Friday, 2 October 2015

Educational e-gaming, by Dr. Jamie Pringle and Dr. Luke Bracegirdle

Current HE students are Generation ‘Y’ generally defined as 1982-2001 birth years (Knight, 2009). Generation Y students are “fundamentally different in outlook and ambition from any group of kids in the past 50 or 60 years… it is clear that they already know they don’t want to live or work the way we do” (Hill, 2002). Generation Y students have been suggested to be “mostly ‘digital natives’ connected 24/7, bored by routine and goal-orientated” (Knight, 2009), and as such, may respond positively to technology-based complementary learning environments as much or if not more so than more traditional HE learning environments. However this is a generalisation as there will be students with different technological abilities, interests and cultural backgrounds and thus the student cohort will be much more diverse and heterogeneous as pointed out by Sternberg (2012). In addition the student cohort will also include more mature students, as well as those who may be visually or auditory impaired, so this may affect educational e-gaming teaching and learning.

Educational e-gaming may therefore be a solution for effective learning in HE (see Squire, 2008). Action Research with Physical Science HE student participants to study the effectiveness of such complementary learning environments has been ongoing at Keele for the past 5 years.

An initial educational egame was developed through Keele University Innovation Awards and Teaching Innovation Project schemes, based on a geotechnical site investigation for a mine shaft (Pringle et al. 2008), the game being accessed via a web-browser interfaces and question and answer responses (see The storyline was multi-threaded to encourage participants to repeat the exercise to continue and reinforce learning. A project to test the effectiveness of this was undertaken as part of JP’s MA in Teaching and Learning in HE and written up in Pringle (2013) which evidences the effectiveness of such an approach.

More advanced educational egames were then developed using xbox technologies with the considerable expertise of the School of Pharmacy’s developmental team of Karl Reid, Tom Pardoe and David Ledsam. Based on a real forensic search case (see Pringle & Jervis, 2010), users then progressive work through the search scenario, completing both a desk study and field investigations through an immersive virtual environment (see An action research project to test the effectiveness of this educational egame was also undertaken as the final part of JP’s MA in Teaching and Learning in HE.

Clearly educational egames show great potential to act as complementary learning environments to the more traditional learning approaches (Pringle, 2014 discusses this). It is planned to turn the latest egame into a free downloadable ‘app’ but requires funding.


HILL, R.P. (2002) Managing across generations in the 21st Century: important lessons from the ivory trenches. Journal of Management Inquiry, 11 (1), 60-66.

KNIGHT, Y. (2009) Talkin’ ‘bout my generation: a brief introduction to general theory. Higher Education Academy Planet, 21, 13-15.

PRINGLE, J.K. (2014). Educational egaming: the future for geoscience virtual learners? Geology Today, 30(4), 145-148.

PRINGLE, J.K. (2013) Educational environmental geoscience e-gaming to provide stimulating and effective learning. Higher Education Academy Planet 27(1), 21-28.

PRINGLE, J.K. & JERVIS, J.R. (2010) Electrical resistivity survey to search for a recent clandestine burial of a homicide victim, UK. Forensic Science International, 202(1-3), e1-e7.

Pringle, J.K., Stimpson, I.G., Toon, S.M., Caunt, S., Lane, V.S., Husband, C.R., Jones, G.M., Cassidy, N.J. & Styles, P. 2008. Geophysical characterisation of derelict coalmine workings and mineshaft detection: a case study from Shrewsbury, UK. Near Surface Geophysics, 6(3), 185-194.

SQUIRE, K. (2008) Video game-based learning: an emerging paradigm for instruction. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 21 (2), pp. 7-36.

STERNBERG, J. (2012) ‘It’s the end of the university as we know it (and I feel fine)’: the Generation Y student in HE discourse. Higher Education Research & Development, 31 (4), 571-583.