Games and Simulation enhanced Learning (GSeL) Conference
  • Hackathon - Room 115, Rolle Building

  • Rolle Marquee, University of Plymouth

  • Hackathon - Room 602, Rolle Building

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Game Enhanced Learning (GeL) is perceived by educationalists as a form of learning that can supplement and enhance current classroom-based education at all levels. Research has shown that interactive virtual learning can permanently transform the educational landscape and deliver better academic results. 

However, despite this recognition, there is a lack of sufficient empirical evidence to support GeL as a pedagogical approach. Simulations on the other hand have been widely used to support training needs across various fields such as military, medical, surgical and business. Recent trends of using simulations appear to have had an impact on how games are being integrated within the educational context. Hence, it is important utilise an analytical approach that considers how different elements of Game/Gamification along with simulations act upon one another within educational settings. 

The newly formed PedRIO, Games and Simulation enhanced Learning (GSeL) interdisciplinary research theme group will be exploring some of the key research challenges (but not limited to) outlined below:

  • The clear articulation of the relationship between academic achievement and GSeL
  • The role of GSeL in educational assessment in the form of interactions, successes and failures that can tracked
  • Social, cultural and economic differences that might affect GSeL
  • Identity and its role for learners and tutors in GSeL environments.

Conference themes around use of Games and Simulation in T&L include:

  • Game design models and design patterns supporting teaching and learning
  • Integration and deployment in the classroom (role of instructor, assessment or learning analtyics etc.)
  • Gamification and social game mechanics
  • Mobile, virtual and mixed reality applications
  • Evaluation challenges for GSeL.

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Keynote speakers

Professor Nicola Whitton, Manchester Metropolitan University

Professor Nicola Whitton is Professor of Professional Learning at the Education and Social Research Institute at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research focuses on play in adulthood, in particular, digital games and learning in the context of Higher Education, and the potential of play in teaching, research, and academic practice. She is chair of the Association for Learning Technology Special Interest Group on Playful Learning, and co-chair of the Playful Learning conference.

Professor Pamela Kato

Pamela M Kato, EdM, PhD joined Coventry University in the UK as Professor of Serious Games to provide strategic leadership to the Serious Games Institute to increase their research impact and create ground-breaking technologies. Professor Kato is an internationally recognised expert on serious games for health. She received her Masters degree in Counselling and Consulting Psychology from Harvard University and her PhD in Psychology from Stanford University where she also completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

As the founding President and CEO at HopeLab in Silicon Valley, she led the efforts to develop and conduct research on Re-Mission, a ground-breaking serious game shown to improve adherence to cancer treatment among young people with cancer in the most scientifically rigorously designed randomised trial on a video game to date. She was a guest professor at the University of Applied Sciences Salzburg in 2012 and adjunct faculty at University College Utrecht. She also held a position as Adjunct Clinical Instructor at Stanford Hospital in Pediatrics from 2001 to 2008 and was a Visiting Scholar at MIT in their Comparative Media Studies from 2002 to 2003.


Two hackathons have been organised as part of the conference. Scroll down for further information and to register your place.


Contact for any queries.

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Today's events

Please note that pre-registration for the hackathons is available via SurveyMonkey. SurveyMonkey is a third-party data capture tool which is not owned or managed by the University of Plymouth. Information about how your data is treated can be found on SurveyMonkey’s Privacy Policy webpage. If you wish to attend a hackathon but do not wish to use SurveyMonkey to book your place, please contact

Hackathon: VR for Non-programmers (2 November, 11:00-13:00, Room 115, Rolle Building)

Pre-registration for this event is required via

Web VR - VR for Non-Programmers is a hands-on workshop/hackathon based on the idea that everyone can create their own Virtual Reality experiences. The event is aimed at people who have absolutely no or little experience with computer programming. We will start from absolute zero. Advanced participants receive support to realise their ideas. Requirement for participants is to bring a laptop and a fairly recent smartphone. By the end of the session everyone will have constructed a VR world and will be given pointers for how to go on from there. We can then discuss how to take these skills further in the context of Games and Simulation enhanced Learning.

Hackathon: Game-enhanced learning without the cost: modding analogue games (3 November, 10:15-12:35, Room 602, Rolle Building)

Pre-registration is required for this event via

The hackathon will begin with an in depth analysis of game mechanics in a variety of mainstream board/card games using gameplay loop analysis (Guardiola, 2016) and Gamebricks (Djaouti et al, 2008). Worked examples will lead to participants undertaking their own analyses. Then, identified game mechanics will be aligned with learning behaviours using the Serious Game Mechanics card game (Hauge, et al, 2015). These activities will allow participants to practice game analysis, understand which game mechanics are most suited to encouraging particular pedagogical goals, and gain an understanding of intrinsic integration in game-based learning and its importance (Arnab, et al, 2015). In the latter half of the hackathon, participants will select a learning situation from their own practice, define their desired pedagogic behaviours, and propose a modification to an existing game to align it directly with their chosen subject. Finally, the group will work together to discuss how ‘modded’ analogue games can be most effectively integrated into teaching activities.

Accommodation information

There are many options for accommodation in Plymouth; however we recommend:

The Copthorne Hotel (a five minute walk from the University campus) have an agreed rate for this conference of £74 B&B for a single occupancy room or £84 B&B for a double occupancy room. This can be booked by phoning +44 1752 224161 and quoting 'Plymouth University Conference rate'.

Jurys Inn Plymouth (a ten minute walk from the University campus) have agreed a rate of £76 B&B for sole occupancy or £86 B&B for double occupancy for this conference which can be booked by calling +44 1752 361000 and quoting 'rate code UNIVER021117'.

Location of the Rolle Plaza Marquee on campus

Please view the map alongside for the location of the Rolle Plaza Marquee on the University campus.

Further information on getting here
Event photography and video
Please be aware that some of the University of Plymouth's public events may be attended by University photographers and videographers, for capturing content to be used in University online and offline marketing and promotional materials, for example webpages, brochures or leaflets. If for whatever reason, you or a member of your group, do not wish to be photographed, please make yourself known to staff working at the event on arrival or to the photographer.