What is it? 

Creating games, learning through designing, design thinking

Who is it for?

Higher Education (students and staff), Businesses, Young People

How long does it take?

Anything from a 1-hour workshop to a 6-week course

Detailed Description

The Game Changers Programme aims to explore, experiment and exploit game design thinking in fostering creative problem solving and cross-disciplinary design collaboration. The overarching pedagogical construct of the initiative is motivated by ‘learning by designing’, which is a project-based inquiry approach. The programme will facilitate new models of teaching and learning, new practice in cross-faculty learning/collaboration and develop new mindsets in the use of creative means for problem solving.

Design is a non-linear, iterative and incremental process, which is generative and creative. Design thinking has crossed over to learning, where it is a “way of finding human needs and creating new solutions using the tools and mindsets of design practitioners” (Kelley & Kelley, 2013, pp. 24-25). As it pertains to games, it is a “set of skills, competencies or dispositions relating to the highly iterative collaborative process designers employ when conceiving, planning and producing an object or system” (“Institute of Play,” 2013). Game design involves a creative combination of rules (mechanics), interactions (dynamics, aesthetics), contents and narratives that will involve cross-disciplinary collaboration.

The programme will focus on the design and development of games (analogue or digital) or gamified activities for addressing serious issues/challenges/problems/opportunities. The initial pilot will be a gamified six-week programme that will involve weekly stages (missions) with sub-tasks (quests), where participants can level up based on their level of readiness. The programme will provide open contents and resources to assist and guide participants and organise open sessions (workshops, speakers, etc.) throughout the process. We will also experiment on ‘Open Badging’ for feedback and the ‘Sprint’ concept for ‘product’ development. The pilot will further inform the programme’s long term strategy.

The levels and contents are developed based on the holistic and modular model for designing gamified learning developed at the lab (figure 1). The layers can be visited and re-visited in an iterative and incremental manner to consolidate the design requirements and specifications.

Learning and Teaching Resources

We don’t currently have a list of teaching and learning resources for the GameChangers programme. These will be released shortly. Why not check back soon?

YouTube Playlist

You can find the guide to GameChangers YouTube playlist below. You can also click here to visit the YouTube space for the GameChangers programme.


Arnab S., Clarke S. (2016). Towards a trans-disciplinary methodology for a game-based intervention development process. British Journal of Educational Technology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1111/bjet.12377 Google Scholar CrossRef

Arnab, S. (2015). Games Science for Learning. Using games science to conceptualise, contextualise, and operationalise strategy for enhancing learning engagement, experience and outcomes. DMLL Whitepaper.

Keegan, H. (2015) Co-creation and Viral Learning. DMLL Whitepaper.


Helen Keegan

Sylvester Arnab

Luca Morini

Oliver Wood

Samantha Clarke