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Games and Interactivity in the E-Learning Environment

written by: Joy Campbell•edited by: Sarah Malburg•updated: 3/23/2011

The game world survived the boom and crash of new technology and is now in the mainstream market. Discover some current research and learn why educators that include games and interactivity in the E-learning environment can increase the motivation of the learner.

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    Games and Interactivity in the e-Learning Environment

    Interactivity in E-learning places the learners in an environment where items may be selected in a simple way, like selecting an answer to a quiz, or in a complex way, like controlling objects in a simulation. By allowing the learners to be interactive such as when to start a series of actions or zooming in on a map, the learners become active in their own learning process. Games and interactivity in E-learning environments increase the learner’s motivation by adding challenges and interest, and interest creates an effective learning environment. E-learning objects such as tests, games and lessons are also easier to revise, add or remove when compared to updating a book or learning manual. (Moreno)

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    The Game Movement - Where We Are Now

    The game world survived the ups and downs that new technology goes through and now has a place in the mainstream market. There are companies that employ people to play games 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Their job is to build up computer experience and skill, collect weapons and points and then trade or sell them to other players in the game. This is no small matter considering in 2001, the game EverQuest had a gross national product in the virtual world that was above India and China. (Dovey & Kennedy, 2006, p. 2)

    Other highly popular games include interactive WWII games such as Call of Duty, Medal of Honor and Battlefield 1942 that allows players to command, save lives and take combative stances. Games such as these have the ability to create interest by immersing the player in a virtual world of the past. Although not recommended for use in lessons, due to their violent graphic content, a possible research project for a graduate student could be to investigate the historical accuracy of these mainstream games.

    Researchers in Scotland are using games to immerse students in an E-learning environment with Wii and Nintendo. One lesson consists of learning biodiversity through the virtual world of a diver. Teachers have reported the intense interest of the students, along with a higher learning level. The project was so successful it was extended to other schools. ("Pupils Play Learning Game;," 2008, p. 63)

    Other researchers, such as Glenn Gordon Smith, Ph.D., a Professor for the Instructional Technology Program at the University of South Florida, has been conducting research on embedding Computer Games in books. Dr. Smith, along with his graduate assistants Shelley Hayes, Beth Jordan and others, have researched a model of integrating games in books with a technology called Interactive Map Books (iMapBooks). iMapBooks are books and games in a platform independent model, making use of Pentop computers, hardcopy books, iPads or web pages. The goal of the research is to improve reading comprehension among elementary and middle school students through interaction with the text narratives. The patent is pending and these books will soon be on the market. (Smith)

    Including games in an E-learning lesson can increase the motivation of the learner through interactivity. Games are constructive in allowing learners to apply a diverse set of skills to the objectives of the lesson. Using games in education is not a new idea, but has been looked down on by traditional education in the past. This perception is changing as educators are adapting to learners who are being raised on the fast pace of technology. (Howard)

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    Works Cited

    Dovey, J., & Kennedy, H. W. (2006). Game Cultures: Computer Games as New Media. Maidenhead, England: Open University Press. Retrieved March 10, 2011, from Questia database:

    Howard, W. G., Ellis, H. H., & Rasmussen, K. (2004). From the Arcade to the Classroom: Capitalizing on Students' Sensory Rich Media Preferences in Disciplined-Based Learning. College Student Journal, 38(3), 431+. Retrieved March 10, 2011, from Questia database:

    Moreno, S. M. (n.d.). LearningChange. Retrieved from

    Pupils Play Learning Game; Switched On: Youngsters Are Receptive to Education through the Medium of Computer Games. (2008, September 23). The Daily Mail (London, England), p. 63. Retrieved March 10, 2011, from Questia database:

    Smith, G. G. (n.d.). Current Research Agenda. Retrieved from College of Education: University of South Florida:

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    Smith, G. G. (in press) Computer-Game Play as Imaginary Stage for Reading: Implicit Spatial Effects of Computer Games Embedded in Hard Copy Books, Journal of Research in Reading. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9817.2010.01447.x