Eductional Gaming


Immersive interactive digital entertainment, or digital/video game playing, has become a defining feature of the younger generation of learners. Research studies have shown the potential educational benefit that may be gleaned from either commercial games or purposively designed educational games.

Three important approaches have dominated research on gaming, particularly related to education. The first view (e.g. Jim Gee’s work) considers how game playing, including commercial game playing, can inform learning and pedagogy. The second view focuses on the educational value and significance in existing games, mostly commercial entertainment games. The third standpoint (e.g. Squire and Jenkins’s work) focuses on designing and developing educational games that are as engaging as commercial games.


My selected works in educational gamimg:

Li, Q., Clark, B., & Winchester, I. (in press). Instructional design and technology with enactivism: A shift of paradigm? British Journal of Educational Technology.


Li, Q.[PI], SSHRC Standard Research Grant, $155,072, "Why read if I can build? Digital games and Web 2.0 for science and math learning", 2009-2011.



Just like other fields in education, game research, particularly serious game research has been primarily grounded in constructivism. In recent years, though, constructivism has been challenged in various ways and scholars start to search for alternative paradigms. One of the emergent philosophical worldviews is enactivism, rooted in the phenomenological work of Merleau-Ponty and Bateson’s biological perspectives. I have argued that enactivism provides a more encompassing framework to meet the current epistemological challenges for educational caused by rapid development of technology (click here to read this in detail). A well known slogan of enactivism is “all doing is knowing and all knowing is doing” (Varela et al. 1991), which matches the core focus of gaming on doing. Adapting enactivism, I suggest, in my recent published journal articles, that education should focuses on the creation of a comprehensive learning world which mirrors the complex system of our world, considering the merging of our biological nervous systems and the electronic medium. Specifically, games in the emergent participatory culture brought by Web. 2. 0 and associated technologies provides an ideal context to craft such learning world. Further, I have proposed a possible educational model for bridging the digital gender gap identified in the literature by harnessing the power of games and Web 2.0

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