ThinknDrinkn? - An Evaluation of the use of Games Based Learning (GBL) for Alcohol Awareness

Ashley Healy, Thomas Connolly

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

4 Citations (Scopus)


While computer games have been phenomenally successful within the leisure industry with their inherent ability to motivate, engage and inspire, their application for educational purposes has had limited success. However, a recent project called ThinknDrinkn? has proved successful with educationalists, policy makers and children alike.This paper reports on a project undertaken with 12-13 year olds that used GBL as an aid to teach children about the dangers of alcohol abuse. The project enabled children to participate in brainstorming sessions to develop the game concept, determine suitable game genres and consider appropriate content for a game that could teach about the dangers of alcohol abuse in a 'child-friendly' manner. Additionally, this project enabled two schools to successfully collaborate and helped pupils work across a variety of school departments, with the School of Computing at the University of the West of Scotland, the police force and the National Health Service. The pupils were at the heart of the project as they guided the development path by providing suggestions and ideas for the game that they believed their peers could relate to. The pupils also wrote and recorded their own song to go with the game, which has received airplay by local radio stations. In turn this has acted as an advertising campaign for the game and the project.

This paper discusses the project in detail and reveals the results of an evaluation that was carried out with teachers and pupils involved in the project. It is apparent that GBL is certainly an engaging and motivational approach for working with children and reaching out to them about important social issues. The results support the stance that GBL can benefit the learning experience and aid learner comprehension. It has also validated the view that formal teaching and learning styles are beneficial in some areas of the curriculum, thus reinforcing the importance of a hybrid set of methods to improve the learning experience for learners.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing Limited (ACPIL)
ISBN (Print)978-1-906638-18-4
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Games-based learning
  • secondary school
  • learning
  • alcohol abuse
  • education


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