Serious play: A case study exploring the selling of games-based learning in a Danish context and the prospects for its adoption

Laura LaCava

Student thesis: Master thesis


Educational games and games-based learning (GBL) are a part of the larger serious games and global games industry. Playing games has been said to advance special skills and types of thinking not normally associated with traditional textbook learning. At the same time games-based learning is said to solve entrenched issues of student motivation. The adoption of games-based learning in the classroom, however, faces barriers in the educational field. This study first made a background analysis of the games industry, and outlined component elements of the Danish education system. The study then examined the literature on games-based learning and theory related to the use of digital resources in schools to identify the barriers to adoption of games, and to uncover design and marketing recommendations in the literature that might counter these barriers. The barriers fell under two general types: those that might hinder educational games’ acceptance as legitimate resources in the educational field; and practical implementation barriers. The empirical portion of the study used case study qualitative methods to examine how a Danish educational games developer addresses these barriers in a Danish context; and how three teachers received and evaluated the company’s marketing efforts and one of its flagship products, the Global Conflicts: Latin America game. The small size of the teacher sample due to recruiting difficulties made it difficult to generalize the results onto the wider population of teachers. It is felt, however, that the findings, including the analysis of SGI’s efforts in the market uncovered areas for further study. The study found that Danish teachers seem to be open to and interested in non-traditional educational material including games. They have broad experience using multimedia in their classrooms if in a supplementary fashion. The study also found that Serious Games Interactive is seemingly well-positioned to solve some of the market access and legitimacy issues in that it has the backing of educational publishers, intense affiliation with valuable partners in the educational field, and a well rated and professionally credible product. Still, GBL products face some of the intractable barriers identified in the literature including: a fragmented IT acquisition process in schools; deficient and variable computer resources; curriculum relevance demands; and while teachers are interested in and not intimidated by games (though the literature review might indicate this), they are still not wholly familiar with them. These findings are indications and need to be followed-up with further investigation with a larger sample of teachers in order to lend them greater validity.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages119