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Thoughts on learning games

Information technology is often assumed to automatically enrich and support learning, especially from a motivational perspective. Studies have shown increased motivation due to technology (Connolly et al., 2012). However, when examining the long-term impact, the results are not unambiguous.

Visually stunning games may grab the user’s attention right from the start. With repeated and prolonged playing, the visual and auditory stimuli can strain the user’s senses, making playing a barrier to learning (Kirschner, 2002; Lehtinen et al., 2014; Mayer et al., 2008).

PURO is designed to support learning. Therefore, the interface and layout should be calm. However, the benefits of learning games should not be missed. Learning games are especially good at practicing what you learn when a lot of repetition is needed.


The following features are required of the user interface in order to take advantage of the automation enabled by learning games (Hattie, 2009):

  • The user should be constantly aware of the skill or issue that is the subject of the learning.

  • The user can control their learning during the game.

  • The game should provide clear and immediate feedback on user responses.

  • The difficulty level of the game should increase according to the pace of the user's progress.


Connolly, TM, Boyle, EA, MacArthur, E., Hainely, T., Boyle, JM (2012). A systematic literature review of empirical evidence on computer games and serious games. Computers & Education, 59, 661-686.)


Hattie, JAC Visible learning. A Synthesis of over 800 meta-analyzes relating to achievement. USA, NY: Routledge.

Kirschner, PA (2002). Cognitive load theory: Implications of Cognitive load theory on the design of learning. Computers in Human Behavior, 12, 1-10.

Lehtinen, E., Lehtinen, H. & Brezovszky, B. (2014). Math in the game. In L. Krokfors, M. Kangas & K. Kopisto (eds.) Learning in the Game. Games, playfulness and playfulness in teaching (pp. 38-55). Tampere: Counterweight.

Mayer, RE, Griffith, E., Jurkowitz, ITN, & Rothman, D. (2008). Increased interestingness of extraneous details in a multimedia science presentation leads to reduced learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 14, 329-339.

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