Towards a Game-Based Learning Ecosystem: An Institutional Strategy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Paper published in Proceedingspeer-review


In 2013 Charles Darwin University (CDU) embarked on a journey to explore the use of game-based learning (GBL) and game thinking as ways to improve engagement and learning outcomes for students. While games have been widely acknowledged as effective learning tools (Johnson et al., 2013) and have the potential to support learning in a variety of contexts (Whitton, 2012), there is little information available in relation to systemic implementation of GBL in Higher Education (HE) institutions. This paper presents a proposed GBL ecosystem that will form the basis of a framework for an institutional strategy to support the use of GBL pedagogical approaches at CDU. Based on the work by Epper, Derryberry and Jackson (2012), this paper discusses factors that need to be considered, from a strategic viewpoint, to enable a GBL ecosystem to be effective. These factors include: Design; Policy and Governance; Faculty Readiness; Technology Infrastructure; and Monitoring and Evaluation. The paper incorporates findings collected through workshops run as part of the "Game On: Exploring Innovative Pedagogies: Using Game Design to Enhance Online Learning Symposium" hosted by Charles Darwin University in September 2013. The aims of the Symposium were to: Share information about the potential for the incorporation of game design, GBL and/or gamification (the integration of game elements, mechanics and frameworks into non-game situations and scenarios), elements into learning resources; and, to explore the opportunities and potential barriers that would arise from such a decision. A mixed methods approach was used to collect data from attendees through anonymous online surveys, workshop activities and observations. While there is no doubt that many CDU staff are enthusiastic about the opportunities for development of content that could be more engaging, motivating and fun for students, the GBL ecosystem is still under discussion while consideration is given to the levels of support, professional development, and associated business models needed to successfully implement such a proposal. Part of the proposal is the establishment of a centre of excellence for GBL development and the offering of seeding grants to spark initiatives. Implementation of the framework also requires a scalable, staged approach to allow adequate time for professional development and establishment of the underlying support tools and structures. CDU is in a unique position as a dual sector university, to be able to support and provide learning experiences for both vocational and higher education students. Additionally CDU's geographically diverse student population, where more than 75% of students access some or all of their learning resources online, places CDU in a strong position to leverage opportunities presented through gamebased learning pedagogies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 8th European Conference on Games Based Learning
EditorsI Carsten Busch
Place of PublicationReading, UK
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International Limited
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)978-1-910309-55-1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventEuropean Conference on Games-Based Learning (ECGBL 2014 8th) - Berlin, Germany, Berlin, Germany
Duration: 9 Oct 201410 Oct 2014
Conference number: 2014 (8th)


ConferenceEuropean Conference on Games-Based Learning (ECGBL 2014 8th)
Abbreviated titleECGBL


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