What do we do?

The GameChangers programme focuses on the design and implementation of playful learning experiences, promoting the emergence of a more playful, exploratory, creative culture in everyday academic contexts. GameChangers is both an open game design course and community, co-created by the Disruptive Media Learning Lab of Coventry University together with staff and students interested in exploring the opportunities of creating games as a medium for both expression and learning.
GameChangers has the goal of facilitating new models of teaching and learning, new practices in cross-faculty learning/collaboration and new paths of aesthetic expression. GameChangers aims to make game creation and game literacy more culturally open and accessible to staff, students and the broader informal communities surrounding the University.

Who are we?

Prof. Sylvester Arnab

Applied Innovation Lead | Professor

About Sylvester

Sylvester leads research and applied innovation at the DMLL and he seeks to explore and exploit opportunities for external collaborations informed by the infusion of innovative practices within the DMLL and applied across the University and beyond.

As a Professor of Games Science, he forefronts the investigation into the application of playful and gameful approaches in teaching and learning practices at the University, which include game-based learning, serious games, gamification and playful learning. He co-founded the GameChangers – a Game Design Thinking initiative, which is currently being adopted and adapted in other countries, such as Malaysia. The circle of impact of current and previous work framed under the playful and gameful learning has expanded beyond the University Group into national and international domains and sectors.

Sylvester has a large portfolio of funded projects and publications. To date, he has successfully won projects with a total value of £19 million since 2010 from funders including FP7, H2020, Erasmus+, NEWTON, AHRC and HEFCE. He is currently coordinating and leading the Beaconing project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme, HEFCE funded Mobile GameChangers and NEWTON CreativeCulture project. He is also leading DMLL’s contribution to the EU H2020 Crowd4Roads project and EU H2020 BOND project.

Sylvester currently has over 90 academic publications, including one edited book- Serious Games for Healthcare. He regularly delivers keynotes at national and international events. He has supervised doctorate students to completion and he has also externally examined doctorate candidates from other universities.

Samantha Clarke

Research Assistant

About Samantha

I am a practical developer and researcher of game-based learning and gamification applications primarily focused on the role of games and play in the educational environment. My research and practice interests are mainly in the area of curiosity, narrative and puzzle led games that include escape rooms, D&D, mystery boxes and choose your own adventure style games.

I have worked as a researcher and designer for several European and UK national projects which have focused on developing and delivering teaching and learning content via both analogue and digital game-based learning approaches for a range of formal and informal settings.

Additionally, I have experience of developing GBL and gamification applications for use within secondary school education, with a strong focus on promoting learner discovery and inquiry through a playful approach.

Jayne Beaufoy

Senior Project Manager

About Jayne

A highly experienced Senior Project Manager with a proven track record of managing Research Projects in the Higher Education sector, providing a high level of service to internal and external customers achieved by building strong professional relationships.  With over twenty years experience and now working on the Universities first H2020 project BEACONING.

Oliver Wood

Innovation and Community Producer

About Oliver

As one of the Innovation and Community Producers at the DMLL, Oliver promotes flipped and playful learning across the University Group and externally. Having worked in the DMLL for nearly three years, Oliver seeks to enable academics to rethink traditional modes of teaching and learning, working with them to generate new, exciting, and rich educational experiences. He teaches Social Media to students across the University within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and has been heavily involved in developing the use of Open Badges, Lynda.com and social media as tools to support excellent learning.

Oliver has co-authored a number of papers on game based learning and is on the board of governance for a Community Studio Arts Van, supporting arts-based learning-by-doing throughout Coventry and the surrounding area.

He initially trained as a Photographer, before becoming involved in some of the Universities first open classes; Photographic Narrative (#phonar), and Picturing the Body (#picbod). Since then, he has spoken at a number of conferences locally, nationally and internationally to promote playful and flipped learning methods. Oliver is heavily involved in working with community and arts organisations to embed the Lab’s insights, particularly within the creative subjects.

Michael Loizou

Research Associate

About Michael

Prior to becoming a researcher at Coventry University for the Beaconing project (http://beaconing.eu), Michael taught various levels of Computer related subjects at the Universities of Oxford and Wolverhampton. He also was a member of projects funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), including the award winning First World War Poetry Archive and the Assessing and Storing Knowledge project. His academic background includes a BSc in Computer Science a Master’s degree in Business and Management Information Systems and a doctorate in the area of Intelligent Online Learning Environments.

