Serious Games

Objectives and competences

The aim of the course is to equipe students with in-depth knowledge and understanding of the field of digital games and serious games, empowering them for critical assessment and appropriate use of serious games for obtaining specified learning outcomes in open education.

Students will acquire the following competences:

• Awareness and understanding of the use of learning games in education and training;
• Awareness of specific requirements regarding target markets, platforms, cultural issues and ethics.
• Ability to critically asses, select and create educational games adapted to the requirements of open education;
• Ability to select existing educational games that best suitlearning scenarios in academic, business or other formal or non-formal educational environments.


Students should have the basic understanding of the concepts, strategies and didactical models of open education. They should be able to use computer supported tools for content generation and design and communication and collaboration tools, and should be prepared to work in interdisciplinary teams.


• Basics of the Digital and Serious Games and how they can be applied within OE design.
• Theoretical context, models and methods of game-based learning.
• How to critically review games for learning based on experience with game-based learning.
• Assessing and validating serious games with respect to the defined learning goals.
• Innovative approaches and best practices in serious games.
• Concepts of learning with serious games, cooperative and collaborative learning, per-sonalised learning; motivational aspects, learning of competences and skills.
• Matching proper serious games to learning goals as well as individual, group and or-ganisational learning strategies.

The following topics will be explored in more detail:
1) Game Concepts and Terminology
2) Learning Models within Game Mechanics
3) Target Markets and Applications for Games for Learning
4) Rhetoric and Ethics of using Persuasive Games
5) Platforms and Tools for Design Serious Games
6) Design and Development process of Digital Games
7) Designing a Game to fit within an Open Education Curriculum
8) Critical assessment of Serious Games

Intended learning outcomes

After competing this course, students will:

• Understand the theoretical bases along with features, terminology, and taxonomy of digital games;

• Be able to critically evaluate a range of games through direct experience;

• Be able to evaluate and critically review the relation between games, play and learning in formal and non-formal learning settings;

• Be able to design original approaches for using the potential of game-based learning in their own practice.


  • Dörner,R. Göbel,S. Effelsberg,W. & Wiemeyer, J. (2016) Serious Games: Foundations, Concepts and Practice. Springer International Publishing Switzerland. ISBN 978-3-319-40611-4. Catalogue
  • Iuppa, N & Borst, T (2006) Story and Simulations for Serious Games: Tales from the Trenches, Focal Press E-version
  • Juul, J. (2013). The art of failure : an essay on the pain of playing video games. Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press. Catalogue E-version
  • Michael, D & Chen, S. (2006). Serious Games: Games That Educate, Train, and Inform. Thompson Course Technology. E-version
  • Oates E. (2016) Learning and Designing with Serious Games: Crowdsourcing for Procurement. In: De Gloria A., Veltkamp R. (eds) Games and Learning Alliance. GALA 2015. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 9599. Springer, Cham.
  • Pivec, M. & Gründler, J. (Eds.) Proceedings of the 11th European Conference on Games Based Learning. ACPI: Reading, UK, 2017
  • Ritterfeld, U., Cody, M., and Vorderer, P. Serious Games: Mechanisms and Effects. Routledge, London, 2009.
  • Schell, J. (2014) The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group. Catalogue E-version
  • Whitton, N. (2010). Learning with digital games : a practical guide to engaging students in higher education. London, Routledge. Catalogue E-version


• Interim presentations, practical work; peer- and self-evaluation. • Submitted project work: application of theoretical and practical knowledge

Lecturer's references

Chrissi Nerantzi works as an Associate Professor in Education in the School of Education at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. She is a Lead of the Knowledge Equity Network initiative and the Academic Lead for Discover and Explore. Sche teaches on the MA in Digital Education. She is also a member of the Research Centre in Digital Education. She is an experienced facilitator who uses novel approaches, including play, making and storytelling, to foster interaction and engagement and regularly works internationally. Her research interests are around open education, creativity and innovation in learning and teaching and she has published widely in these areas. Her doctoral thesis is in the area of open cross-institutional academic development with a focus on cross-boundary collaborative learning in these settings (see Chrissi Nerantzi has founded a range of successful open staff development initiatives, co-created many Open Educational Resources and supported a range of open educational projects. The open Creativity for Learning in Higher Education (#creativeHE) community and the international #LTHEchat she co-founded are two such examples. Chrissi is also the mentor co-ordinator of the Open Education for a Better World Programme. With the open picture book team »Together« she won the OEGlobal Award for Open Innovation in 2021 and in 2022 her #creativeHE team won a Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence by Advance HE and in 2023 was awarded the Open Education Champion Award by the National Teaching Repository.

