Keynote Speaker

TitleMaximising Learning From Game Experience
SpeakerDavid Crookall
Professor, Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis, France

Serious games (indeed all learning games) aim to help people learn. That may seem obvious, but wait. How do they do that? Does ‘game’ automatically result in learning? One answer is that games help people do this by providing a context or (as the jargon has it) an environment in which people can immerse themselves. I prefer to think of a game as an experience, a learning experience (as the jargon also has it). But that still begs the question: How does a game environment or experience help people learn?

Do people learn from the simple fact of being ‘in’ a game (environment)? From the act of playing ‘in’ a game (experience)? Is it something about a game that in itself makes people learn, or even guarantees that they will learn? If so, what is it about a game that produces this learning? Serious games bring together digital (video) technology and games. Nothing in the term ‘serious games’ tells you that, of course, but we all ‘know’ it. Maybe it is something in the ‘serious’ that produces the learning? No, it is something in what people do that produces the learning. Games, serious and ‘classic’, do not in themselves produce learning. The learning comes from inside the participant. But what is it in the participant?

In this presentation will attempt to put my finger on a (the?) key element of the learning process that helps to produce learning from game experience. It is an element that tends for the most part to be ignored or forgotten by most people designing and running serious games. My contention is that it is this crucial element that is the ‘secret’ to unlocking the hidden learning potential of the use of games for the purpose of learning. It is a little like the Secret Garden; people know that it exists, but they have not yet journeyed there to explore its vast treasures.

PS - Secret garden here is not related the Korean TV series. It refers to the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

David Crookall, PhD, is tenured in the Higher Institute of Economics and Management, at the Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis, France. He is past president of ISAGA (International Simulation and Gaming Association), which will hold it’s 45th annual conference this year - see He has held positions in Europe, the USA and Asia, conducted workshops round the world, published many articles, and is Editor of “Simulation & Gaming: An Interdisciplinary Journal”.