Need-Based Game Design: Developing a CT Game Based on Educational Needs




Educational game design, Design science, Design theory, Need-based design, Computational thinking


According to reports and previous research, present and future society show a high need for citizens with technical skills, such as computer programming. The need for technical competent citizens can however be challenging for higher education institutions to accommodate due to low numbers of students in higher education computer science. But also due to the high drop-out rates and low pass rates in introductory programming courses. With that said, it is important to both recruit new students to computer science and to support those who already study the subject, to meet the demands of the present and the future. An approach that has shown great promise in motivating students while still keeping focus on the learning aspects in education, is game-based learning (GBL). To facilitate support in higher education computer science, more specifically courses in fundamental programming, this study had the aim of identifying important design concepts in the development of a need-based educational game on computational thinking (CT). Skills related to programming have commonly been organized as part of the CT concept.  To identify the educational needs, e-mail interviews were conducted with teachers that teach higher education courses on computer programming in Swedish universities. Based in an on-going design science project to create a learning game on computational thinking for higher education, the study discusses and compare the identified needs with design theories, such as affordances, emotional design, and sustainable design. The conclusion is a conceptual design of the educational game with a set of recommendations for a need-based game design in educational context.