Selected bibliography:

Dunbar-Morris, H., Nerantzi, C., Sharp, L. & Sidiropoulou, M. (2023) (In)dependent learning as explored in a cross-institutional collaborative project studying the perceptions of learning of ethnically diverse students. In: In: Fitzgerald, R., Huijser, H., Altena, S. & Armellini, A. (eds.) Addressing the ‘challenging’ elements of learning at a distance. Distance Education. Special Edition,

Bozkurt, A., Xiao, J., Lambert, S., Pazurek, A., Crompton, H., Koseoglu, S., Farrow, R., Bond, M., Nerantzi, C., Honeychurch, S., Bali, M., Dron, J., Mir, K., Stewart, B., Costello, E., Mason, J., Stracke, C. M., Romero-Hall, E., Koutropoulos, A., Toquero, C. M., Singh, L Tlili, A., Lee, K., Nichols, M., Ossiannilsson, E., Brown, M., Irvine, V., Raffaghelli, J. E., Santos-Hermosa, G Farrell, O., Adam, T., Thong, Y. L., Sani-Bozkurt, S., Sharma, R. C., Hrastinski, S., & Jandrić, P. (2023). Speculative Futures on ChatGPT and Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI): A collective reflection from the educational landscape. Asian Journal of Distance Education, 18(1), 53-130.

Nerantzi, C., Sidiropoulou, M. P., Dunbar-Morris, H., Sharp, L., Farrell-Savage, K., Heard-Lauréote, K., Speight, S., Nawaz, R. & Ali, M. (2023) There are other fish in the sea: Open-up and connect. In: Harrison, M., DeVries, I., Morgan, T. & Paskevicious, M. (eds.) (2023) Re-think learning design. Critical learning design and the untextbook.

Nerantzi, C. & Corti, P. (2023) The collaborative picture book format as an OER for socialisation, learning and assessment in higher education, in: Olivier, J. & Rambow, A. (eds.) (2023) Open Educational Resources in Higher Education: A Global Perspective. Future Education and Learning Spaces Series. Springer

Stracke, C. M., Sharma, R. C., Bozkurt, A., Burgos, D., Swiatek, C., Inamorato dos Santos, A., Mason, J., Ossiannilsson, E., Santos-Hermosa, G., Shon, J. G., Wan, M., Agbu, J.-F., Farrow, R., Karakaya, Ö., Nerantzi, C., Ramírez Montoya, M. S., Conole, G., Cox, G., & Truong, V. (2022). Impact of COVID-19 on formal education: An international review on practices and potentials of Open Education at a distance. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning. 23(4), 1-18.

Harkin, B., Yates, A., Wright, L. & Nerantzi, C. (2022) The Impact of Physical, Mental, Social and Emotional Dimensions of Digital Learning Spaces on Student’s Depth of Learning: The Quantification of an Extended Lefebvrian Model. In: International Journal of Management and Applied Research, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 50-73.

Nerantzi, C. & Atenas, J. (2022) A Healthy Assessment as Learning Diet: Bite-size, authentic and with an extended life span, in: Recipes for Success (Meaningful Assessment), Teaching Insights, Issue 2. Available at

Nerantzi, C. (2022) Towards defining uncreative teaching as an act of normalised open educational practice and the ethical sharing of pedagogical ideas. A provocation. In: International Journal of Open Schooling (IJOS), January 2022, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 53-68.

Stracke, C.M.; Burgos, D.; Santos-Hermosa, G.; Bozkurt, A.; Sharma, R.C.; Cassafieres, C.S.; dos Santos, A.I.; Mason, J.; Ossiannilsson, E.; Shon, J.G. J. G., Wan, M., Agbu, J.-F., Farrow, R., Karakaya, Ö., Nerantzi, C., Ramírez Montoya, M. S., Conole, G., Cox, G., & Truong, V. (2022) Responding to the Initial Challenge of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Analysis of International Responses and Impact in School and Higher Education. Sustainability 2022, 14, 1876.