His research interests lie in the field of Artificial Intelligence and, more specifically, in designing Health Care training simulations that integrate emotional and personality traits. He is also very interested in using games for education and enhancing learning using location based services (such as GPS and Bluetooth beacons).

Mark Lewis

Research Assistant

About Mark

Before joining the Disruptive Media Learning Lab (DMLL), Mark spent over a decade working as a designer within the games industry. He has worked on several highly successful videogame console titles; including six of Codemasters Formula One series, which won a BAFTA for Best Sports Game in 2010. A specialist in the creation of new intellectual properties, user-interface and user-experience design, Mark joined the DMLL in May 2017 as a Research Assistant.

His current role involves the design of a gamification platform for the CROWD4ROADS Project, and Phoenix Interactive, an initiative designed to provide students with a simulated work environment, within which they can get taste of what it’s like to work within the creative industry. Other interests include archaeology, photography, astronomy, and playing with lightsaber’s.

Lauren Heywood

Innovation and Community Producer

About Lauren

As an Innovation and Community Producer, Lauren drives the adoption of new practices at Coventry University, supporting educators to rethink traditional approaches to teaching and learning.

Much of Lauren’s work with the Lab has focused around the development and application of open technologies to support interdisciplinary learning, digital making, and the development of student and staff digital fluency. This includes Coventry University’s Domain of One’s Own initiative Coventry.Domains, the DMLL’s development of the use of Open Badges, and Mission Shakespeare, as well as a number of open tools that promote the inclusion of creative thinking and making as essential in generating rich educational experiences.

Lauren joined the DMLL in 2015, with a background in community arts and socially engaged practices, after graduating from Coventry University with a first-class degree in Fine Art. She is motivated by questions around who has access to education, how to build dialogue through participatory arts, and collaborative making as a tool to build empathy and critical understanding between participants. She has a keen interest in open education practices and how emerging technologies can support life long learning.

Sarah K-Andrews

Media Producer

About Sarah

Since 2015, Sarah has applied her filmmaking knowledge and practices into the digital media content that has been produced and shared internally and externally by the DMLL.

With over 130 videos created and published by Sarah across the DMLL’s social media platforms, each video has a sense of individuality from experimenting with a different array of styles and aesthetics. Sarah has helped to deliver innovative teaching and learning tools, to promote the ideologies that are situated and supported by the Lab across national and international universities to academics and students.

The online resources that have been produced by Sarah are a prime example of OER (Open Educational Resources) within the DMLL and Coventry University, initiatives that Sarah has worked on that demonstrates the OER framework are Game Changers and Coventry.Domains.  

Alex Masters

Disruptive Learning Technologist

About Alex

As the Lab’s Disruptive Media Learning Technologist, Alex focuses on the exploration, development, and realisation of new learning and teaching practice. Working as a mentor to both staff and students, advising on university policy and technology implementation, and fostering uptake in DMLL initiatives through the development of online resources.

During his three years at Coventry University, Alex has been instrumental in the development of some of the most successful initiatives to date within the DMLL. He developed the Lab’s first open course, co-delivered the inaugural DMLL Add+Vantage module in Entrepreneurial Learning, and co-designed the L·E·A·R·N framework, LEGO initiative and Coventry University SPRINT processes that have now become influential in the development of new innovative course design across the CU Group and beyond.

Alex has amassed over fifteen years experience in the field of multimedia design, with a career spanning a multitude of disciplines, including web development, graphic design, journalism, photography, social media, brand development, and information technology.

His interests lie in the intersection of technology, innovation, and education, with an emphasis on the benefits of rapid development, frugal innovation, and flipped learning practices.

How can I get involved?


Join the Open Course and learn about designing educational games. Even better, it’s free!


Join the conversation online using the hashtag #GChangers or follow the DMLL at @disrupt_learn


Design your own game. Get in touch and we’d be happy to help! Simply email dmll@coventry.ac.uk.

Get in Touch

The Game Changers initiative is based at Coventry Universities Disruptive Media Learning Lab (DMLL). We are based in the heart of Coventry on the third floor of the Frederick Lanchester Library, Coventry University, Gosford Street, Coventry, CV1 5DD