped that the participants could enhance the engagement of courses that they had already passed but also utilise their creative Games Development skills in a new productive way to enhance the assessments in their own course having had the experience. Permitting students to design their own formative serious game assessments in this way enabled enhanced creativity with the students creatively tackling the overall problem in insightful and surprising ways. This paper will look at four games created for the purposes of teaching programming by analysing the overall learning outcomes, development process and providing a description of the games. The idea is to provide insight into the development process of serious games for programming education in terms of similarities, differences and to produce a basic framework for development in relation to content, assessment, and game mechanics. The paper will produce an overview of the excellent games created and present a case for increased active involvement of students to develop their own serious games – particularly on Computer Games degree or college courses.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 16th European Conference on Games Based Learning
EditorsConceição Costa
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781914587528
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sept 2022
EventEuropean Conference on Game Based Learning 2022 - Lusófona University, Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 6 Oct 20227 Oct 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of the European Conference on Games-Based Learning
ISSN (Print)2049-0992
ISSN (Electronic)2049-100X


ConferenceEuropean Conference on Game Based Learning 2022
Abbreviated titleECGBL 2022
Internet address


  • games-based learning
  • formative assessment
  • programming
  • higher education
  • serious games


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