The opportunities and challenges of serious games for people with an intellectual disability

Melody M. Terras, Elizabeth A. Boyle, Judith Ramsay, Dominic Jarrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
213 Downloads (Pure)


Serious Games (SG) are increasingly used to deliver education and training to support well‐being, social skills, independent living and online safety. This presents opportunities and challenges for users, developers and educational providers to ensure their benefits are available to all. People with intellectual disability (ID) experience high levels of digital exclusion. This article reviews and synthesises the literature on the use of SG with people with ID. Recent work indicates the importance of the psycho‐social profile of the gameplayer, mechanics and game context. We consider how these factors influence the inclusivity of SG and how they could be addressed. We demonstrate how a psychological perspective illuminates the impact of the user's psychological profile on game use and effectiveness, and explore how culture, personalisation and learning analytics can increase inclusivity of SG. We conclude by identifying wider challenges such as the need for multi‐disciplinary working and a more integrated, conceptual framework for games design which addresses diversity in learning needs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)690-700
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Technology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2018


  • Serious Games
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Psychology
  • Game Mechanics
  • Games Design


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