Social, constructivist and informal learning processes: together on the Edge for designing digital game-based learning environments

Gianvito D'Aprile, Pierpaolo Di Bitonto, Roberta De Asmundis, Antonio Ulloa Severino


The theoretical conceptions of game-based learning are different from those of traditional instruction. Indeed, the classical approaches of needs and task analysis seem to be not appropriate for designing digital serious games as computer-supported collaborative learning environments. This paper aimed at arguing that social, constructivist and informal learning processes provided accurate frameworks for analyzing needs, activities, and outcomes for designing digital serious games. After focusing on the epistemic assumptions of such theoretical frameworks, this paper described the digital serious game Cibopolis as case study, able to grasp different learning processes, involving players as learners in collaborative participation and knowledge building on nutrition and healthy lifestyle. Especially, the context, the training goal, the adopted learning solutions and the main features of the designed Cibopolis game were specified. Then, the results of the pilot test involving young learners (N=65; Range of Age=14-32 years old) was briefly reported. Specifically, it was pointed out how learners perceived the Cibopolis game in term of usability and engagement. To conclude, some relevant theoretical issues concerning digital game-based learning environments and practical implications that could support IT professionals – such as, instructional designers, developers, web designers, and so on – were highlighted.


Game-based learning, social learning, constructivist learning, digital serious game, game design

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Journal of e-Learning and Knowledge Society | ISSN (online) 1971 - 8829 | ISSN (paper) 1826 - 6223 © 2017 Je-LKS - Italian e-Learning Association (SIe-L).