Serious gaming
Applied gaming and simulation.
This topic focuses on new models, methods and technologies for the creation of digital games and simulations for learning: how to design and develop effective games for learning?

Digital games and simulations are widely recognised as most powerful and highly engaging learning environments. They are complex and dynamic constructs that require appropriate designs of multimodal contexts and playful interactions, as well as productive pedagogical strategies and measures for preserving the efficacy and efficiency of learning.

prof dr Westera, Wim


The inherent richness and complexity of applied game environments (and simulations) makes the topic to be a cross-cutting one, embracing a variety of pedagogical and technological themes. On the one hand concepts and principles from pedagogy and instructional design need to be fully linked and integrated with the game design. That is, notwithstanding the need for game concepts such as challenges, rules, scores, competition and levels, the game design should address and accommodate principal pedagogical functions and variables such as instructional support, feedback, guidance, reflection, self-regulation, attention, motivation, cognitive flow and assessment. On the other hand, advances in digital gaming are primarily driven by cutting-edge technological innovations, which requires research into serious games architectures, data interoperability, machine learning, adaptive and personalised system design, sensors, affective computing and natural language processing, among other things. Many of these themes are currently covered by this topic in close collaboration with European research parties as part of the RAGE project, which is Europe’s principal applied gaming research project in the Horizon2020 Programme of the European Commission, lead by the Open University of the Netherlands.


  • RAGE (Realising an Applied Gaming Ecosystem) is the principal European research and innovation project for applied gaming funded by the Horizon2020 programme of the European Commission. RAGE develops new methods and technologies for supporting applied game development.
  • SLEM: personalised serious gaming in Dutch vocational education
  • Youth@Work: Digital gaming to support young people at thinking about their careers.


Key publications:

  • Westera, W. (2015). Games are motivating, aren´t they? Disputing the arguments for digital game-based learning. International Journal of Serious Games, 2(2), online publication.
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