Nerantzi, C. & Atenas, J. (2021) Workshopping creatively online. In: Tasler, N., O’Brien, R, E. & Spiers, A. (eds.) (2021) Being creative in the face of adversity. The #creativeHE Annual 2021. Creativity for Learning in Higher Education Community, #creativeHE, DOI: pp. 12-16.

Nerantzi, C. (2021) Gems, buds and slippers or what a series of visualisation tells us about the Learning and Teaching in Higher Education tweetchat (#LTHEchat). In: Open Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (oSOTL), Vol. 1(1), pp. 22-34, ISSN 2752-4116, available at

Nerantzi, C., Chatzidamianos, G., Stathopoulou, H. & Karaouza, E. (2021) Human Relationships in Higher Education: The Power of Collaboration, Creativity and Openness. In: Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2021(1), p. 26. DOI:

Stracke, C. M., Sharma, R. C., Swiatek, C., Burgos, D., Bozkurt, A., Karakaya, Ö., Ossiannilsson, E., Mason, J., Nerantzi, C., Agbu, J.-F., Ramírez Montoya, M. S., Shon, J. G., Inamorato dos Santos, A., Farrow, R., Wan, M., Santos-Hermosa, G., & Conole, G. (2021). How COVID-19 has an impact on formal education: A collective international evaluation of open education in distance learning. In Proceedings of the 14th Annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation (ICERI), Virtual, Spain, pp. 4270-4275. [Open Access]

Stracke, C. M., Bozkurt, A., Conole, G., Nascimbeni, F., Ossiannilsson, E., Sharma, R. C., Burgos, D., Cangialosi, K., Cox, G., Mason, J., Nerantzi, C., Agbu, J.-F., Ramírez Montoya, M. S., Santos-Hermosa, G., Sgouropoulou, C., & Shon, J. G. (2020). Open Education and Open Science for our Global Society during and after the COVID-19 Outbreak. In Proceedings of the Open Education Global Conference 2020 (s.p., 4 p.). [Open Access]

Stracke, C. M., Bozkurt, A., Burgos, D., Mason, J., Ossiannilsson, E., Sharma, R. C., Wan, M., Agbu, J.-F., Cangialosi, K., Conole, G., Cox, G., Nascimbeni, F., Nerantzi, C., Ramírez Montoya, M. S., Sgouropoulou, C., Shon, J. G., Boulet, P., Inamorato dos Santos, A., Downes, S., Farrow, R., Proudman, V., Varoglu, Z., Weller, M., Xiao, J., Santos-Hermosa, G., Karakaya, Ö., Truong, V., & Swiatek, C. (2021, September 27 – October, 1). Global study on Open Education and Open Science: Practices, use cases and potentials during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Open Education Global Conference 2021 (OE Global 2021, online). Université de Nantes, France. [Open Access]

Costelloe, L., Nerantzi, C., O’Brien, E. , O’Sullivan, Í. and Reale, J. (2020) Development of a Shared Vision for Flexible Inter-Institutional Professional Development using the OOFAT Model, in: Buckley, C. and Nerantzi, C. (eds.) (2020) Exploring visual representation of concepts in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, Special Issue, International Journal of Management and Applied Research, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 240-256,

Nerantzi, C. (2019) Uncovering and discovering creative practices that foster student and staff engagement. in: Elkington, S., Westwood, D. and Nerantzi, C. (eds.) (2019) Creativity in Student Engagement, Special Issue of the Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal, Volume 2, Number 3, pp. 261-264, available at

Nerantzi, C. (2019) The role of crossing boundaries in collaborative open learning in cross-institutional academic development, In: Research in Learning Technology, Vol. 27, DOI:

Nerantzi, C. (2018) The design of an empirical cross-boundary collaborative open learning framework for cross-institutional academic development, In: Open Praxis, Vol. 10, No. 4, October-December 2018, pp. 325-342, DOI:

Nerantzi, C. & Thomas B. E. (2019) What and who really drives pedagogic innovation? In: Elkington, S., Westwood, D. and Nerantzi, C. (eds.) (2019) Creativity in Student Engagement, Special Issue of the Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal, Volume 2, Number 3, pp. 234-260, available at

Nerantzi, C. & Gossman, P. (2018) Cross-boundary communities, an alternative vision for academic development, In: Compass Journal, London: University of Greenwich, Volume 11, No. 2. DOI: