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Towards a Trans-disciplinary Methodology for a Game-based Intervention Development Process

Authors: Sylvester Arnab and Samantha Clarke. (2015)
In Proceedings of:
The British Journal of Educational Technology


The application of game-based learning adds play into educational and instructional contexts. Even though there is a lack of standard methodologies or formulaic frameworks to better inform game-based intervention development, there exist scientific and empirical studies that can serve as benchmarks for establishing scientific validity in terms of the efficacy of using games to achieve serious outcomes.

The development of these games does not normally follow a specific set of guidelines, which limits replication. There is a need to reflect on such a multidisciplinary process and infuse knowledge from relevant disciplines towards developing a unity of considerations and approaches beyond the disciplinary perspectives. An infused and trans-disciplinary methodological framework could serve as a guideline to inform the development process of a game-based approach. With these perspectives, this paper aims to provide an example of how relevant theories and frameworks can be adopted collectively in order to inform a development process.

Based on a digital game intervention aiming to support the delivery of Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) in the UK, this paper reflects on trans-disciplinary considerations, informed by frameworks such as the Four-Dimensional Framework (4DF), the Intervention Mapping (IM) approach, Mechanics Dynamics Aesthetics model (MDA) and Learning Mechanics-Game Mechanics (LM-GM) mapping. IM, when infused with the game design considerations of 4DF, provides a more procedural perspective to game-based intervention development, collectively reflecting a participatory development approach.

This subsequently provides the basis upon which other theoretical and methodological frameworks such as the MDA and the LM-GM models can be embedded in order to marry the pedagogical aspects with the entertainment attributes of gameplay. These components, when integrated, may formulate a trans-disciplinary model that can be adopted and adapted by other researchers, designers and developers.

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