Investigating Inclusivity in Game-Based Learning: Current Practices and Multistakeholder Perspectives


  • Sara Rye University of Bradford
  • Carla Sousa University of Lusofona, CICANT - Centre for Research in Applied Communication, Culture and New Technologies)



Game Based Learning, educational game design, Higher Education, Inclusivity, Diversity


This study aims to examine how inclusivity measures are understood and applied in game-based learning (GBL). It considers the perspectives of various stakeholders, such as educators, game designers, and students. The focus is on creating accessible and engaging games that meet the diverse needs and characteristics of players. The methodology adopted a combination of primary and secondary data sources to pursue these aims. The primary data collection involved focus groups with educators, game designers, and students. The study employed a participatory design approach, involving multiple stakeholders in the exploration of inclusivity measures. The data collected from the focus groups, along with findings from the literature review, helped in formulating a set of inclusivity metrics for educators to create educational games that cater to diverse student needs. The obtained results emphasize the limited state of analogue GBL accessibility in scholarly and professional literature, while emphasizing the existing frameworks to be adopted by educators, designers, and publishers. Stakeholder discussions revealed themes related to inclusivity measures, including motor, sensory, and cognitive needs of players. Game designers can enhance accessibility by considering these requirements and incorporating alternative communication channels, accessible cues, adaptable gameplay options, and diversified knowledge-based requirements. In addition to inclusivity, addressing instances of exclusion, managing teams effectively, promoting inclusive communication, and incorporating gameplay limitations, educational components, diverse perspectives, and real-world applicability are discussed as important in education game design, to this extent.

Author Biography

Carla Sousa, University of Lusofona, CICANT - Centre for Research in Applied Communication, Culture and New Technologies)

Carla Sousa is a PhD in Communication Sciences from Lusófona University, where she also took her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, her Master's Degree in Clinical and Health Psychology, and a Postgraduate degree in Applied Neuropsychology. Her PhD thesis approached game accessibility as a path to empower and promote well-being in individuals with intellectual disability, which illustrates her main research targets – the different intersections between media, with a particular focus on games, inclusion, behavior, and human diversity. Also in Lusófona University, Carla is part of the Centre for Research in Applied Communication, Culture, and New Technologies (CICANT) and is an assistant professor in the Bachelor's Degrees in Psychology and Videogames. She published several papers as an author and co-author in peer-reviewed journals, and has done communications at national and international conferences in the fields of media studies, media psychology, games, accessibility, disability, social inclusion, learning, and education. Carla has been part of several national and internationally funded projects, both in research and management roles, including: GameIN (2022.07939.PTDC); TEGA (2020-1-UK01-KA203-079248); ID-Games (2019-1-EL01-KA204-062517); Youth for Youth (2020-2-HU01-KA205-079126); ASDigital (2020-1-PT01-KA226-SCH-094961); or GamiLearning (UTAP-ICDT/IVC-ESCT/0020/2014). Carla has also been involved in the organization of scientific events and scientific networks, being the chair of Working Group 2 in COST Action (CA 19104) - advancing Social inclusion through Technology and EmPowerment (a-Step), which aims to map the best practices and define a research agenda for the future of assistive technologies for individuals with intellectual disability and autism. Since 2022, Carla has been an individual ambassador for the non-profit Women in Games and, since 2023, a member of the advisory board of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA).